Then came the
Little Rock van and Moon Trash, both of which had encountered minor mechanical
problems which had slowed their pace. Word was received that the MG had blown
its clutch in Columbus and had staggered back to New York. As the hours passed,
it became obvious that no one was going to beat our time. For whatever it
meant, we had won the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Race.
Times mentioned the race briefly, noting our time and quoting
Dan as testifying that "we never exceeded 175 mph." They no doubt
thought he was kidding.
I slept a night
and headed home alone, me and the Ferrari. I felt great. I stopped in a music
store and bought some eight-track stereo tapes for the car's tape deck. We
hadn't used it on the trip, but at a more leisurely pace on the way home they
would provide pleasant company. Country-and-Western seemed appropriate.
Cruising across New Mexico, with the guys high in the cabs of the giant
Ken-worth and Peterbilt semitractors tossing friendly waves, I pondered what
the whole thing had meant.
A yellow 4-4-2
Oldsmobile Cutlass appeared in the rearview mirror. It was running fast, coming
up on me at an impressive rate. Two guys were on board and I sensed that they
were looking for a race. They drew even and we ran along for a way nose to
nose. I looked over to catch eager grins on their faces. I smiled back and
slipped the Ferrari from fifth to fourth gear. We were running a steady 100 mph
when the Olds leaped ahead. I let him have a car-length lead before opening the
Ferrari's tap. The big car burst forward, its pipes whooping that lovely siren
song, and rocketed past the startled pair in the Oldsmobile. I glanced over at
them to see their faces covered with amazement. Like most of the populace, they
had no comprehension of an automobile that would accelerate from 100 mph that
quickly. The Ferrari yowled up to 150 mph without effort, leaving the Olds as a
minuscule speck of yellow in the mirror.
I slowed again
and turned up the volume on the stereo. Buck Owens and his Buckaroos were
sonorously singing I've Got a Tiger by the Tail. I laughed all the way to Las