Dec. 13, 2010 at 1:04 PM ET
Two guys decide to go head-to-head in a trans-America race starting in San Francisco and ending in New York. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is about Cannonball Run, circa 2010, let me tell you how long it took: 90 hours.
This "race" was done via Google Street View and 104,619 clicks.
That's right, these two dudes stocked up on cup-a-noodles and energy drinks (a whole case, according to Jalopnik) and hunkered down at their desks, in front of their laptops, glued to two big-screen monitors taking a virtual road trip that ended on day five, without any of the fun of a cross-country road trip! (Then again, without any of the hassle of one, either, like being caught in the current Midwest blizzard.)
Their route took them through the heart of the West and Midwest before the beeline to the Big Apple: Reno, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Lexington, Lincoln (Nebraska, I think), Des Moines, Iowa City, Dekalb, Chicago, Toledo and finally New York.
In October 2006, Alexander Roy and David Maher drove his 2000 BMW M5 from New York to Los Angeles (2,794 miles) in 31 hours and 4 minutes, setting an illegal endurance-driving record. Average speed: 90.1 mph.
Roy became infamous for that and other speed-freak feats when his memoir, "The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World," came out in 2007. Even the New York Times wrote him up.
I've gone cross-country before, from Gulf coast Florida to northern California and it took 7 days. We weren't in a big rush and spent way too much time in Texas and at the Grand Canyon, but it was an experience I'll never forget. You see incredible things, smell the air, listen to bad radio and eat all kinds of local cuisine along the way. Journey of discovery? It could be, but regardless, it's a great first-hand experience. Not really something you can get from Google Street View, especially when you're racing to get from one coast to the other!
I hope these racers take the real trip, someday.
Find other Google demo slams here.