It is said that records are made to be broken. Apparently that rule also applies to ones that technically don’t exist.
Recently FOX News brought you the story of two outlaw rally drivers, Alex Roy and Dave Maher, who broke the unofficial transcontinental driving record during a secret 31 hour 4 minute run from New York to Los Angeles in late 2006. It was a highly illegal feat that involved speeds of up to 160 mph, and was achieved only after years of preparation, the use of a heavily-modified BMW M5 loaded with high-tech equipment including night vision cameras and laser jammers, and the help of a spotter plane.
Now, three friends from Salt Lake City, Utah, claim to have driven through all 48 contiguous states in less than 5 days, doing it in an economy car at speeds that averaged just 65 mph over the 7,008 mile journey, which they blogged about along the way.
“We saw 90 police officers on our trip. We did not have a radar detector, and we did not get pulled over,” says Josh Keeler, an insurance underwriter who was inspired by an idea originally hatched by his father 15 years ago. Dad never got beyond the planning stages, but Josh says he picked up on the idea and got serious about making an attempt about six months ago. Using the route plotted by his father in the 1990s, the younger Keeler made some modifications and called his close friends Joey Stocking and Adam Gatherum to see if they’d be interested in joining him.
“I didn’t want this to turn into something we could’ve or should’ve done later in life, and I just thought we needed to get out a do it,” Josh says. “Joey had a couple of questions and was on board pretty quickly and I believe Adam’s only question was ‘when?’
The car they used was a 2005 Scion XB, chosen for its relatively spacious interior and good gas mileage. The only modification they made was the installation of a vortex generator at the trailing edge of the car’s roof. Although it sounds very sci-fi, the device looks like the fins of a tiny school of sharks and is designed to clean up the airflow over the vehicle, making it more aerodynamic. According to Josh, observed fuel economy was improved from an average of 29 mpg when he first bought it, to 31.3 mpg on the trip.
With boxes full of applesauce and canned soup that they would eat cold along the way, the three men pulled out of a Mobil station in Brattleboro, Vermont on Sunday, May 4. The route would zigzag its way through the continental US, barely clipping the borders of some states. They would first head down the East Coast, then arc through the deep south to Texas and Oklahoma, north to Chicago and through the Midwest and Northern Plains on the way to Washington state where they would turn south to California and Arizona before finishing up back home in Utah at The Four Corners.
Josh says his father told him that there was an existing Guinness record of 127 hours, and that he made 120 hours the goal this time, adding that “we were never in this to set a record, we thought that would be a bonus, really.” The Guinness Book of World Records tells FOX Car Report that it no longer recognizes races against the clock on public roads, due to the possibility of reckless driving, even while participants adhere to speed limits. The organization was unable to confirm that they ever certified one for a drive through the lower 48 states.
Along the way someone tipped them off to a rumor about a 118 hour mark that had been set in the years since. Fortunately for the team, they were already ahead of schedule at that point, but Josh says the new information inspired them to push on and pick up the pace during pit stops.
When the Scion pulled into The Four Corners on the evening of Thursday, May 8th, the final tally was 106 hours and 43 minutes. To confirm their time and the fact that they actually drove through every state, Josh says they saved gas receipts, marked waypoints on a Magellan GPS device, and also shot a time lapse video of the entire trip that they will have posted on their website in the coming days.
Josh figures that with some tweaks to his route, another team could make the trip in under 100 hours without turning it into a high-speed run, but it probably won’t be him. “I think next time will be somewhere else or be something else entirely different. There’s just too much to see to spend time doing the same thing over and over.”