Italian Stallions Wild West Adventure: Pedal to the Metal on the Open Road

Part 7: The Longest Drive to an Airport Ever

Stallions Transform and Roll Out

My alarm rang at 4:30 AM and I got up. We had 30 mins to brush our teeth, get our shit packed in the car, and full send it to the airport. The boys were ready and we got going right on schedule. I plugged in SLC airport in the GPS and we were off. It was dawn in Las Vegas and the heat just never stopped. Unlike Arizona and Utah, Nevada just stayed hot 24/7. The GPS showed that we were going to get to SLC at 11:30 AM and we all thought that was perfect. Vic knocked out in the back and Ray was napping in the passenger seat. It was on me to start us off at a fast pace and to make sure we get to the airport right on time. Was this whole plan of ours smart? Absolutely fucking not. But would it make for an amazing story that people would love to hear about? You bet your ass it would and did.

I got us on the highway immediately and was gunning it going 100 when the limit was 80. There were absolutely no cars in Vegas and we took the I-15 north to get us up to Utah. In a way while I was driving up the I-15 it felt surreal because in Fallout New Vegas the playable character takes the I-15 themselves to get to Zion Canyon. I’m not going to lie, I was still tired and felt the effects of sleep deprivation begin to creep in on me. I was yelling inside of my own head to wake up because all of our lives are on the line and I’m responsible for our safety. The drive was smooth but there were times where I noticed the car swerving a bit too close to the other lanes and out of my lane. I started to get nervous thinking this isn’t good and I need to pull over and get some coffee or something. But time was not on our side, we were in a rush and in the infamous words of Victor, “We gone catch this flight or you gone catch these hands.”

At the rate I was going, we were set to arrive at SLC at around 11:15. I was cutting time and things were looking up for us. Within a half hour we left Nevada and entered Northern Arizona. Despite my sleep deprived state I still had time to enjoy the scenic views of the great mountains that were surrounding us. But as soon as we entered Arizona, that’s where things went to shit. I was looking at my GPS and saw that the time of arrival jumped from 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM. That’s odd I thought to myself, maybe there’s a glitch in the system. It was immediately at that moment when I realized what had happened. Las Vegas is set in the Pacific Time Zone and Arizona-Utah is set in the Mountain Time Zone. It was at that moment that I realized I fucked up in the planning of our drive to the airport and that the game was rigged from the start. What should’ve been a comfortable no rush drive to the airport now just became a race against time. It didn’t help that my sleep deprivation was getting worse and I was struggling to steady the wheel.

I pushed the pedal to the metal even harder now and was zooming through Arizona. It wasn’t until there was a really close call where for a second I almost steered us into an 18 wheeler that I realized that I had to pull over immediately and get some coffee in me. It was luck because as soon as that incident happened I saw a rest stop a mile up ahead. I quickly got us there and Ray woke up. He saw we were stopped and I explained the situation to him that we’re short on time and I need coffee because what just happened was way too close of a call. I was awake by adrenaline only but that would quickly fade as driving on those highways is very peaceful and relaxing. Very easy to fall asleep behind the wheel. It didn’t help that throughout the long stretches of road there were tire tracks of cars that either did or almost crashed, showing signs that it was a very common problem in this part of the US.

It was now 1 hour into my shift and Vic woke up quickly but he went back to sleep. Ray came with me into a Wendy’s at the rest stop and we both got ourselves coffee and he got himself breakfast to go. A super smart move on his end because despite not being hungry now, we were going to be later on. Flight is at 1:38 and it’s officially 7 AM in Arizona. We’ve got less than 5 hours to get our asses to a self service vacuum to clean the inside of the car, then the rental dealership to drop off the car, and finally to the airport and on our flight back home.

Hot Switch and The Angry Asian Transporter

We got back in, saw that the GPS was now saying our time of arrival would be 12:38. Without thinking I full sent it down the highway going 120mph trying to cut off as much time as I could all while chugging my boiling hot coffee. An hour later my shift was done and Ray and I did a hot switch. Vic was now awake and Ray became our aggressive transporter. Jason Statham would’ve been proud seeing how absolutely fast Ray went down the stretches of road. I was hungry and wolfed down the Wendy’s food that Ray got earlier.

If I could be honest, I was so happy Ray took the wheel for 3 reasons. The first was that I got to recover and finish my coffee and get some food in me. The second was that I always loved looking out the windows while driving instead of being the driver that focused on the road. And the third was that I got to see Ray absolutely rage and curse out everyone in front of us or going slower than us. Every few seconds I would literally hear Ray yell while going 110 to 120mph, “Move bitch! Get the fuck out of my way you stupid ass slow ass bitch!” Literally the funniest thing I’ve gotten to experience because Ray is usually the calmest of us and doesn’t get so heated!

But this was good, we were cutting time and now the ETA was 12:20. We cut 28 mins from our ETA and it was only getting lower. Soon enough it was time for Vic to take the wheel and we were already in Utah. At the time we stopped in Utah we were just 2 hours shy from the airport but knowing Vic we’d be there in 90 mins or less. Before Vic took the wheel, we took a quick bathroom break and I took a moment to enjoy the views. It was a warm and sunny day in Utah on the I-15. I saw the beautiful green fields and the gorgeous blue mountains. We got back in and kept seeing them. I thought to myself for a moment that despite being in a rush, how nice it would be just to lay in the fields and stare at those mountains. You could get lost just looking at them.

A ranch we saw which just exuded peace and tranquility. I’m sure the cows on this ranch were definitely happy cows.

Vic, being the raging Georgian that he is, pushed the car harder than it’s ever been pushed before with us. It was a rental and he didn’t care what happened to it. He gunned 120 nonstop and we zoomed through traffic. The ETA kept dropping down, from 12:20 down to 12:15. By the time we got to Salt Lake City the ETA was already saying 12:08. There was just one problem once we got to Salt Lake, for the first time ever there was literal traffic! Thankfully it was worse on the opposing side than on ours but it seemed like fate was just fucking with us. It was already 11:45 and we still had to find a car wash or vacuum to clean the car because of how we abused the car. Luckily within 5 mins we found a vacuum and like a well oiled machine we had the car cleaned out in no time and made it to the rental company.

The fields and mountains that you could just get lost while laying in and staring at the sky or the mountains.

Obstacle After Obstacle After Obstacle After…

We gave the car back and things were looking up. It was 12:10 all the paper work was done and we were in the clear. Except another problem came up… the shuttle to the airport was no where to be found! We ended up waiting nearly 10 mins for the shuttle, but once it came we got to the airport without issue. Just kidding, the shuttle dropped us off at the ass end of the airport far from security and check in. It was now 12:30 and we had 1 hour left till the gates were closing. You’d think this would’ve been enough time, at least I thought so. We went through check in quickly and it was a breeze, but we got fucked again.

When we got to the security line we saw just how far it extended, long enough to make us realize we just might miss our flight. I told Vic and Ray to get on line and I’ll hop on the TSA pre-check line and try to get the staff to wait for the two of them to board before they close the gate doors. Ray told me they don’t care and they’ll close it on us, but I said we didn’t have time for that kind of negativity, we had to catch this flight or someone was gonna catch these hands. I hopped on pre-check and it took me 15-20 mins to just get through, I didn’t see Ray and Vic at all and realized if it took me almost 20 mins how long would it take them. To make matters worse our gate was gate B7, and it just so happened to be that gate B7 was a 10 min walk from the metal detectors. I made it to the gate at around 1 o’clock. 38 mins to go. I told the boys where I was at and I spoke with the staff asking if there would be any leniency as I explained the situation to them. They didn’t care and said sorry no can do. I hate it when Ray is right.

10 mins passed. Then 20. The time was ticking fast and they started to call for flight boarding. I was messaging Vic and Ray asking what their status was but it was radio silence. Trying to stay calm under this pressure was tough. What were we going to do? Should I have boarded the flight if they didn’t make it and get their bags back in NYC while Vic and Ray figure out what to do in SLC? I was thinking of possibilities and what the best course of action to do would be. The staff called final boarding call to our flight. It was now 1:28 PM and I got a message from Vic saying they just got through security. I called them and said to RUN because we’re about to miss this flight. They high tailed it and I told the staff they’re on their way right now they just got through security and they’re running here. Miraculously the staff decided to grow a heart and said, oh they can walk now they’ll be fine if they just got through. YEAH, NO THEY’RE TWO PT STUDS THEY CAN RUN INSTEAD I thought to myself. I kept looking at the stairway entrance to gate B. Each minute passed my heart racing wondering where those two were. 1:29. 1:30. 1:31. 1:32. 1:33, five minutes till the gate closes and we miss our flight. When I see Vic’s head pop through the crowd and he’s running with his boot laces untied. Ray following suit. They made it and we officially caught our flight and no one had to catch these hands.

We all got our boarding passes out and boarded our flight. The Stallions didn’t sit together on this flight but that’s alright, what we cared about was just being on the flight back home. Everything worked out and we were on our way home. During the flight funnily enough the pilot said that we would be going through some turbulence. The 3 of us waited for the turbulence. We felt absolutely nothing. We felt some real turbulence when we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and were being rocked side to side like rag dolls.

Home Sweet Home

We landed in JFK at around 8 o’clock. It was pouring, cold, and just over all shit. We left the beautiful warmth of the American southwest desert to come back to this shit. It felt good to be home. Except one final challenge. After taking the air train getting back to the parking lot with all of our stuff, I totally forgot where I parked my car. In the pouring rain my dumb ass was out wading through the lot looking for my car and using the first ever recording of our trip (thank god I did record because otherwise we would’ve been stuck for a while) to pinpoint just where the hell I parked my car. Eventually I found it and I pick up the boys to drop them off home.

It was pouring even harder now but at least we were back home and despite everything we’ve gone through in the airport, we recollected the events that past 8 days have granted us. Over 4000 miles were driven. Gallons of gas burned. Dozens of miles walked. Stupid things were done. And countless memories were made. I hopped onto the Belt Parkway to drive us home and knew that this marked the end of the Italian Stallions Wild West Adventure.

Ending Notes

I truly hope you enjoyed reading this whole series of the Stallions’ Wild West Adventure. I know that I truly enjoyed writing it and thinking back to the fond memories that it brought. In the process of writing this series I shared drafts and snippets with Victor and Ray, laughing and reminiscing about the whole adventure. I hope this series inspires you too to go out there with your own group of Stallions to explore the unknown and make your own fond memories and experiences. This isn’t the last of the Stallions as we’re still kicking and there’s plenty more life in us. Until next time.

Aaron aka Giuseppe aka Giusepp-ass

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