I am still trying to decompress from my first Gambler experience. It was a bit overwhelming. Much like going to Vegas for the first time, there was just too much to see, too little time.
Here I am, loaded up and heading out. I had a 9 hour drive ahead of me. Everything was so clean, I was so young then.
Driving through the Cascades. The Frontier was towing like a champion.
We made it to camp! Camp was in the middle of a pumice quarry. Basically the hottest, dustiest environment imaginable.
Our next door neighbors came prepared with a swimming pool.
We got in pretty late but I tried to take some pics of cars around us. We were car #523 into camp. On day two the highest # I saw was 1300 something. I know there were more, it got CROWDED.
I met Chris form B is for Build. Nice dude in person.
The last of the V8 Interceptors!
Day 2, the event. Here is our crew doing our pre flight checks. We had my 91 Fox, a little Subaru Justy, and a Cherokee. We all broke at some point.
First stop was the gas station. We were in a tiny town called Chemult, population 300, which was not prepared or warned of the impending chaos. I didn’t capture it well, but trust me it was nuts. The store clerk was yelling at people over the intercom, nobody cared.
Time to hit the roads.
It was incredibly dusty. After our first trail I was way down on power, I had to clean out the air filter a few times during the day.
Our first break down / beer break. The Cherokee started overheating. We tried our best to convince the drive the only solution was to let us pee in the radiator (we had plenty of water) but he wouldn’t let us.
Back at it. Any time we had to hit pavement I would clean the air filter, or I couldn’t do much over 50mph.
Another beer stop. We took the hood off the Jeep for cooling, he still wasn’t going for the pee idea.
Then the drivers rear wheel fell off the Justy. Due to the dust it was hard to keep track of each other, so every now and then you had to stop and wait a bit. After too long of a wait we went back and found the Just getting some repairs.
The threads on the spindle had stripped. The driver was able to make a spacer from the spare tire hold down and use a nail as a cotter pin, then bled the brakes. Twice.
My turn to break down, two things at once which was odd. The car just shut off and wouldn’t start. We decided it was fuel related and hit the tank with a hammer as I cranked, fired right up. Must have sucked up something in the tank. But I also had no power brakes. A cap had fallen off the vacuum tree. We shoved a stick in there, good to go.
Back on the road back to camp. We did around 140 miles off road that day. The Mustang held up very well, but something under the car isn’t happy, pretty sure it’s the exhaust falling off.
That night back in camp, things got crazy. Like, burning man / mad max levels of debauchery. I’m ashamed by my lack of pics and vids, all my gopro stuff is garbage due to the dust. The videos are probably incriminating anyway. Just google Gambler 500, you get the idea.
In conclusion, the Mustang was a goddamn champion out there, surprised us all how capable it was. The event was amazing, we filled 3 massive dumpsters with trash picked up on the trails. I’d do it again... but not immediately. I need some rest and time to contemplate WTF just happened.