Although the GTC's highway ride is impeccable, trying to watch the road through the binoculars is making me mildly carsick. I'm taking a break from the binoculars and relying on my naked eyes when I notice, far down the road, a pair of taillights that don't seem to be moving. I pick up the binoculars and confirm my suspicion: It's a state trooper lurking on the median. "Cop!" I yell, and Alex hits the brakes immediately. As we get close enough for the Crown Vic to loom into our headlights, the Valentine One suddenly goes bonkers--he's hitting us with instant-on radar. But he's about fifteen seconds too late. "Seventy-five miles per hour!" Alex says triumphantly as we roll past. We're still ticketless, a fact that becomes all the more amazing when Alex pulls into a gas station in Georgia and we see that he averaged 89 mph over the last 224 miles. I take this as a challenge to step up my game.
Alex fuels up while I run into McDonald's. I order two cheeseburgers for myself and a Happy Meal for Alex. "Is that Happy Meal for a boy or a girl?" the cashier asks.
"It's for a girl."
Back in the car and flying toward Florida, I've grown bolder than ever. I feel like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix when he realizes he can dodge bullets--maybe it's the four Red Bulls I've consumed, maybe it's the adrenaline rush of speeding on such a cop-intensive road, but I feel like I have 360-degree vision and I'm unstoppable. Almost immediately upon pulling back onto the highway, I'm accelerating through 90 mph when I glance at the rearview and see the outline of Crown Vic headlights, closing fast. I back off the gas, avoiding the brakes, and move into the center lane before he has a chance to pace me. He goes by without incident, yet another ticket denied.
At 12:46 a.m., we enter Florida, and for the first time it becomes clear that, barring disaster, we're going to beat FedEx. We could just chill out now and drive the speed limit, and the co-driver could take a nap. We do no such thing. This isn't about FedEx anymore. It's about driving hard all the way to the end, running it up the gut on a police-infested interstate in one of the most conspicuous cars possible. It's about proving that this can be done, safely and without tickets, speed limits be damned. My shift takes us through Jacksonville, with its construction zones and 45-mph speed limit, yet as I exit the highway 259 miles after taking the wheel, I've averaged 85 mph for this tank of gas.
Passing Fort Lauderdale, the speed limit drops to 55 mph and the highway is suddenly bright with streetlights. "Are you getting tired?" Alex asks. "You're slowing down."I check the speedometer, and I'm doing 80 mph. This is how twisted your reality becomes during a drive like this: when you're only doing 25 mph over the speed limit, you're slacking.
We come into Miami Beach over the Causeway, passing a police roadblock on the way. At this hour, they're looking for drunks, and a Bentley that's speeding but not weaving doesn't pique their interest.
We pull into the Nikki Beach Club parking lot at 5:32 a.m., eighteen hours and forty-nine minutes after leaving Manhattan. After nearly nineteen hours of constant stress, we can relax and reward ourselves. I open our package from Total Brilliant Shipping, which contains one bottle of Mot & Chandon champagne. Unfortunately, the crushing nature of our win presents a small problem: We won't be able to toast our victory for another four hours, when the FedEx man finally arrives with our glasses.