There are very few automotive lifestyle events that stack up to the likes of goldRush Rally. Many have heard about the gR phenomenon, but few have experienced one to the fullest. It's the type of event non-participants speak of in hushed tones. Is it dangerous? Are you racing? What do you win? With the help of our friends at ROUSH Performance & Protective Film Solutions, we set forth on an epic 8-day adventure to find out what goldRush Rally 9 was really all about. Roll the footage!
goldRush Rally 9: XPEL on the Road with Roush Performance
The video does a decent job of summing things up, but there's still so much to goldRush. It only happens once a year, but what happens during that week on the road seem to last a lifetime. From the day-to-day of driving to wild moments that are born from spontaneity - for many, being #goldBlooded runs deep. Let's get into it.
Start Grid at the Peterson Automotive Museum
After a quick stop in Vegas to acquire our support vehicle, we made a beeline for Cali. We were piloting the last vehicle anyone expected to see on goldRush Rally - a Ford F-150. Not just any regular old Ford though. A ROUSH tuned Platinum Edition to be precise. Our fellow ralliers would be stuck in rigid carbon bucket seats, but we were cruising in comfort. The ROUSH F-150 is about as close to an off-road Rolls as you can get with a Blue Oval. Between the heated + cooled massaging seats, upgraded Fox shocks, and a 600hp supercharged V8, it's a goldRush recipe for good times.
Of course, all the performance & practicality in the world can't really hold a candle to the rest of the display at the start grid. If you're a fan of exotics, there's plenty to go around. GT3 RS's, McLarens, multiple Bugatti Veyrons & even Salomondrin's Rubystone Red Porsche CGT attended.
Among those vehicles was none other than the ROUSH Performance Stage 3 S550 we'd be accompanying. Rocking a Le Mans Ford GT tribute livery, it was easily one of our favorite wraps on goldRush. The cars of goldRush are usually best known for their wild wraps, but the Mustang's real-world inspired styling felt right at home.
No doubt, one of our other favorite wraps on the rally was none other than BC's PurBlanc Panda. Playing off the Bugatti's Beetle-like shape, PFS treated the Veyron to a Herbie the Love Bug livery. With an XPEL STEALTH base layer under the graphics, the Veyron packed enough protection & personality to steel the show.
The Vorsteiner McLaren 570-VX could also be seen sitting outside the Peterson Museum. Looking like a cross between some sort of baby P1 GTR & a jet fighter, Vorsteiner's take on the 570 was sure to be a head turner on goldRush.
A Lamborghini Countach lurked beyond the temporary dividers surrounding the start grid. While it wasn't part of the rally, it's hard for anyone to ignore an 80s supercar icon. After a few rounds of admiring everything in the lot & touring the Peterson, it was finally time to pack it in. The rally launch day loomed, and we knew we had a full day of driving ahead.
Beverly Hills to San Francisco: Hearst Castle Takeover
Bright and early Saturday, we met up for the first driver's meeting back outside the Peterson. The first bit of the journey would land us in San Francisco for the night, with a quick scenic stop at Hearst Castle.
Once we were on the road, it was open season for shooting rollers. We did our best to keep with the pack as we battled LA traffic & made our way to the lunch locale. Among the cars flying by, the ROUSH Performance S550 looked awesome rocking the monstrous Pirelli World Challenge wing.
Upon arrival at Hearst Castle, the parking lot filled up as word spread to the tourists inside. In no time, sight seers were wandering the rows of exotics, buzzing with questions about the rally & where we were heading.
While pranks have become somewhat synonymous with goldRush, we witnessed our first act of cross-team camaraderie at the Castle.
The couple driving a Joker & Harley Quinn wrapped Lamborghini left a message for the Batventador. If you're familiar with the classic Dark Knight twist on a popular Christmas carol, it's bound to ring a bell.
Before hitting the road towards San Francisco, we took some time to admire the gR pack & get a feel for everything in the fleet.
Soon enough, it was time to roll to our first rest stop of the rally. We fired up the truck, turned on our seat coolers, and slipped into the line up as cars filed out.
A Golden Gate Getaway & In-N-Out Invasion
After a decent night's sleep at the Ritz & a routine morning driver's meeting, the goldRush group assembled. The second day of driving would span around 500 or so miles across California and deep into Oregon.
Everyone formed up at Marina Green. Cars filed in & filled the park out as spotters started to come out of the woodwork.
As the morning fog burned off, we opted to bust out the drone to snap a few ariels and get a feel for our surroundings.
Between the high value vehicles on display, a handful of yachts in the harbor, and Alcatraz looming in the distance, the views were nothing short of spectacular.
In true goldRush Rally form, a few of California's finest had turned up to lead the pack.
Once the police photo ops were out of the way, it was time for goldRush to make its move. With the fuzz leading the charge, the streets of SanFran erupted into a symphony of horsepower.
Making our way through the barrage of Sunday drivers, we eventually found our way onto the bridge. A pink & purple plume drifted over the pack as a team in the front unleashed a few smoke bombs for cinematic effect. A police escort to the Golden Gate Bridge isn't an everyday occurrence. Ask anyone on gR9ine, it was without a doubt a highlight of the rally.
After a few hours of blasting through the California countryside, we rolled into the lunch meet ready for a bite. As anyone knows, no California road trip is complete without a stop at In-n-Out.
As goldRushers arrived, the parking lot began to overflow with hungry patrons & car fans alike. Despite the overwhelming crowd and sudden influx of hungry drivers, In-N-Out handled our surprise invasion with relative ease. Parking spaces were in short order, but the food came out fast. Spoilers became table tops, and the rally gang refueled in true animal-style fashion.
Entering Oregon Territory
Aside from intermittent cell service & a little inclement weather, the drive into Oregon was smooth sailing. The pack would break up every once in awhile between refueling stops, reforming en route. Every small town the rally passed through seemed to welcome us with open arms & cellphone cameras rolling.
After a few hours of driving, almost the entire pack pulled off next to a dilapidated barn for an impromptu car show & photo shoot. The dirt side roads posed little threat to the likes of goldRush Rally. At one point, Australian racing driver Liam Talbot even decided to hitch a ride on the back of a Ferrari.
One thing's for sure, our ROUSH F-150 looked right at home out in the farmlands of Oregon. If we had a few more hours to spare, we definitely would have liked to do a bit more off-roading. But, with daylight fading fast, we still had quite a bit of ground to cover before hitting Sun River. We sounded the airhorns & piled back in the ROUSH destined to finish the final stretch of Day 2.
Sun River to Seattle: Porsche Cupcakes & Oregon Raceway Park
The third day of goldRush Rally 9 began & all seemed quiet. Most of the teams were packing up and prepping to roll out, except one. A particular Porsche was starting to draw a crowd.
The driver of the 911 in question was the victim of sweet revenge. As the story goes, he supposedly added some unwanted stickers to another participant's car the night before. As a result, the other team decided to fire back by turning his car into a rolling dessert. The Porsche got covered with whip cream, sprinkles, frosting, a few waffle cones & topped off with saran wrap. Finally, the tires were flattened. From here on, this Porsche would have its rush for gold cut short.
At this point it was time to take it to the track. Minor beef aside. everyone made their way to Oregon Raceway Park. The road course was prepped & a catered lunch awaited. The weather was clear, crisp, and perfect for hot lapping. It was a beautiful day for track time with the rally group.
While the ROUSH Mustang cooled down after a few sessions on the tarmac, we took a minute to get some footage of it at rest for the highlight reel. Once we wrapped up the shoot, it was time to hit the dusty trail towards the rainy state of Washington.
The Second Leg: Turn10 Tours & Lamborghinis Galore
Seattle marked the beginning of the second leg of goldRush Rally. With a day of layover before departure to Spokane, we had plenty of time to see the sights and make a few stops. There were a handful of cars teaming up for the 2nd half of gR9ine too. One very rare Porsche 959 joined forces, along with a vintage Camaro, and a Lamborghini Gallardo piloted by YouTube persona The Stradman.
Tuesday rolled around & our first point of interest in the Pacific North West was none other than Turn 10 Studios. Responsible for one of the most successful racing franchises in video game history, Turn 10 has been cranking out hits since the early days of XBOX. Forza Motorsport has since spanned 6 titles and even branched off into a separate arcade inspired series called Horizon.
Once we had a quick bite and caught a few interviews with game devs, the tours were underway. Due to some unforseen exposure of upcoming projects, our tour got cut a bit short. Consequently, so did our shot at hitting the racing simulator. Be that as it may, it was still interesting to get an inside look at the home of Forza and a feel for how the game gets made. If you watched our highlight reel, you may have spotted a quick glimpse of the pre-production McLaren P1 that calls the lobby of Turn 10 home.
As the day's event started to wind down, we found ourselves staring down the nose of a brand new Lamborghini. A beautiful Balloon White Aventador S sat quietly near the exit, begging to join in on the fun of goldRush Rally 9.
With the Aventador S in the forefront of our minds, we made a conscious decision to stop by Lamborghini Bellevue & see what else was in-stock. As luck would have it, they welcomed us with open doors and were happy to show off a selection of their finest bulls. Quite a few of their vehicles had ULTIMATE or STEALTH paint protection equipped thanks to our friends at Eastside Auto Salon. All things considered, it was a great opportunity to meet with a dealership taking the extra steps to protect their vehicles from the start.
Due East: Spokane Via Seattle
Wednesday rolled around & everyone was itching to get back out on the open road. No doubt, goldRush Rally 9 felt like it was just getting started as we made our way through the wet towards Spokane County Raceway.
At the top of Snoqualmie pass, we happened upon the last remaining remnants of winter. It seemed only necessary that we do a little cold weather testing with the ROUSH F-150. At this point, we had no choice but to pull off the road & tried not to get the truck stuck.
Before long, we had left the slushy stuff far behind. The rolling hills of eastern Washington stretched out before us as we made our way towards the Columbia river. The group took a moment to link up for a photo op at a turnoff outside of Vantage, so we took advantage & pulled the drone out.
The bird's eye perspective is quickly becoming a popular way to profile vehicles of every variety. Having a broad selection of cars to shoot on goldRush Rally was a perfect opportunity to get familiar with the technique.
Using the Columbia as a backdrop was a nice change of scenery too. The lineup of cars parked along the river's edge & Team Salamone's chromed out Aventador looked stellar in the afternoon sun. Once everyone had stretched their legs for a bit, it was time to get back on the road.
Exotic Shakedown at SCR
A couple more hours of driving flew by, and we found ourselves lining up at Spokane County Raceway for some exotic drag racing.
When we say "exotic drag racing" we mean it. Sure, some of the vehicles that participated were, by definition, exotics. But drag racing on goldRush doesn't stop at supercars. A Mercedes 4x4 Squared lined up to run, and yes, even the DASH radio van threw down on the quarter mile!
As luck would have it, the drag portion of the day came to a close & the nice people at SCR decided to open up the road course. One of the straighter sections of the track was visible from the fence, so we were able to get a few action shots as cars flew by.
Spokane to Jackson Hole: Taking the Twisties & Climbing to the Top
After a night of massive crowds, dueling pianos and karaoke, it was time to hit the roads once again. The drive from Spokane to Jackson Hole was a long one, but when you're in the company of goldRush Rally, time flies.
We made our way into Wyoming and began to close the gap on the Grand Tetons. a few miles out from our resting place for the evening, we spotted a classic Mini pulling onto the road. Exchanging thumbs up, the Mini joined pursuit as quick as it could, trailing close to the ROUSH F-150 as we hurtled down the pass.
Upon arrival at the Teton Mountain Lodge, the hotel's guest services welcomed us in & helped us get more acquainted to our surroundings. After discussing the possibilities of local off-road access with some on-site personnel, we were ready to do a little more exploring.
This time though, we didn't take the truck. A quick chat with Liam Talbot led us to the only logical conclusion: drive the 4x4 Squared up as high as humanly possible.
So we did. With no real sense of direction other than "up," we took the Mercedes as far as the beaten path would let us. Summiting a mountain in a luxury SUV isn't exactly routine operating procedure. Be that as it may, the 4x4 Squared is hardly a garden variety mall crawler, so getting to the top posed little of a challenge. If you're wondering how we got down, check out the replay from Liam's Facebook Live stream here.
Jetting from Jackson Hole
The following day, we cleared out of Jackson Hole & high tailed it towards Park City, Utah. Since there was quite a bit of ground to cover, we made sure not to do it on an empty stomach. Rally organizers had a unique lunch stop planned at a glamping resort called Conestoga Ranch on the shores of Bear Lake.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of glamping: it's a trendy form of glamorous camping. The property at Conestoga housed a few covered wagons, bespoke tents, and a number of large fire pits. Modern supercars lined up along with more colonial modes of transportation isn't something we see everyday, so the stop at Conestoga was an interesting one.
Parking in Park City
The arrival of goldRush Rally 9 in Park City was warm welcomed. As we began our accent to Montage Deer Valley hotel, groups of spectators began to line the road. Near the hotel entrance a small crowd had formed and cheered on teams as they made there way into the garage.
Like prior stops, a few parking spaces remained reserved for the rally's heavy hitters near the hotel lobby. Despite our F-150's luxurious interior, we didn't make the cut for premium parking. As the night went on, our fellow ralliers settled in. We had one final leg ahead, and we'd need all the energy we could muster if we were going to make it to Vegas the following day.
Before we knew it, the time had come to make the final jaunt to Nevada. Cars circled up around the Montage entry way and prepared for blast off.
Las Vegas Bound
Maybe it was the fact that Saturday marked the last day in our goldRush Rally adventure. Or, perhaps it was the accumulative miles we had traveled over the past 9 days on the road. Either way, the stretch between Park City & Vegas seemed to fly by quicker than any other. After staying with the pack for a large portion of the drive & snapping a few rollers, we opted to drop back. Looking for a good opportunity to enjoy the ROUSH F-150 a bit more before parting ways, we pulled off at the first sign of flat dirt. If you watched our highlight reel above,
After a quick lunch stop with a bunch of participants, it was time to close the gap on Nevada. The final drive to Chicago Motor Cars in Las Vegas marked the end of our journey on goldRush Rally 9.
Once we got to Chicago Motor Cars, the goldRush Rally Award Ceremony was ready to pop off. A few teams had opted to skip out on Park City, so they were ready & waiting when others arrived. Word had definitely got out on social media. The lot at CMC Vegas was chock full of rally fans & car spotters alike.
Caked in dirt & running low on fuel, the ROUSH F-150 had made the gR9ine journey in one piece. Despite our best efforts to melt a tire or two & disable the seat massagers via excessive overuse, not a problem was had. We received quite a few compliments on the truck over the course of goldRush, and almost weren't ready to say goodbye. After chatting it up with a few spectators, we made our way inside for the Awards.
Upon entering Chicago Motor Cars, the sight of a La Ferrari let us know we had truly arrived. A handful of other vehicles were keeping the La F company. A Rolls, an AMG Coupe, and a Rezvani Beast were all on display. Once the ceremony began, we figured we'd be a shoe in for "dirtiest car" award, but no dice. Apparently trucks don't qualify. Despite a minor letdown, we still lived it up. With complimentary champagne flowing & music blasting, our time on goldRush was coming to an end.
Backup on The Boulevard
Evening set in on sin city, and the grand finale lay ahead. To cap goldRush Rally 9 off in style, a final police escort was in order. We were about to shut down the main drag.
With an excessive amount of revving & airhorns blasting, we lumbered onto the Vegas strip. Traffic on LV Boulevard is normal - goldRush however, is not. The strip nearly screeched to a halt. At one point, resident carninja Ted7 even hopped out of the Fiat to snap a few during the backup!
In any case, we made it to the Aria and were waved into the garage. The journey was over. Our goldRush adventure had reached its final stop.
Traveling at the speed of gold
No doubt, goldRush Rally 9 was an experience unlike any other. The sheer amount of miles driven, fuel burned, and strips of beef jerky eaten felt record worthy in itself. We saw some incredible sights, met a lot of interesting characters, and made a few new fans. The XPEL ULTIMATE clear bra installed on the truck & other vehicles on the rally stood up to the challenge of gR. By the same token, we can't wait to see what's in store for #gRX.
Special thanks to our friends at ROUSH Performance for setting us up with an awesome vehicle to make the journey in, and to Protective Film Solutions for making XPEL the official clear bra of goldRush!