Project VehiCross Goes Gambling

For a co-driver I enlisted one of my oldest friends, Jon, who hopped onto his Ninja and rode 600 miles over two days just to go Gambling with me. Poor guy even crashed his bike when he hit a goddamn sinkhole in the middle of West Virginia (thankfully at low speeds, but it still required a stop at a bike shop before he could continue).

This video pretty much sums up the level of intelligence we brought to the Gambler.  MotoIQ D-Team, absolutely on their game!  In this case, the D stands for Delaware since that’s where both Jon and I originally hail from.

The rally was held on the weekend of April 28th and 29th.  We arrived in Troy, MI the Friday before, partly to ensure we made it, partly because the rally would start bright and early on Saturday and it’s a 350 mile drive to Detroit for us.  We convened on Saturday morning and the poor residents of Troy had no idea what they were in for.

Gambler 500 Check In
Around 700 cars descended on the Walmart in Troy, some sporting stickerbombed bodywork and PVC intakes, others daily driven Pontiac Vibes. We were somewhere in the middle. What’s neat about Gambler is you can drive just about anything. Some people judged the VX for being too nice, but most were ecstatic to not only see one in person, but see it rallying.
Gambler Gas Up
Once everyone had their route waypoints, the crews all gassed up, ready for the drive into downtown Detroit. The first waypoints were in the city proper, near the Canadian ports. This would be the urban portion of the rally, followed by a 150 mile drive to St Helen where all of the trail driving would take place.
Broken Gamblers Downtown Detroit
Camaraderie is an incredibly important part of the Gambler 500. If you see another car on the side of the road, you stop and make sure they’re ok. Sometimes you can help, sometimes all you can do is give them a tow off the main road and into safety.
Abandoned Detroit
The first stop on the 2018 Detroit Gambler was an abandoned neighborhood near the Coleman Young Airport in the downtown area. While Detroit has improved quite a bit since it went bankrupt almost 5 years ago, it is still a city very much in recovery. 50 years ago this was a bustling neighborhood, filled with working class people living the American Dream. Today it might as well be a set in the Walking Dead.


  1. Those ZJs came with a shitty full time 4WD transfer case with a viscous center section that eventually failed. The NP231s that came in base models were true 4WD (locked front to rear with no differential). Still open diffs front/rear though…

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