I don't remember gophers on Free Ride either. But, there are 20 balloons and I definitely suggest you pop them and try to get them all. It's a challenge for sure, and some are a little difficult to find. It was frustrating; but, fun looking for them all.
If you're going to look for the balloons, I suggest you print out a copy of the island map so you can mark where you find them and where you've looked. If you don't have the patience for all that, there are some sites online where you can get a map with all the locations marked. Let me know if you want to see one of those and can't find them.
And.... if you enjoy the challenge of looking for the balloons and trying to find them faster and faster, there is a thread in the Wii Top Scores team where we have a list of our times to find them.
I have not done this level in quite a while, but love it.
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