Car ownership isn’t at all what it used to be. They’ve always been costly to purchase, maintain and are in a continuous state of depreciation. With the current state of the world’s economy they’re even more costly to purchase, maintain and you’re lucky to get back even half in its resale. Vehicle manufacturers know this; but since they won’t make their cars more affordable, or from parts that will last until the New Jerusalem; their only point of contention is which one delivers the best gas mileage. One of the favourite pastimes for motoring enthusiasts is a road trip and in this episode of Top Gear on History, the cast was tasked with driving over seven hundred miles from Portland, Oregon to the decommissioned Alameda Naval Airbase San Francisco, California on one tank of gasoline. Yes nerds, the same one from Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. Feel free to geek out now and resume reading when you’re done. The commercial said that they were going green but no electric or hybrid vehicle is capable of covering that distance without refuelling. So the trio went with what each of them thought would be the most fuel efficient cars. Or so they thought.
“Take that you wool-hat-wearing hipster.” – Adam Ferrara
Tanner powerslid into view at their customary meeting point in a 2012 BMW 528i because in his mind, efficiency means German engineering. Rutledge then rolled in with his Craigslist purchase, a 1997 Volkswagen Passat TDI. He brimmed with pride and rightfully so because it has a diesel engine. I was glad to see a used vehicle’s participation since most folks are hard-pressed to buy brand new wheels and need a workhorse like that trusty sedan. Last but not least was Adam with a 2012 Ford F350. Bringing a Superduty pick-up truck into this kind of race is kind of like using a bazooka in an archery tournament. Despite that he said, “Eh!” like he’d already won because the truck had not one but two tanks. One was for gasoline and the other for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Did having more onboard fuel give him an edge or did an aggressive driving style make it moot? Before they found out, Tanner had one last act of hoonery to get out of his system before they headed to the start line.
“I mean that’s true love. For my wife to hold the map so everyone in the car wouldn’t see my cash and prizes, that’s love.” – Rutledge Wood
Once again, this episode’s winner had an incentive. He would race a 450 Horse Power King of the Hammers off-road truck against Erik Boomer, an extreme kayaker in the Rocky Mountains. However, before raucousness in the woods, there was a race to get started. After their final fuel stop and their gas tank covers were securely (not really) taped to prevent cheating…they started cheating. Their first challenge (within the challenge) was a downhill coasting race outside Eugene, Oregon. Then at a pit stop for everything but gas, they devised the next contest: bladder control. The first man to tinkle would be the loser. I couldn’t tell you if this was planned or not, but it led to one of the most disgustingly memorable car conversations they’ve ever had. It left me with so many questions. For example, which computer program does he use to track his urination schedule? Does he time their duration himself or get help? Is it visually represented as a line graph or dot chart? How did this weirdness behaviour start and why won’t it end? Also, if this world’s worst Freudian slip actually made it to air, what the heck kind of stuff is in the editor’s Recycle Bin? I wonder…
“I mean if you think about it, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”… It doesn’t make any sense. Who named them? Like they weren’t just born Dopey and Grumpy, were they? I mean…” – Tanner Foust
At the beautiful Oregon coast, they had to stop because the psychological warfare was intense, effecitve and scintillating in a way that made two of the boys really uncomfortable. Then in Humboldt County, they learned that driving slow enough to be passed by a scooter is not necessarily a bad thing. The last one hundred miles was far from uneventful for the three travellers and it ended up being a two-horse race at the finish line. It was a no guts, no glory fight to the very end and the victor was crowned King of the Hammers. While his compadres could do nothing but eat sour grapes and bum a ride.
The winner’s next stop was Colorado where he raced along eight miles of road and three thousand feet of mountain. Erik kayaked along the river which was four miles of Class 5 rapids and waterfalls. Dangerous? Wildly, and the only driver capable of handling this terrain in that vehicle was The Stig’s American cousin’s backwoods cousin. The race was a stunning film that showed off the lush beauty of The Rocky Mountains. The sweeping orchestral soundtrack suited the subject matter perfectly. The slow motion camera work didn’t just enhance the action but was necessary for the jaw-dropping kayaking scenes. Erik Boomer was like a water god but Backwoods Stig in the off-road truck was like an unbridled beast; and the One Tank challenge winner enjoyed the ride of his life. It wasn’t quite the kitchen sink episode like the previous Cult Classics. However, it was hilariously character driven and boy, these guys are definitely characters.