In the previous chapter, we explored all the various forms of training and preparation for a mission to the North Pole that we successfully ignored in favour of drinking nice cups of coffee and strong forms of alcohol. Eventually we realized that our training was never going to be properly completed, and was really just another form of procrastination. If I haven’t already squandered what little interest you had in our mission, read on to hear of the mission itself.
Part III: The Mission
The next morning broke bright and early with the fresh energy of the mission ahead, and with the promise of adventure and unexplored potential. Or, at least, we assume it did, because the snooze button and its accompanying sleep won the battle for our attention, and we missed most of the morning altogether. The remainder of our pre-noon activities encompassed arguing over the music that should fill our various iPhones to provide the soundtrack for our trip. Perhaps not the best use of our time, but it seemed important at the moment.
When we finally got on the road, further arguments ensued over the route we should take. We tried to use our various GPS systems to plot the most sensible route, only to discover that “The North Pole” is not a recognized point of interest. We can only assume this is due to a massive failing on the part of the GPS manufacturers, and will forward a letter pointing out this glaring omission… whenever we finally get around to it.
We knew that much of the trip could be covered on various highways that criss-cross even the most remote parts of Canada. As such, for the time being, our cruise control and climate control were the most valuable pieces of equipment we had with us. Unfortunately, we had overlooked one major point of the Top Gear special that would have come in handy. Specifically, the Bumper Dumper.
We realized this omission at a most unfortunate time; we were several hours away from the nearest vestige of civlization in either direction, and the rather colossal amounts of coffee we had enjoyed that morning made it quite an alarming realization to come to.
The problem was compounded by TechieInHell’s singleminded obsession on points of trivia that came up during our conversations. The breaking point arose during a discussion about the various forms of wildlife we would encounter on our voyage.
CardboardSamurai and myself were, understandably, most concerned with the presence of polar bears. Some sources have claimed that the increased presence of humans in the north – due to the Canadian government’s insistence on strengthening their claim on that territory – has resulted in many of the bears becoming far too comfortable with humans and their technology. As such, they don’t fear us the way they might have in generations past. Our concern hinged on the fact that the Lacetti was scarcely able to protect us from the dangers of a speed-bump or pothole, never mind the dangers of an angry polar bear.
TechieInHell, on the other hand, was adamant in his insistence that the true danger was that of large carnivourous penguins. When we tried to insist that penguins were found at the south pole, not the north, he grew quite agitated and insisted upon looking up his proof on Google. This, of course, presented two problems. Firstly, he was driving; allowing the easily-distracted Techie to attempt to use his iPhone to look up information of this sort while driving would have been only slightly more dangerous than stripping naked and trying to French-kiss one of the polar bears we so feared. Secondly, we were hours from the nearest location that we might optimistically refer to as “civilization”. As such, cellular service was spotty at best.
The first problem was solved by convincing Techie to pull over in order to use his cellphone. After a few minutes of trying to get a signal, he decided to head for higher ground in the hopes of getting away from the trees and mountains that might be blocking his signal. As such, he hopped out and started walking through the snow.
This seemed bizarre to us, but Techie’s logic can sometimes be… elusive. We didn’t question it; we merely took note of which direction he had gone in case we had to dig him out of a snowbank later.
Since Techie was out of the way, Cardboard decided it was a perfect opportunity to solve the problem of the glaring omission of our Bumper Dumper. We discovered that Techie had brought three full bags of clothing, including bathrobes, dress shirts and pyjamas. Since, clearly, none of those would be required, we decided to put them to good use. As wrapping. While I stood guard.
When Techie finally returned, he seemed to be in quite an unpleasant mood; he wouldn’t specify whether he had managed to find a signal or not. Cardboard and I briefly debated about which would put him in a worse mood, not being able to get a signal, or finding one and learning he had been proven wrong. Techie did not find our banter terribly entertaining, and told us that if we did not keep silent for the remainder of the trip, he would put his Cher, Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey playlist on repeat. We promised to behave. At least for the rest of the time we were on the highway.
We’re still not entirely certain if Techie actually knew when it came to be the right point to turn off the highway, or if he just picked a point at random. We suspected the latter, and in retrospect, it may have been a result of Cardboard and I singing a rousing chorus of “9,999,999 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”. Loudly. And slightly off-key.
Whatever the motivation, we celebrated the occasion of turning off the highway by pulling over for an argument. This was somewhat refreshing, as we hadn’t had a good yelling match in at least an hour or so. Of course, when I say we “pulled over”, I actually mean that we got stuck.
In fact much of the remainder of the trip involved us getting stuck. For all intents and purposes, we would probably have made better progress just by walking. Perhaps it was the emotion and adrenaline of the moment, but Cardboard and I quickly took to blaming Techie. I’m sure he wasn’t consciously trying to drive into deep bits of snow and get us horribly stuck, but at the time, it certainly seemed that way. It’s also possible that Techie just wanted us to get out and push, rather than allowing us to continue with our game of “I Spy With My Little Eye” — likely because every clue was “something that is white”, and every answer was “snow”.
Eventually, our patience ran out, and we attempted to get the car out by arguing. While this wasn’t exactly effective, it certainly made us feel better.
Of course, after expending all that energy, Cardboard and I were quite exhausted. So when we finally got the car free and moving, we promptly fell asleep.
As such, I really can’t tell you much more about the whole adventure. I have no idea how long we drove for, but we woke up to Techie’s announcement that we had arrived. I do know that at some point, despite the fact that Cardboard and I had been behaving ourselves quite nicely — we were asleep — and there was little threat of us causing a ruckus due to our exhaustion, Techie had nevertheless broken out his Celine Dion playlist, and was quietly singing along to it while we drove. It was infiltrating our nightmares, and at one point Cardboard woke up screaming. Of course, Techie and Cardboard had been roommates not long ago, so Techie was used to that. I was not, and nearly jumped out of the car in surprise. So it goes without saying that we were all pretty much ready to reach our destination, whether it was actually our destination or not.
Sure enough, by all outward appearances, it certainly looked like the right place; a giant striped pole could be seen sticking out of the ground.
The problem, of course, was that we had no way of proving it. Neither our iPhones or my cheap GPS device could manage a satellite lock to determine our position. Of course, this also meant there was no way to disprove that it was actually the North Pole.
We knew, however, that we had reached some significant point of interest, as there was a Tim Hortons nearby.
So naturally, we did the only things we could think of. We posed for some photos, we stuck Techie’s tongue to the frozen pole, and we got coffee.
We then celebrated with a nice stiff drink, and headed home. I will say that the trip home seemed to take a lot less time than I would have expected. Techie’s explanation was that we were heading south the entire time, so it was all downhill. Something about that logic seemed flawed, but we were far too tired to argue.
So there you have it. Hooniverse has successfully become the first automotive blog in the world to make it to the north pole in a Reasonably-Priced Car. And we did it all for you, our beloved viewers. Don’t say we never do anything nice for you.
[Special thanks to CardboardSamurai, TechieInHell and CaffeineFuelled for putting up with this whole adventure.]