'Top Gear' (USA) Recap: 'Desert Trailblazing' Gone Somewhat Wrong
Honestly, who wouldn't want to take a road trip with the Top Gear guys? Adam, Tanner and Rutledge are three great people to spend time with...and when you put them all together, something wild usually happens. This week's adventure is no exception to that rule.
Our heroes are in Arizona with a trio of 4x4's, which must make it to the Colorado River within 48 hours and without GPS - which, honestly, might be a plus considering how wrong things went when they relied on GPS in "Doomsday Drive." It's like a modern-day version of The Oregon Trail, only hopefully no one is about to get cholera and die.
For this expedition, Adam takes the Jeep AEV Brute, which is perfectly named and exactly what you think he'd be driving for this. Tanner's picked up a Land Rover LR4 Overland Journal Edition. Then there's Rutledge, who actually matches his Toyota FJ Cruiser, so of course he's going to get ribbed for it. On first blush, we're going to have to side with Adam. If we were going into the unknown, we'd want the biggest, toughest thing we could find.
The guys get lost quickly, then face their first problem when they encounter a river - and Tanner, in suggesting that the bearded one should cross it first, refers to Rutledge as "the most buoyant." The Toyota makes it across without much of an issue. Unsurprisingly, Tanner guns it and blows through the water. That only leaves Adam and his Brute.
Rutledge: I can actually see Adam, so I know there's oncoming danger.
Letting ego get the better of him for a moment, Adam decides to take the long way around to show up his colleagues, and almost loses it, but thankfully stays dry. But can our team correct their course and get back on track? Not with Tanner in the front of their convoy, as he freely admits that they're still lost. The terrain under their wheels soon goes from dirt to uneven rock, and everybody starts to worry a little.
Tanner: Whoa, whoa, whoa, hit the brakes.
Rutledge: I'll take something Tanner Foust has never said for $100, please, Alex.
At The Devil's Staircase, following a joke about Rut's penchant for pulled pork sandwiches (which we wholeheartedly endorse), Tanner gets frustrated with his stalling Land Rover and pushes it even harder until it muscles its way to the top. That methodology works perfectly for Adam "The Wrecker" Ferrara and a car with the word "Brute" in its name. The smaller Toyota struggles long enough for the other two guys to give up on it, but eternal optimist Rutledge never does, and even it makes the climb.
Tanner is summarily booted from the leadership position and replaced by Rut just before nightfall. On his new route, instead of rocks, the guys are avoiding trees and snow on the ground, and wind up having to camp out for the evening. This doesn't go over well with two of them.
Adam: I'm driving a school bus!
Where are they now? Even farther off than they are now - on a ski slope. So Rutledge gets fired and Adam takes over, declaring that they're going down, even if that means sliding everywhere and trying to avoid the very unhappy ski patrol. Given the latter, our guys turn tail and wind up on still more different terrain. As they race to climb another peak, Tanner wins while Rut gets temporarily stuck at the bottom but recovers. The better news is that at the top, they can finally lay eyes on the Grand Canyon.
Emboldened by knowing that they're near their finish line, they charge back down - and Tanner starts losing parts off the Land Rover, which he initially refuses to admit to and later repairs with tape (because tape solves everything). After we realize that he will never host a home improvement show, it becomes every man for themselves, everyone wanting to be the first one to accomplish their mission. And they mean business: Tanner nearly cuts off Rutledge, while Adam sneaks in front of them both after taking a water route.
With just two miles between them and the end of their journey, our heroes are all excited about a job well done. Adam is the first one to arrive, much to Tanner's dismay, and Rut takes third place. Gloating is cut short when the guys realize their work is not entirely finished; if they want a ride home, they have to continue on to reach an airfield 25 miles away within the next 30 minutes.
They hit the tarmac just as their supposed transport is about to take off without them, forcing them to try and board the cargo plane while it's in motion. It's a nerve-wracking few minutes, but our heroes get in the air - and get to leave Arizona for their next adventure.
The important thing is, unlike The Oregon Trail, nobody got through almost the entire journey only to come down with something and die in the end. And also that Adam was right.
Top Gear continues next Tuesday at 9 PM ET/PT on History. And psst...we just spent some time with Adam and Tanner today, so check back early next week for our fresh interview with the guys!