|When did it start? July, 2004? October, 2002? The summer of 1914?
1914. Ernest Shackleton leaves for his overland trek across the Antarctic. Or so he thought. We know what happens. The Endurance becomes trapped in the flows. Shackleton spends 5 months floating around. Traverses the ice to Elephant Island. Takes one longboat full of men and sails over 1000 miles across the open sea to the whaling station at South Georgia. Of course, he lands on the wrong side of the island, so he climbs over it. In the end, not one man lost.
|October, 2002. Between gigs. I ask my friend Jay, who by that time is now 'post gigs' if he'd like to go for a ride. Up to Hudson Bay. Specifically, to James Bay. We will drive to the northern-most end of a road still attached to the main North American continent. If we want to get further north, we need to go by plane, dog sled or boat. He's in.|
|July, 2004. I can't stand it anymore. 18 months into new work and I have to get out in the real world again. Sure, MINIs on Top is great, but it's soooo tame. (Although, in all fairness, the 85 mph winds on top in June 03 were MY kinda' weather!) So I post on the MINI2 Board: "Who wants to go for a drive"
Not only do they come out of the woodwork, people start obsessing. By October, there is excitment. By December, people are starting to ask for winter driving stuff for the holidays. By early February, the departure date gets moved up and I don't think we could have held people back with a gun.
In all, we had a Amy fly in from California, Blake drive up from Georgia and David and Li drive in from St. Louis. The rest of us were a tame New York, New England crew.
|Midwinter MINI Arctic Run - Hudson Bay or Bust, February 2005
by David Rose - DUCTTAPE
|Driving up in ski country, in Northern Quebec, looking back at some other MINIs. On the right, Noah and I are bundled appropriately for open air motoring, in the mountains, in February.|
|I pick Noah up, meeting him for the 1st time at 4AM. We drive on to meet Roman and Marosh, then further to meet Peter Emminger and his shotgun, Walter. ------>|
|Please click on most images for a larger, clearer view and more text! (It's worth it)|
|We spend the rest of the day getting up to our last meeting point, in Matagami, Qc. The next morning, we all meet for breakfast, then head out for the James Bay Road. It's 614 km from Matagami to Radisson. A must-stop check in point. One gas station. Miles of gorgeous scenery. The road was built in the 1970's to service the Hydro Quebec plants being built. It was completed by Bechtel at the astonishing rate of 1 mile per day. If that amount isn't amazing enough, throw in where this road is, and the quality of the road, and it is a true engineering marvel. First, it's 4 lanes wide (two travel, each with very wide breakdown lanes). Secondly, it was built to withstand the incredible weight loads of hundreds of trucks loaded with stone passing daily during construction. Third, although the frost heaves are enough to send you airborne, there are no potholes.|
|Dressed for Success Competition at the Pumps Pete B, checking in The Roses, checking in Does your gas gauge work?|
|The whole crew, lined up before leaving (by Ross Trusler) JCMINI DUCTTAPE & JCMINI (D. Thibideau)|
|The weather ranged from brilliantly clear to overcast, and changed back and forth several times. Even so, whenever a southbound truck passed, we had 10-15 seconds of total whiteout. You can also see that the road conditions ranged from clear with blowing snow to very slick and icy.|
|And then, it happened...
About km 150-155 or so Noah says "We don't have to break any land speed records". I certainly agreed, but continued to follow John Cary's lead. Right into an iced corner. I didn't take it as well as John did.
|Most of us have been in fender benders. They tend to be more annoying than dangerous. Some have even been in serious car accidents, which tend to be equally as dangerous as they are annoying. I however, have never rolled a car before.
I saw the road bend and felt the car continuing straight. In typical poor judgment driving skills, I let my first thoughts rule and turned the wheel right, but too much. To compensate, I turned back left. Too much, again. To compensate for this, I applied the brakes. Big Mistake.
The car headed nose first into the embankment. It continued to swing around as the tail followed inertia and ended up with the passenger side sliding along the snow wall. We were traveling backwards, about 50 mph, along a snow wall that was quickly turning.
Noah said "It's been nice knowing you". Since he's a journalist, I'll take that for creative license. I was concerned, but not end of my rope concerned. He was not used to MINI driving but even so, the comment is totally understandable. At least I was holding the wheel. He was on a roller coaster he never bought a ticket for and couldn't have been all too happy at that moment.
Anyway, as the road curved, we mounted the embankment. I do not remember visually flying backwards over it, but I do recall visually landing in the snow, and turning over.
It was a combination of falling into snow, which we have all done. No control, just gravity pulling your body into it. And, of a car accident, sans the usual metal noise. I did not hear Noah or have any sensation of him, so this narrative will be from my point of view.
The next thing I know, I am in a car, upside down in total darkness and total silence, packed in snow. I tried to clear an airway around my face. That worked, but I still couldn't move. I grabbed at my throat to open the stuff around my neck (a leather flight cap, wool balaclava, scarf, and a Parka, buttoned at the top button.) Nothing opened. Hmmm, this isn't good. After a few shouts with no replies I figured it's up to me. I reached around for my seat belt, which dropped me further into the snow. I tried to open my throat again, but still no luck and I still couldn't move the top of my body. I was able to reach around and to what seemed up and grab the door handle. I pulled, no movement. Crap. "Can someone open the door, please?" No answer. There was room to move my legs, and I swung them around, towards the passenger side (Where was Noah? Why are my legs going there? Why can't I get these damned things from around my neck. Don't panic. A little air may have to last a while.)
All of a sudden there was a flash of light. I'm still stuck under there, not able to move, but there was light, and then I was in darkness again. I couldn't have imagined that. Wait, voices! I started to kick my feet, which I figured were outside the car, hopefully. Later, Joe Rose said he saw my two feet hanging outside the car and thought the worse. (Ding dong, the witch is dead?) I wasn't kicking to reassure anyone, but to get noticed.
Noah and Joe (I'm told) started pulling. It ends up my parka hood was trapped between the seat headrest and the snow. 2800 lbs resting on my hood and I wasn't getting out of there alone. So these two guys start pulling my feet, then my legs and then my pants. And I'm shouting "not my pants, my feet!" I figured my pants would come off and I'd either be very embarrassed, or very naked and cold. They pulled and pulled and all of a sudden I started to slip out of my coat! I was moving!
POP, I'm out! WOW!
As I stood up, still wearing my eyeglasses (if you wear them you know what a big thing that is) and I'm standing there coatless and gloveless and people are running over the embankment towards me. I turn around, and my cab is upside down. THAT was a view I'd only seen at Prestige, looking up, from under a lift.
|Pretty impressive, eh? Especially because I'm here, telling you about it. Left is Noah and I by the car. Right are some people surveying the scene and far right is the car, right side up, ready to drive home.|
|So, I'm out, walking around like a lunatic, so I've been told. Smile on my face (I figured hey, my face was there to smile, better than crying, which won't help anything.) I recall saying "I don't want to wait 12 weeks for a new Cab". After not long, we decide to roll it back over. Sure enough, the lack of damage is remarkable. One window broken and one broke on the flip back over. The lower front section is all over the road. My new driving lamps are nowhere to be found. The passenger side is pushed in, a tad. Other than that, stand in the right place and the car looks like every other MINI there, dirty, but ready to go! I recall thinking the top was off since I looked down the road and saw big pieces of black debris. I later found out that was plastic fascia from under the front. The top was not only on, it worked!|
|Me, walking away from the roll over. Note the piece of bumper fascia at right, and all the stuff around my neck, mentioned in the article.
Thanks a lot for this picture, Annette!
|(C) 2005 David Rose.us|
|picture (C) 2005 Annette Murano|