Gary Humphrey and Bill Vu are adventure freaks but confess that ‘One Car Too Far’ proved to be a fight for survival

Gary Humphrey and Bill Vu are unlike each other, bound by a common appetite for adventure. Discovery Channel brought them together for a new show, One Car Too Far, which premieres on September 3. This show will trace the journey of these two men in testing terrains of Chile, as they go on incredible journeys with minimum supplies.

Excerpts from an interview with Gary Humphrey and Bill Vu:

‘One Car Too Far’ required both of you to test your survival skills in some of the toughest terrains. Did you know the locations prior to filming?

Bill: The locations were chosen by Discovery. The premise for the show is to put us in four different extreme elements. For example, after shooting in winter with ice and glaciers, we were at the Atacama Desert — the hottest place in the world. Then all of a sudden we got mountains before moving to a rainforest.

Gary: We knew we were going to Chile. It’s such a diverse, massive country.

Chile has got everything that all the other countries have; it’s just in a smaller area. So, yes we knew where we were going, but we didn’t know what we were up against.

How prepared can you be before an expedition? Are there certain must-haves in your car?

Bill: Just as the Boy Scouts say “always be prepared”. It doesn’t matter if you are going into the wilderness or just on a family road trip. When you are in a predicament, do not panic. Take a deep breath. By slowing your breathing rate, you will remain calm, so being able to regain control of the situation mentally. Take stock of all items that you carry on your person. Think outside of the box and be inventive, seek for the shelter quickly. Stay hydrated. Carry a knife; a sharp knife is an amazing survival tool. Always try and seek local help; indigenous people are your lifesaver. If you are lost or stranded with a vehicle, always stay close by, never leave the vehicle. Laugh in the face of adversity and humour will drag you through most situations. The few things that you must have in your car are cell phone, bug out bag, spare tyre, car jack and food and water.

How much of the show is real? Were there situations introduced to make it more exciting for television viewers?

Gary: What you see on the TV is what you get. Obviously, we have to have safety crews because it was dangerous. We only needed something to snap, a rope or a shoelace to get caught on the pedal of the car, or the car to tip over in water, and you could have drowned. At the end of the day, it’s only a TV show and I’m not going to put my life at risk. In fact, I smashed my teeth on the show; I almost got hypothermia. It was pretty hard core.

Bill: I differ from what Gary said, because when we were climbing up a volcano and driving over a crevasse, we didn’t have any ropes holding the car. The false bridge could have easily collapsed. It could have swallowed the car and nobody could have extracted us. We would have been swallowed up by the earth.

Imagine driving over a canyon and not being able to tell where the edge is because it’s covered by snow. At any time it could drop and you could just be swallowed up by the canyon. There are several such instances.

Both of you are adrenaline junkies. But was there any terrain that terrified you?

Gary: At one time, as we were driving down a steep icy slope, we could see the gravel in front of us, which was some 30, 40 feet away, and we slid into a gully. We hit the gravel, came off the ice, and then the back wheel ripped out of the car. It was smashed to pieces. I thought we’d go down into the forest. We had to sleep overnight with the car in the ditch. The next day we had to fix the car, and the only way we could fix it was by driving it at an angle to keep the wheel wedged in until we came to a forest. This portion lasts only for 10 minutes on the show but in reality it was 18 hours of pure hell.

How did both of you get along during the show? Were there areas of conflicts?

Gary: We’ve definitely bonded. Initially we didn’t know each other. They (Discovery) put us together. We were like a truly old married couple by the end of the show.

Bill: It’s funny because Discovery put two guys that were complete opposites. I think that was on purpose, because if two guys got together that were completely in sync, everything they did was smooth and it would be a boring show.

(One Car Too Far will be telecast on Discovery, Monday to Friday, 10 p.m., beginning September 3)