The Best of the Best of the Best, Sir!So it's been a whole month since the Best of RT Shorts and Best of RTAA DVDs were released and I wanted to say thank you to the community for all the great feedback. These movies were a blast to make and we had a ton of fun creating the extra content on both discs. When we first made the Best of RvB DVD last year, we decided that we don't want to make Best of DVD's that aren't new and exciting. Besides containing three new RT Shorts from the upcoming season, the Best of RT Shorts DVD also has a special 20+ minute mocumentary that ties all of the shorts together into one big narrative. It was a lot of fun to connect shorts like the Angry Birds Movie to Prank King, where we learn the real reason Joel and Burnie become detectives. The Best of RTAA DVD was just as entertaining to produce; in addition to all of the hilarious disc menus that Jordan created, we also filmed explanations and commentary for all of the stories told in the Animated Adventures. So thanks again to everyone who bought the movies and for all the kind feedback you've given!
Ask Us Anything on RedditKerry, Nick, and I are doing an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit right now over A Simple Walk into Mordor (or anything else RT related). Please post your questions here: bit.ly/WFDwmI
How to Walk to MordorA lot of people have asked Kerry, Nick and me about the route we took on our walk from Hobbiton to Mount Doom. So we decided to break our journey down for you, referencing several locations seen in the videos, so that you can literally map out our adventure while you watch.
Day 1:We began at Matamata, New Zealand, at 501 Buckland Rd., where we took the official tour of the Hobbiton set (seen in part 1 of A Simple Walk). It was a great way to kick off our journey, and anyone can sign up for a tour here. My only regret is that I wasn't able to fully enjoy our visit to the set because we were so focused on shooting, but it was still a truly surreal experience.
After the tour (about 6:30pm), we decided to cut across some farmland (we did get permission for this) to shorten the distance we needed to walk that day. We filmed most of Episode 1 at this time, and it's where I chased cows and was shocked by the fence. If we had gone along the road, seen in purple, it would've been about 11 km but we shortened it to about 4 km (seen in red). However, we learned the hard way that though it was less distance, it wasn't necessarily faster. We constantly had to hop fences, double back to avoid hills and other obstacles and stop to navigate.
Eventually, we came out somewhere on Taotaoroa Rd. (Marker B) and headed south-west for a couple of hours until we hit S Hwy 29. Then we went south to S Hwy 1 and then south-west to Horahora Rd. This was the first time the seriousness of what we were attempting hit me; it was dark and cold, our packs were very heavy, and we weren't making good time. I believe we walked until about midnight before we set up camp on some random farmland about 1 km onto Horahora Rd (Marker C). The morning of Day 2, we groggily packed up and headed down Horahora Rd for about 5 km until we got to the Waikato River Trails. This is a great set of trails along the river that offers some beautiful scenery. We got on it at Lake Karapiro (section 1 in green) and had breakfast at the Pokaiwhenua Bridge Carpark. We walked along the trails and the road for roughly 16 km until about 2 p.m. when we stopped at Jone's Landing for lunch. This was the perfect place for our break. There was a beautiful view, picnic tables and even a swing set to play on, (1:42 minutes into Episode 2). After lunch, we kept on down the road until about 8 p.m. when we stopped at the Jim Barnett Reserve for the night. Day 3: we walked down the road until we reached the mountain trails of the Arapuni Section (the orange route). This part of our trip was one of the most beautiful in my opinion. We passed by several waterfalls, bridged two mountains with a swing bridge (seen at 5:50 minutes into Episode 2), and witnessed some amazing views. That being said, it was a very difficult trail at times, and we were constantly climbing up and down mountain sides. Eventually, we crossed the Waipapa Dam (6:05 minutes into Episode 2) and broke for lunch where we filmed the short recap of our progress.
After eating, we headed down the Waipapa Section of the trails (the blue route). Along this trail is where the sun went down, and we wandered around in the dark. Yay! We drastically underestimated how long it would take us to navigate this steep trail and thusly ended up in a tough situation. Once the sun went down, we briskly walked for another hour or so until we finally came out to the road at the Maraetai Dam. It was about 9:45 p.m. at this point, and we took a small break to film the RT Life in which we talk about DIY blowjobs. Then we pressed on west on Waipapa Rd for as long as we could before calling it a night.
Day 4 began with us veering south toward Whakamaru Rd. until we reached the town of Whakamaru (marker B). This is where we went into the gas station, bought Powerade and scared several customers while Nick repaired his blistered feet! We had not entered a building since we arrived in New Zealand, and it felt really bizarre to interact with people in there.
We then spent the rest of the day walking down St Hwy 32. Somewhere along here, we stopped to smoke our Hobbit pipes. We then lost and found the ring and nearly died from the heat of the sun. This was definitely the lowest point of the entire trip. We traveled at a snail's pace; we had not yet discovered the blister-popping method for foot maintenance; and we still had almost half of the trip left. We stopped for the night on the side of the road near a place called the Tihoi Venture School about 25 km south of Whakamaru (Marker C). In our tent, we discussed whether we'd be able to actually finish our trip or be forced to get in a car for some of it. If we continued at the same rate, it would not be possible for us to finish. Thankfully, we decided to push ourselves and see how much ground we could cover the next day before giving up.
Day 5... Is continued on Part 2! I just found out that journal entries aren't meant to be books. Check out Part 2 for the rest of the journey and for my final thoughts.
How to Walk to Mordor Pt 2Day 5 was mostly spent heading south on Hwy 32, and there's very little footage of this day because we decided to focus on walking more than shooting. We trekked around mountains for 42 km all the way to the intersection of Hwy 41. Reaching the end of Hwy 32 that day was the second greatest accomplishment of our entire trip. It meant that we could potentially legitimately finish the journey. You can actually see us collapse at the end of the road for a break at 10:15 minutes into Episode 3. But we weren't finished yet. We pushed eastward down Hwy 42 for another 6 km or so before stopping for the night. Normally, you would head west at the intersection to get to Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom), but we were forced to take the shortcut through private property in order to reach our goal in time. Day 6 we trespassed and headed south along some private farm and forestry roads. We would not suggest doing this. It's definitely illegal, and we could have been kicked out, fined or even arrested. Thankfully, though, we made it past the farmland, through the cut down forest and reached S Hwy 47. We pressed on south-west down that road for another 10k, stopped at a cafe to refill water and order milkshakes (worst milkshakes in the world) and then set up camp. Day 7 we woke up at 3 a.m. for the final stretch. We continued down Hwy 47 until we reached Mangatepopo Rd. Our biggest fear at this point was someone stopping us from going to the mountain. Thankfully, we made it past the blockade before any forest rangers arrived, so we headed up the 6 to 7 km stretch toward Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Once we arrived there, we started climbing the actual mountain. We went up about 2 to 3 km before we reached the spot where we buried the ring. And then of course we had to walk another 11 km or so back down the mountain. And so that's how we chose to walk to Mount Doom. Nick planned this route, and I think it was a great mix of efficiency and interesting locations. We went over farmland, up rivers and mountains, along the road, cut a few corners and finally arrived at our destination. While we constantly walked up and down hill, in total our elevation rose about 1500ft from the start to the end of our trip. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do it, especially with such great friends. For those brave enough to attempt the walk themselves, good luck. For everyone else: I hope you enjoyed our journey!
The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with weary feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. -J.R.R Tolkien
Around the WorldAs some of you know, Kerry, Kathleen, and I recently got the opportunity to travel to Australia for the Adelaide and Brisbane Supernova conventions. We met some amazing people (Billy West and John DiMaggio!), held koalas, and even tried Vegemite (tastes like salty butt).
But Kerry's and my adventure didn't end when we left Australia. We got on a plane and flew to New Zealand. And we had the craziest time in the world there. And you'll learn all about it very soon.
Season Conclusion to Nature TownAnd here is the last episode of the Nature Town mini-series! We hope you've enjoyed this strange little show and are as excited as we are about the things to come. Some of the upcoming RT series may be more familiar to you (rhymes with inversion), and others will be completely new experiences. Some may reoccur, and others may not. We hope to make you laugh, stretch your expectations, and most importantly, entertain you to death. So be on the lookout for other new RT series, humbly delivered to an internet near you.
We're also giving away a personalized message from Joel's character, Tony the Turtle, animated just for you! All you have to do is retweet this on Twitter or share this post on Facebook, and you will get a chance to win. And if you do both, well then you get two entries!