One evening we stopped alongside a beach at Batchawana Bay where we wanted to stay for the night. Before calling it a night, we decided to take a walk along the beach and there we saw him again…Hitchbot. A guy, named Kenneth was taking pictures of him at the waterfront and he told us that he was planning on taking Hitchbot a little bit further down the road, but if we wanted to, we could take him from there. Kenneth was a journalist and would be writing a story about Hitchbot. You can find his article here.
We raced back to the van and followed Kenneth to the ‘halfway point’ of the Trans Canadian Highway where he wanted to take Hitchbot. After a few more pictures, we were now the ‘ride’ of our new best friend.
Later, we found out that they even did a story about him in the Belgian newspaper and on the television, so we were very honoured to have Hitchbot as our Guest. He looks a bit odd because he seems to be made out of a large bucket, some blue floatable swimming pool foam as limbs, two dishwashing gloves as hands, a children’s car seat, a carrying stick that also works as a back stand for him, an interface where you can see his face when he is plugged in and to top this all off, some very funky yellow rain boots with pictures of cars on them.
We tried a few times to get him to talk, but his 12 Volt adapter was too short to fit in our European socket.
We took some time to have a photo shoot with Hitchbot and we even tried to teach him how to drive and how to get gas at the gas station…
In the end we got him to talk by plugging him in at the Mc Donalds at Thunder Bay. In the meanwhile we had been contacted by local reporters asking us if they could interview us. We gave an interview to the Belgian newspaper through skype and even to the local Canadian radio news, CBC, from Thunder Bay.
The first thing Hitchbot told me was : “that’s not true!”, well so far for me trying to prove a point… A real conversation was not possible, but some of the things the bot said were very funny. There was a small boy trying to talk to him and the bot asked : “are you socially awkward?” Hilarious! He was also a fan of Lady Gaga and he even asked the reporter is she wanted to go to prom with him.
We didn’t just want to leave Hitchbot by the side of the road so we stopped at the parking where there is a change in time zone and went to hitchhike alongside him. A lot of people were looking at us as if we were crazy but finally in the end, a van with three guys stopped and were honoured to take Hitchbot from us. They would take him to Winnipeg and they promised to take very good care of him.
We left some memories on Hitchbots body in the form of a wanderingsouls sticker and a Belgian flag and we waved goodbye.
In the end we saw that he was already in Regina, so still going the right way and even faster than us!!