Saturday, October 31, 2009

Words can't describe

So...I was invited on a group riding trip to one of Southern California's most famous riding areas, Ocotillo Wells. I was pumped for the opportunity as I've heard good things and seen amazing photos from this freerider's paradise. It was to be a short trip as we were leaving Thursday night and coming back Saturday morning but I was excited none the less.

We rolled into camp around 10:30pm and my counterpart, BC, informed me we would be riding into the wee hours of the morning. Somewhere around midnight we geared up and caravan'd into the abyss. I blindly followed BC through the switch backs and cork screws that are Ocotillo, desperately trying to keep up which proved to be quite the task.

The evening culminated around 2:30 AM when one of our UTV patrons zigged when he should have zagged and careened down an embankment. Three cartwheels resulted in a blown rear tire, cracked fuel tank and a bent bumper which inhibited a front tire from rotating freely. After a few failed attempts at bending the bumper back someone took off for camp to find some tools and a spare tire. At least an hour later, after much debate and a failed attempt at removing the bumper, we finally returned to camp around 3:45am. I nestled myself into BC's luxurious travel trailer pondering the last time I had been awake at that hour and decided it must have been a lock in I attended sometime while in JR High. I've certainly been awake at that hour before, but it was beggining my day...not ending it.

The next day's events began around 10:30 (thank you Lord) with the master minds of camp working to patch the cracked fuel tank from the previous nights excitement. I am truly amazed at the resourcefulness of these guys. Not that they gave me any reason to doubt them, they were simply bound and determined to fix that tank with the supplies on hand. Using a soldering iron and plastic shavings from the fuel tank they were able to "weld" the cracked fuel tank and restore it to like new condition. Note: Previous attempts revealed that zip ties and shavings from the stock Rhino skid plate would not correctly adhere to the surface, resulting in a brittle and nonfunctional bead.

After finishing up the Rhino we geared up for another ride out into the wide open desert. Ocotillo Wells is some of the craziest and most scenic terrain I've ever ridden. If you're an offroader you must make it here sometime in your life.

If you've read this far considering there are no pictures to go along with my story, you have my thanks. The reason being I took a little spill while trailing BC through the sand and suffice to say my camera broke my fall. Though the debacle ended with me resting uncomfortably beneath my quad, I emerged mostly unscathed and thankfully my quad was still in tact. We pressed on and I survived the rest of the trip.

Upon arriving back at my truck this morning I discovered that someone had lovingly smashed my windshield and two other windows. Come to find out a worker at the restaurant where I had left it attempted to scare them off and had a wrench thrown at him in the process. Suffice to say Duke, the restaurant owner, is ready to form a posse to track down the culprits.

While this unfortunate event has thrown yet another hiccup into my adventure, it has allowed me a great blessing and an opportunity to get more acquainted with another couple from my church. I informed Alex (youth pastor at Life Church) of my predicament and asked for his assistance in some form that would enable me to make it to church this weekend. He and his wife Leslie graciously offered to lend me a car until my truck is fixed and what's more, I had the opportunity to spend the evening with them and their family. I am truly amazed at God's provision and guidance on this voyage and had a wonderful time chatting with them and hanging with their kids as they prepared for an evening of trick or treating. So Alex and Leslie, words cannot describe my thanks for the car and home cooked meal. The salmon was off the hook! (no pun intended) :)

That's all for now. I'm off to hang with my buddy Adrian and his girlfriend. Thanks to all for your prayers and support. This has been and continues to be the craziest and most incredible experience of my life. I'm not entirely sure where it's going but I could say I'm learning to embrace Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a man charts his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something new

What’s an adventure to be without a few hiccups? My trusty 1979 Chevy pickup made the entire 1200 plus mile trek without so much as a jot or tiddle however my radiator began leaking not long after I arrived. In my quest to remain alive and mobile I began looking at options for replacing it. Thankfully my new friend Adrian, who just happened to move into the guest house on the property around the same time I got here, is a master mechanic for anything with wheels and a motor. What’s more is that he is in the process of restoring a nearly identical truck and because of that he knows my truck inside and out. Upon mentioning my dilemma he told me where and what to get and this morning we installed a new radiator and my truck has never run better. Mad props Adrian!

I had lunch yesterday with Pastor John and Rob Coblentz from Life Church and we’re looking at opportunities for me to get involved. They are both excited about my background in worship music and feel that there are probably opportunities for me to get involved. Additionally John has inquired about me getting involved with the youth and Rob has extended the offer for me to help with AWANAS as he is the program director for the church. Lots of opportunities and I’m excited about them all, I’m just trying to get my feet settled a little bit before I dive in too far.

After finishing up the radiator today I headed off to meet John and a few others from his church to put in some laps on their own semi private course. I’m out of shape, that’s for sure! I’ve spent so much time pursuing the sport that I love over the last year that at times I feel like I’ve quite riding all together. Not even one lap into it, my legs were burning and I was out of breath. This kind of pain I’m more than happy to deal with however and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to get out and ride.

After our ride session Alex Hughes, yet another member of Life Church, invited me to come join him at Jr. High Youth group. Boy was that exciting! It’s certainly been a while for me but it was exciting to work with young minds after being so involved with college students for so long. We played some games and I had a chance to lead a discussion with about 4 of the guys. Alex and I are going to meet in the coming days to talk about opportunities to help out there as well.

So rounding out day number 13 I have yet to make any solid connections that will lead me to work opportunities within the industry, but I have countless leads and several folks working behind the scenes to get me plugged in. One never knows what tomorrow will bring and that is true to the umpteenth degree for me. My plans for the foreseeable future involve a trip to Ocotillo Wells offroad area and that’s all I know about that. Keep checking back for photos and updates as I continue on this crazy adventure!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Journey

So I started my blog about a year ago as a means of chronicling my pursuit of this dream of doing freestyle motocross for a living. Whether I lost interest or simply had nothing more to write about, the blog didn’t last long but I’m back at it now as I have recently moved to southern California in an attempt to further this dream.

October 9th was my last day with Columbia River Bank and the following Monday I headed out for Temecula California, the Mecca of freestyle motocross. Along the way I stopped off at Dumont Dunes California for some duning action with some of the greatest ATV freestyle riders in the world. That was a fun experience but not quite what I expected. I was able to take some photos of the various film shoots and now have some great photos from the trip.

From Dumont it was on to Temecula where I’ve been mostly hanging out for the last week. Ultimately the plan is to start riding freestyle around here and see if the guys I’m with think I have enough potential to join the team and ultimately start doing shows. A few obstacles have caused a slow down in the process, but I’m thankful for the opportunity non the less and enjoying being in sunny southern California.

I’m continuing to network with other FMX people in the area and am hoping to get connected with the Metal Mulisha. For you non FMX folks, the Metal Mulisha are the most metaled group of FMX riders in the world. They conquer the X-Games year after year as well as a host of other competitions around the world and were pretty much the founding fathers of the sport. I would love the opportunity to ride and train with them, but would be glad just for the opportunity to hang out, film, sell t-shirts at their demos or fill whatever other need they might have. My goal in being here is simply to immerse myself in the industry and then figure out which path I want to take. Or rather, how God wants to use me here. Yes my ultimate goal is to be making money riding, but I want much more than that. I enjoy the business side of things as well and would like to be involved in the marketing and promotions side of the sport. We shall see. All I know is that there is no bigger place for freestyle motocross in the world than Temecula California, and I’m right in the thick of it! ☺

Another exciting connection I’ve made is with a church called Life Church. In mentioning my little adventure to her church, my mom came to find out that one of her friends had family in the Temecula area. She connected me with Life Church and Pastor John Ruhlman. I was able to visit with John for a few minutes after the service and he seemed excited about my eagerness for the industry as well as using it as a tool for ministry. He and a few others I met from the church are avid motorcycle riders as well so that’s always good. I plan on returning to Life Church this weekend and continuing to get plugged into the body. I haven’t really met any young folks my age but hopefully that will come with getting involved in a church. I’m dying for an opportunity to go hang out with some people.

That’s pretty much it for now. I’ve just been trying to keep busy around here, doing little things to help out where I see a need. I applied with Temecula Motorsports yesterday and it looks like something could develop in the coming weeks. For now I kinda want to keep myself free in the event that an opportunity comes along, but sooner or later the money’s going to run out and I’m going to need to get back to work!!!