Pursuit Horizon Blog 1 – The first 400 or so miles. We’re off!25 Jun 2012, Posted by The Journey in
Amanda Pollard and Zach Settewongse head off on their 8500+ mile journey through the US and 27 states.
First this to explain about our blog is that we want people to see our story from both a male and female perspective. So there will be a post from Amanda and I side by side on the pages. We are intentionally not discussing what we are each going to write prior to doing so. This way we don’t say the same thing. At least that’s the plan. I hope you enjoy this journey with us.
Day 1 – Apparently the day to experience weather.
We started out of the warehouse around 11.45; Zach was a little behind in packing; chores and everything else. Weather in Reno was around 59 with wind gusts at 20-30mph, making it feel like 45. Being cold natured I was wearing 3 shirts, my leather coat and leather gloves. We headed on 395 North towards Susanville where the wind proceeded to get even worse; gusts of 50mph. Where typical California drivers were either all over us, or passing us at ridiculous speed as we were fighting to keep our bikes upright and the rubber on the road. Zach was in front of me for most of this stretch, and his bike was swaying constantly with the wind. As we climbed over and through Lassen National Volcanic Park, roughly 6000ft in elevation, the temperature dropped even more.
As we started toward Redding and dropped in elevation, the temperatures began to rise as did our spirits. When we arrived in Redding we stopped to stretch our legs, and get something to drink. At which point we met a lovely gentlemen who, dressed in adventure gear, promptly began telling us about his wife and his adventures on dual sport bikes, they are currently mapping off road trails and stopping at quaint, tasty cafes about which they blog for fellow off roaders to enjoy. He asked about our logos and quickly quipped that he loved JOBY and recently got the SENA SMH10 headsets for the family.
We took off from Redding headed to Weaverville, and noticed the ominous looking skies. We however were determined to reach our destination.(We may have to learn to stop when we can) When on the way there it began sprinkling which quickly turned into a downpour. The roads were in good condition and not too oily. I was worried for Zach as he had just got new tires not two days before, and with very low miles and not a lot of scrub time, we were in a downpour! I radioed back to him, and he replied that he felt completely secure on the new Dunlops and that they gave him “Much more feel.” than his previous tires. In fact he passed me through the wet turns just to prove his point. We arrived around 7pm in Weaverville, cold, thoroughly soaked, and tired; we ashamedly decided a hotel room was better than hypothermia.
VIDEO: Zach at his finest as seen through my visor. A quick clip from day 1.
Day 2 – No Cal has some Very hospitable and Friendly people.
He is such a nerd. Here we are in a beautiful campground right off the coast with a roaring warm fire, the sound of the Ocean and a view of the Redwoods in the distance; and he is inside the tent with his “command center” all set up. I approximate he has spent all of 20minutes outside of the tent since I put it up. But enough about the nerd who doesn’t know how to camp. And oh yah, leftover chocolate cake burns surprisingly well.
We started out of Weaverville around 9am when we stopped for gas at the nearest Chevron station; we met with 3 other guys who were filling up their bikes. There was Ron on a BMW 1200GSA, Chris on a V Strom and Marcus on a BMW 800GS. We introduced ourselves and the men looked over Zach’s bike in sheer curiosity. (He of course loved it) It turned out that the 3 of them were on a one week ride from Oregon to the redwoods where they would meet up with another rider. We asked if we could tag along for the ride and took off. These guys were no joke, they loved riding and it showed. All three were extremely kind, friendly and generous. After yesterday’s miserable ride, it was nice to find other riders who were so welcoming to have a hell of a stunning ride with. We rode 299 through some amazing country until we arrived at 101 where Ron bought us lunch when he heard of our $20 (between us both) a day food budget. Thanks Again Ron!! When they reached their turn off we thanked the guys again and headed off.
Zach and I headed north ever more to reach Crescent City and the Redwoods there. We arrived around 4.30; set up camp next to the Ocean and with a view of the redwoods. I think Zach could tell I was getting grumpy after 7 hours seat time, and graciously found a spot quickly. I parked next to him and quickly sank my bike in the soft ground. (Fortunately that bit was not caught on camera.) Where which we were offered(by Chris the owner) an extremely nice dinner at Good Harvest Café . It is an affordable quaint café on 101 with an extremely relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. I had the Fish Tacos (Cod) which were delicious and came with soup and salad. Zach had the Hot Pastrami Sandwich with soup. Both of our entrees were delectable and the staff and our server Natasha were welcoming and friendly.
When we returned, I quickly began gathering firewood, and kindling. When I began building my pyramid of wood inside of our fire ring, I noticed that the coals were still hot from whoever had camped before us. So I quickly began blowing on the kindling to coax the coals back to life. Zach could not believe I was about to build us a fire with old driftwood I found on the beach, with no matches or spark! (I think he thought I had watched too many survival shows.) As we sat around the fire we met our camp neighbors; an incredible couple from Germany who are living in Chile, and vacationing in the U.S. who were riders as well. They have ridden in Patagonia and showed us some beautiful photographs from all over South America. We chatted with them around a fire from around 6-9 when we both decided that tired and needing to rest we should retire to our tent.
“Yes the gift of chocolate cake from a stranger makes it all worth it.”
So tired; there is so much to do. It’s 2am on Friday night June 22nd and I’m stressing out. Even thought I have been planning this trip for two months I have only really been working at it full time for the last two weeks. Right now the process of filming the entire trip seems overwhelming. It’s so much harder than it seems for only two people to plan the filming, rigging, route, websites, social media, and find sponsors. I’m starting to envy the guys who have a staff and full film crew, but the goal here is to create something as real as possible. Because of that I guess I just have to deal with the stress. The last two weeks have been more about how to film it, the promotion of it, and acquiring sponsors than actually getting the bike ready. So here I am at 2am in a panic as I just now start to pack the bags on the bikes.
Better late than never is not how I wanted Saturday to start, however we did not roll out of Reno till noon. Listen to me. I sound like I’m complaining but actually I could not be more excited. This is it, the adventure is actually beginning. I’m embarking on the journey of filming my debut documentary and I could just burst with anticipation.
As if to play a cruel joke on my upbeat mood just a few miles out of Reno we ran into some wind. Then we ran into a lot of wind. 50mph gust tossing us around on the road and then wait for it, wait for it . . . we have rain. Yes it starting to rain but not too bad. The good thing is we only have about two hours more till we camp and the wind is dying down. Hopefully we ride past the rain.
Ok my hopes fell flat. We are pulling into Weaverville CA and it’s a downpour. It’s late, raining and the dusk seems to be night as the ominous dark clouds loom above. Now where is that campsite? Down this road, no, maybe this one? Ugg turn after turn we seem to be having no luck finding it and we are both cold and wet. This would probably be a good time to mention that we brought no rain gear. We just couldn’t fit it on the bikes with the camera gear and it’s June. Who would have thought it would be around 50 degrees and storming?
Ashamed O art thou. I can’t believe it; we are pathetic. I can’t believe I’m going to write that we gave into the weather on the first night and just stayed in a hotel but we did. This kills our budget and puts us about $50 over.
The budget; let me explain. So the plan is for only one hotel a week and to spend $20 in food combined a day. It’s going to be tight.
Sunshine oh how I do love thee! It’s Sunday morning and the sun is out. The plan is to head up to Cresent City, CA and see the Redwoods along the way. First however we need to fuel up. At the fuel station we meet three other motorcyclists out on an adventure. Ron the power company lineman, Marcus the airline pilot, and Chris the project manager for a glass company have become our new friends for the day and are on the road with us.
Lunch time and Ron has offered to buy us lunch. I said it at lunch and I’m saying it again “Thank You”. West to the coast, then north through the Redwoods as a small group we rode. Grand and humbling are simplistic ways to describe the scenery. The Redwoods are massive and it makes you feel so minor, so faint a mark on this planet compared to them.
We said fair well to our one day friends and continued into Cresent City to set up camp. I’m really looking forward to just relaxing with Amanda and calling it an early evening. It sound stupid, I know she’s right in front of me on her bike, and we are communicating over the Sena headsets but I miss her. The last three days have been long and exhausting. We have been on the road for almost 7hrs today. I guess I miss just looking into her eyes and having my time with her. I know, I know I’ll forgo the mushy stuff. After all this is a motorcycle trip damnit.
People rock! While checking into the camp ground Chris the owner of the local Good Harvest Café in ( 507 HWY 101 Cresent City, Ca) offered to buy us dinner. We took him up on the offer and the food and the service was excellent. It was quite the spot; seriously good food and atmosphere. Did I mention they had really good chocolate cake. People Rock!
It’s Sunday night and Amanda’s sitting by the fire writing her blog. Earlier she set up the tent, unpacked the bikes and started a fire without matches. I sat around eating chocolate. What? I’m not a camping kind of guy. I did watch her so that I can help out in the future. She so seems to love the outdoors. I’m missing a power outlet.
Later on in the evening we had some excellent conversation with Ulrich & Elke Witt who camped next to us. Turns out they have traveled the world and Ulrich has an adventure touring side business in South America. He showed us some of the photos from his journeys and they were awesome. After this adventure we need to find a way to get down there and ride along with him.
Oh darn! We just looked at the forecast for tomorrow and its showing rain, 80% chance of rain. Well off to bed and I guess tomorrow will be a challenge but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Actually it’s never too late for one last bit of chocolate. I wonder where Amanda put the rest of my chocolate cake? Hmm just one more taste before bed.