Pursuit Horizon | Pursuit Horizon | Blog 9 - Escape from Vegas and off to Zion
Pursuit Horizon Blog 9 - Oh Crap a violent storm. Vegas at 4am. Fatality warning signs; how can Z up the danger? Amanda's grimace.
Pursuit Horizon, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Heat Stroke, Zach Settewongse, Amanda Pollard



Pursuit Horizon Blog 9 – Escape from Vegas and off to Zion

15 Jul 2012, Posted by Zach of Pursuit Horizon in The Journey

Oh Crap a violent storm. Vegas at 4am; let’s ride. Fatality warning signs, hmm how can Z up the danger. Amanda’s grimace.


Amanda Pollard

Blog Post #9 Sick again, Harley Jay, and Angel’s Landing

It is Thursday and we are leaving Las Vegas a bit late, right around 5.45. The heat has settled down a bit and we are excited to get on the road. However we did not plan for traffic, and that is exactly what we hit. The temp is still around 100 and I’m starting to feel sick again already, I guess one day of recovery was not enough, but I decide I must tough it out. This is foolish. We pull over at a gas station after sitting in the heat and traffic for 30 minutes.  I’m starting to feel faint, so after a period of rest, we head back into town. I get off my bike while Z tries to find us a hotel. And promptly black out.  When I come to Z is slightly annoyed at spending more money on a hotel but is more concerned for me, and has found us a place to stay. We jump back on the bikes and get settled in.

4am Vegas is beautiful. The lighting is insane, especially the City Center.  We figured getting this early start would prevent me from getting sick. It did, temps are just right and we are thrilled to be out on the road again and out of the heat.

We arrive in Zion around 9am. Set up camp and head off to explore a bit. On the way we meet a guy on a Harley. Z quickly introduces himself and we invite him to camp with us. Jay Cupp is a 21 year old college kid who is out touring the US on a 2001 Harley Sportster. I’m not a Harley girl, but I do give Jay credit for rocking that thing over 5,000 miles!  Jay ended up hanging out with us and swapping stories for two days, and then headed back on his way. (God Speed Jay!)

Exploring Zion has been so relaxing. We hiked into the Virgin River in hope of reaching the Narrows, a famous photography spot, but as it had been a massive thunderstorm the night before, the water was high! We spent about 5 hours in the water, and scoped out places to shoot some footage. One place that we kept hearing about was a 1.5 mile tunnel further up the road, so around 9pm all three of us headed up.

The tunnel was fun and treacherous all in the same go. It was long, had a massive bend in it, and the concrete surface seemed like it had been polished by car tires that had carried in the sand from the main road, making it slick much like an ice skating rink. Z and I were playing around quite a bit because we liked filming our shadows, and failed to realize the end of the tunnel was coming up quickly.

I slammed on my rear brake and experienced the worst wheel chatter I have ever known. Quickly stepping off the rear brake and grabbing a handful of front, the wheel chatter dissipates, but now my front wheel is starting to tuck.  It feels like I am going to low side.  O shiz. So I let go of the front brake and give her just a bit of gas. Luckily I somehow held her up.

Well that got my heart going. 

And speaking of that, today we hiked to Angel’s Landing. Hiked is not an appropriate word for this. I don’t know what is but “hiked” does not imply the right amount of danger.  Angel’s Landing is a 1,400 foot tall spire that overlooks most of Zion Canyon, it is breathtaking. However if you are wearing shoes with no tread like my Puma running shoes, the sandstone that you climb becomes a death slide.  So off they come, and I climb up with Z a bit more. However when we reach Scout’s Lookout, I find my limit, and decide I am not pushing it any further as the “hike” becomes a virtual rock climb, with sheer cliffs and only a chain to stop one from falling.

Z gladly hikes on, as I sit under the tree and watch. He decides this climb should only take him 10 minutes, when it should take him more like 30 if he is cautious. But Z has got this time in his head, so he starts running, yes running, up this thing. I just peak every now and again. Hoping I won’t see him go flying……




Zachary Settewongse

Blog – 9 A bit long but a lot happened.

I love the big cities but this week things have slowed down and it feels good. But wait before we get into the last three days let me get you up to date on a few random items.

Power and Internet – In Zion there are no outlets or Wi-Fi at the campsites. Over the next weeks this is going to be our biggest challenge.

Every Last Bite – When you look at our plates now they are clean. I have noticed since we are tight on budget I haven’t wasted a single bite. However it feels like I’m always hungry.

My bike is just too FAT – I went through everything and got rid of about 15lbs. I’m still frustrated its still too heavy and I don’t know what to get rid of.  I really afraid that when we hit the Trans American trail and the journey turns off road it will be me that has the issue; not Amanda. I’m worried that with the excessive weight I’ll fall over and damage the bike. Even more so I’m worried about injuring a knee or leg with such a heavy bike.

Money; where is it going? – We are just starting week four and we are about $500 over budget. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it up. Stressed that things may continue to be more expensive than planned and we may run out of money just as we start on our way back.  California was just crazy expensive. We are budgeted for sharing a $5.00 Subway sub and free water. Everything in CA seemed to cost $20-30. Today we ate breakfast in Zion and are just having a piece of fruit for dinner. Even that maxed out our $20 a day. I’m stressed but what can I do.

Vegas almost turned DISASTROUS! – July 11-12 we stopped in Vegas to try and bring a little publicity to the new Triumph dealership. Freedom Cycles – Triumph of Las Vegas. The plan was for the store to have opened the week before we arrived and we were going to camp inside the store. However the dealership was behind schedule due to issues beyond their control. So there was really nothing to do there. Brad and Mark the owners put us up for the night. Yeah no money spent.

We tried to leave Vegas the next evening and there was a massive storm as we left. The wind and blinding sand made it almost impossible to ride in. Amanda was suffering bad from the previous days heat exhaustion and it was well over 100 degrees. It looked like she was getting overheated again and we are riding into what looked like a serious storm. I was struggling with my bike and I could see her really being blown about on the road. I seriously want to just to get to Zion 3hrs away. Where am I going to get money for a hotel if we turn back. Ahh F*%! it seriously bad now and we are only about 15min out of Vegas. I can see Amanda starting to cry with frustration in her helmet and I know she’s feeling mild heat stroke again. I love danger, the more the better; I want to just go into it. If it turns out were stranded on the side of the road trapped by the storm awesome; it will make for a better film. If it was only me I would have but I can’t ask Amanda to put herself in a dangerous situation. She would have followed me, I’m sure of it, but only to please me, not because she wanted to. Her safety is most important so I decide we need to turn around. It was the right choice as 10 minutes back the other way we pulled over and she got sick again from heat exhaustion. Back to the hotel; put it on the card.

Only one good thing about Vegas – I woke up Amanda at 4am to go ride thought the empty streets of Vegas after a the thunderstorm. We both loved it and we finally had some fun and got some great footage.

Finally out of the heat – Into Zion we go and I couldn’t be happier; the last three days just kind of sucked.

Please camp with us – Zion is beautiful and the camping here is cheap. After we rush to beat the rain and set up our tent we started to walk up to the park entrance. Our plan was to leave our card and a note with the ranger letting them know that any other motorcyclist were welcome to stay at our campsite for free. You see we have been pulling up to one camp site after another that is full and been asking people to share a space. We keep getting shunned, over and over again. Really I just don’t get it; some people do suck.

On our way to the ranger station we see a bike riding into the campgrounds, extend our offer and we meet a kid who is on an adventure of his own. Jay Cobb riding his older Harley set out to ride the western US on his college break and have an adventure of a lifetime before rushing into the stresses of adulthood. He was truly on a tight budget and riding alone but obviously he got it. He was doing what most people go their whole lives wishing they could do.

Zion, hike up a river, walk on a cliff 1400ft cliff face; yup awesome. So the hike up the Narrows was cool but it is literally hiking up a river, a rocky river. So beautiful but painful on the feet. There was the excitement of carrying all my camera gear over my head in chest high water while praying I didn’t fall.

Onto the cool stuff –  Angles Landing is a 5.1 mile hike straight up the side of the canyon. The last half mile you are on top of the cliff face and assent almost vertical on slippery sandstone with just a chain hold here and there. I keep asking people coming down how long it took to get up. The consensus is 30 minutes. Amanda has decided she has gone far enough.  I decide at that point the new goal will be to ascend the last half mile sheer cliff face in under 10 minutes. After some debate with Amanda about this while she ironically was standing in front of a “There are fatalities here often, be careful” sign I set off; she grimaces. Now going slow this climb really isn’t that crazy. Yeah it’s dangerous and really frickin steep but not life threatening. Now trying to run up it, hmm that was fun. At about 8min into it I was breathing hard but could see the top. Oh Yeah in just a hair under 10 minutes I make it to the top; film a bit and head down. Half way down I set the camera up and run up a steep section again for the film; feeling good. Ok now I’m almost down and I start to really feel over exerted. Damn I’m out of water, sweating profusely, and starting to stumble a bit. OK take a few deep breaths, I’m fine; activate super Asian stamina. Whoa just missed that reach for the chain, almost fell, hmm concentrate, go slow. I’m down but I’m exhausted. Amanda has a non pleasing look on her face. I made it in 10 minutes, I made it in 10 minutes, I chant. OK so nobody cares but me. Ya know what I’m stoked about it and feeling smug. So I did something stupid dangerous and lived, awesome day!




  • Brae Hulery

    Beautiful Pictures, Can’t wait to see the video!

  • miguelitoh2o

    Hi guys. I’m the guy whose bike you strapped your camera to for the ride through the tunnel at Zion NP and a bit beyond. Unfortunately I intersected with a drunk driver aweek or so later, spent 19 days in the hospital, had my spleen removed. All’s well now, and have ridden my repaired bike back to Mexico where I live. Hope you had a great trip.


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