Ride of a Lifetime, Motocrosser’s First Trip to Moab

“Won’t we die if we ride there?” – Jeff Tunnell

I’ve talked to my dad about ideas covering all sorts of topics on pretty much a daily basis for my entire life.  Some days he is all fired up on some awesome new idea, some days I am.  Like I said the topics range from anything to everything.  Most of these ideas never see the light of day, some of the un-executed ones probably would have ended up being worth billions if any action was taken on them at the time, but you only have so many resources.

One time I said I was going to buy a u haul cut a hole in the side of it mount a generator bolt down speakers and create a mobile stage, then use it to break into music festivals and play wherever we want, less than 3 years later I was on MTV and raging tours with bands like Slayer and Slipknot.  One time he told me he was going to disrupt the software industry he helped create by creating a system that allowed anyone to make games, 3 years later mission accomplished industry disrupted and the entire process is changed forever for everyone.

So……think of it as us throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks, we have a lot of shit still stuck to that wall, and even more shit slid down to the floor.  So there are times we look up at the shit on the wall and say, “you know what, we should really do that”.

Raging to live was one of those pieces of shit stuck to the wall, my dad threw it up there.  It had been there for a couple years as maybe being some sort of lifestyle blog or something like that.  It’s one of those pieces of Shit that never really slides down the wall vs time based stuff like ideas for the early internet, all those had slid down to the floor long ago which became re-constituted into other attempts at making the shit sticky, know what I mean?

I spent the last 20 years playing music, before that though I raced motocross and snowboarded.  The music career was so intense I never had the time to focus on doing anything else, mainly because I didn’t want to get hurt and have to cancel a tour.  I didn’t realize it at the time and me and my band mate always said music saved our lives, kept us out of prison, got out this aggression that there was no other way to get out.  In reality though what we were getting out of it was not a release of aggression, but an infusion of adrenaline, which under the influence of adrenaline(and alcohol and drugs) it’s easy to forget about the things in life that cause aggression.

So the entire time I was playing music without riding motorcycles or snowboarding I was thinking I was just getting out this hatred I had for the world, when in reality the reason I could “rage” it so hard is I was replacing the adrenaline rush from motocross with the adrenaline rush of music.  With motocross though in order to get the maximum adrenaline rush you have to put your body at serious risk(doing the triple, jumping over people, being crazy and out of control).  With music…..there are no consequences, full throttle, full adrenaline.  And it is strange because in order to harness this unlimited supply of adrenaline in music the depths of your brain believe you are actually trying to kill yourself, you are pushing yourself past the point of what your body thought was physically possible, like a triathlete, so it produces more adrenaline in an endless feedback loop so during your performance you start punching yourself in the head to get even more of it feeling no pain until you drive 500 miles and do it again the next day.

This is why so many musicians get so into drugs and alcohol, because you can’t physically perform 24 hours a day, so when you are not performing you are spending the other 23 hours searching for that rush, which especially when you are in a record contract you can’t go hurting yourself on a motorcycle, so you choose all the free drugs and alcohol the system provides you.  With every year that went by though I grew further away from the drugs and alcohol, where now in order to play a show all I need is a pitcher of water and a slice of pizza, maybe a joint.

Problem is though we’re 40 now and not playing nearly as many shows because the world is just not the same as it used to be, the system is different.  Once I realized it didn’t matter if I got hurt I decided to ride a motorcycle for the first time in about 20 years by just going straight up to the local motocross track practice day.  My dad who used to ride as well was like lol have fun that’s a dumb idea don’t get hurt, and I was like….it doesn’t matter if I do.

So I went to the track, he came and watched, then I raced the next weekend and he came and watched, still not wanting to ride again.  Then the next practice day he walked the track saw the dirt up close and just said fuck it I’m doing it.  A few rides later were talking new bike new gear going to the track every week, both of us racing motocross until someone died at the track and we kind of stopped the track racing.

We dabbled in some trail riding, still went to practices at the track on occasion, then I wrecked in a corner at the local track and broke 8 ribs, sternum, shoulder and took some time off.  Never really got back into going to the track much, then it was winter time and we both had gotten back into snowboarding as well so it was time to switch to winter sports.  It actually turned out to be the best winter on record here for like over 50 years such an amazing season.

It started off slow though, I wasn’t planning on snowboarding 50 times that season, but I also was getting really out of shape and started actually working out every day.  I say “actually” because working out isn’t something I do, working is what I do, and if working isn’t a workout then you aren’t working hard enough.  It had started snowing and I had a $299 season pass to the local mountain, so I figured instead of working out every day I would just snowboard every day.  Sure it’s an hour and a half drive every day each way but what else am I going to do?  Smoke weed on the couch and eat nachos?

Ok I didn’t go every day, the mountain was only open 5 days a week, but on average I went 5 days a week all season somewhere.  I re-connected with one of my best friends Scott, who is a master of everything snow and moto related, like seriously.  While I spent 20 years in a band this dude kept shredding the gnar and knows his way around the great outdoors better than you ever will, he is a human GPS and has balls as big as the extra large cage free eggs.

One day around the middle of March Scott said he was going to Moab, Utah for his yearly riding adventure and asked me if I wanted to go with them.  I didn’t have much going on and was pretty sure I was in, but also wanted to see if “the rest of the crew” was down.  The next day I was meeting my dad at Willamette Pass, we met at the bottom and got on the lift.

“Remember the piece of shit on the wall in the living room next to the top left corner of the tv that’s been there for awhile?” I asked before the lift even came around

“The one that looks like Bruce Spreensteen?” He asked as the chair almost knocked us both over

“Yeah been stuck there for awhile hasn’t slid down the wall one bit real solid idea” I say as the chair swings back and forth

“Oh yeah Raging to Live, what about it?” He says as the swinging slows down

“Well I’ve been thinking(about everything I wrote about earlier) and we should really do this shit now because we talk about it all the time and(I explained how he is doing the exact same thing as me in a different way) and we should really start documenting everything” I said as we then began jerking eachother off and going back and forth with ideas, there’s shit all over the place sticking to the pylons and some sliding down and hitting people or missing the pylon completely.  Just a complete brown stain all the way down the run below the lift from bottom to top.  And then with him all fired up to rage to live I asked the question…..want to go to Moab next week?

At that point of “business plan masturbation” I don’t think anyone would have had the capacity to reply “no” to that question, so I got a 3 second pause followed by a resounding “fuck yes”.  We then got off the lift and he proceeded to discover just how amazing Nidecker snowboards were and it was on to figuring out how this trip to Moab was going to happen in under two weeks.

Figuring no one else we know could pull off such a last minute expedition half way across the country I waited a few days then texted our friend Dave who I figured would say no, but does have the most flexible schedule.  I got a “give me a day” and was pretty surprised actually.  One day later Dave was in and was going to meet us there and travel with his wife in a Sprinter van.  You will meet Dave later in this story, he is a master of all wheeled sports, he stays away from the snow but you will find him in the 50+ class riding more laps and doing all the jumps even I won’t do in my younger age of 40, I’m going to have to give him just the large eggs though as you will discover later in this story when we get to Moab, “tour guide Scott” has the largest eggs hands down.

The photo makes this look easy, but this downhill is a cliff. You can always get down though. Coming back up, not do easy!

 

Now we had to figure out the when, Scott was going with his motorhome and 2 other people(his son Fisher and friend Isaiah, more on them later) for a week straight camping in the desert.  We opted to snowboard in Park City for a couple days, then go to Moab for a few days, then head home and maybe snowboard more on the way, because the snow was insane and the season was magical, kill 2 birds with one stone kind of thing.

So now that we had our plan and our dates we had to scramble to acquire all the last minute items you need to travel for a week while also starting a brand by documenting an insane once in a lifetime adventure, shouldn’t be too hard.  It was somewhat reminiscent of this quote from Fear and Loathing.

“Getting hold of the drugs and the shirts had been no problem….but the car and tape recorder were not easy things to round up at 6:30 on a Friday afternoon in Hollywood” – Duke

A solid week of a constant flow of Amazon delivery drivers and UPS trucks storming the driveway throwing boxes on the porch.  Everything from cameras drones mounts tents backpacks sleeping bags lights gloves goggles snowboard racks black plastic for kx skid plates brake guards extra levers air filters tools….and a fresh pair of OG LBZ baggy pants

There wasn’t even time to figure out how to use all the new cameras or drone, only time to charge them up, initial setup, and load in the Jeep Gladiator.

With everything loaded up on (March 27(not sure)) we headed out for our own version of a Peruvian ayahuasca journey, to find ourselves and figure out how to integrate video cameras into documenting trail rides while seeing what the southeastern Utah desert was all about.

About the author

Born in the early 80’s, I have been riding since motorcycles had kickstarters on them. I put in a fairly solid young motocrosser “career” of taking racing seriously from about the ages of 11-21. After realizing making a living in motocross would be near impossible I hung up the helmet and tried my hand at music. Somehow that actually worked and led to 15 years of being able to play music almost every day.