January 7, 2014

Lot Lizards at Mt. Bachelor

The forced air furnace kicked on with a whir, blasting hot air into my camper. It was still dark.  Another hour or two until sunrise.  Laying back down I grabbed a pillow and covered my eyes.  Predawn light lit the camper and I pulled my upper body out of my mummy bag.  The high pitched chug of  two stroke engines bounced off a distant hillside as a crew of snowmobilers headed out into the backcountry.  Rolling over,  I opened the Velcro window and peered out.  It was clear, and probably in the low 20′s.  Turning up the thermostat,  I slid into a sitting position on my bed and reached for my rubber boots.

Cracking the side door, I poked my head out and looked around.  Swinging the door the rest of the way open, I stepped down on to the hard packed combination of snow and ice.  A line of campers in various forms parked north to south against the snowbank.  Walking around the back of my camper,  I noticed a layer of ice underneath the curtain. “Must have been cold.. I haven’t seen ice there before,” I thought to myself.  In a few hours,  the Mt. Bachelor parking lot would be full of its fair share of Subarus and Volvos, but for now, it was empty.

Looking over at the back of Tim Eddy’s camper, a Ford ranger wearing a Four Wheel Camper parked next to mine, I noticed the same ice on his windows. Tim is a professional snowboarder that lives in a 200 square foot cabin he made with his girlfriend in Truckee, California and often snowboards with crazy fleece hats.  Here’s a photo of him in action.  Pulling my ungloved hand from my pocket, I rapped on the gold glass window.

“Tim,  you awake man?”

“Carpe CARVE Brother!  Carpe CARVE,” Tim bellowed with his signature exuberance.

I broke in to laughs. “I’m going to get some hot water going in a few.  Want some coffee?

“I’m already working on my matte. Thanks though, I’ll come over in a few.”

Suited and booted.

Bryan Box and Austin Smith chewing the fat.  Check out their Drink Water project here.

Scotty warming up in the front seat.

Whitney built this camper out her self and has spent the better part of three years living in it.  It has a marine stove, bed for one and a 4×4 conversion.

The way to Mt. Bachelor.

For mote photos,  checkout Start of Winter on Adobe Revel.

Defrosting.

Shred sleds.

Kyle Shwartz and his Toyota Tundra with a Four Wheel Camper.

Alex Yoder and his Toyota Tundra with a Hallmark Camper.

Tim Eddy and his Ford Ranger with a Four Wheel Camper.

Scotty Wittlake and his Toyota Tacoma camper with an ARE top.

Whitney Bell and her converted Ford Camper Van.

The propane stove hissed on and with a flick of the lighter, the small blue flame illuminating the still dark camper.  Reaching for faucet, I filled the kettle and placed it on the burner.  The heat from the stove warmed the air.  Looking down at my watch to check the time, I noticed the date,  December 14th.  Today was my 750th morning on the road since August of 2011.  Time Flies. I thought to myself as I sifted through the a cabinet looking for my Aeropress.

“Rap rap rap,”  The side door of my camper vibrated.

“You in there Foster?”  Scotty asked.

“Yah man.  Come in and grab some coffee.”

Here are some more links,

Start of Winter (Adobe Revel).

December 22, 2012

BC or Bust Part 1

Keeping my eyes on the empty 101,  I retrieved my iPhone from my camera bag and tapped the top button, illuminating the screen.  10:13.

“How are you guys doing?” I asked Jeremy Koreski and Trevor Gordon.  ”I’m pretty spent.”

Waking from a doze,  Trevor spoke over the syncro’s highway noise, “How far are we from Crescent City?”

“Hhmm,  maybe four hours?  We just passed Garbville,  the pot capital of the world, and we’re still a few hours from the coast.”

“Yah, lets call it,” Jeremy agreed.

“Cool, I’ll look for a place.  We are in National Forrest now, gods country.”  I turned down the heater, in attempt to keep me from nodding off at the wheel.

A few miles a head,  I spotted a gravel road heading off the highway on the right.  Down shifting, I breaked and prepared to take the gravel road at speed.

“Shit..Is everything okay?” Startled, Jeremy moaned from the backseat.

“Don’t worry,  this is not my first rodeo,” I laughed as we bounced up the steep grade, coasting down from 60 to 35mph.

“You sure this is Kosher?  What kind of road is this?”

“Ehh it looks like a logging road.  It’s in really good condition,” I surmised looking at the well worn tire tracks. For a mile or two, we rumbled up the steep grade in second.  Along the way, we passed a few drive ways with gates and “No trespassing” signs.  This raised some redflags, but I kept my mouth shut.  In northern California,  these signs, when coupled with large gates on dead end access roads, often indicated a thriving local economy.  Marijuana cultivation.  They proprietors are notoriously paranoid and often chase people away from their property with friendly serving of rocksalt courteous a 12 gage shotgun.   I wanted none of this but after a full day of surfing Ocean Beach in San Francisco, I could have fallen asleep at an Insane Clown Possie concert.

Spotting a large shoulder out on the right, I pulled over.

“This should be good,” I told Trevor and Jeremy as well as myself.  Rocking between first and reverse, I found a level spot and turned off the van.

Crawling over camer bags,  surfboards and food for three for a week, I cleared space for three on the folding bed.

“It’s going to be real cozzie tonight,”  Jeremy laughed.

“Sure is, either that or one of us sets up a tent, and it sure as fuck wont be me.”

No one volunteered and within a few moments, the three of us were laying down.  Pillow talk was scarce and in a few minutes all over us were snoring.

Trevor on the six string early one morning.

Equipped to rip!

Trevor and Joe Curren checking waves on the Northern California Coast.

Welcome.

Joe searching for steelhead in Oregon.

Coffee stand.

Kanoa Zimmerman removing a stick from his truck at Ocean Beach.

Laying it out plain and simple.

Howling off shore somewhere on the southern Oregon Coast.

Unmuffled engine breaking started down the logging road before sunrise.  Rapping a fleece around my head like bandana, I prolonged the inevitable  separation from my sleeping bag.

“Rise and shine, its buttwhipping time!”  I announced to Trevor and Jeremy.

 Grumbling, we emerged from our sleeping bags and set t he van up for transport.  Firing up engine, we headed down the gravel road towards the 101.

“We’ll be in Arcata by lunch.”

Here are some links,

BC or Bust (Cleanest Line).

June 27, 2012

Just off the Jet

“I gotta see what vanlife is all about.”

“Yes you do man,  you’ll love it.”  

Our plans came together last minute.  With three days notice, Phil bought a round trip ticket from Newark to Portland.  Escaping from the confines of a late spring in New York, the idea was to show him what the Northwest had to offer in a vanlife crash course.  I picked up Phil a little after noon on a Tuesday, and we headed east into the Columbia River Gorge.

An ode to Lewis and Clark on the Columbia River.

Whatcha liken?

Glass off.

Shred sticks of yesteryear.

Blaze is a Ford Ranger.

Cascade Lakes.

Burned out snag.

Bench seats.

Frigid.

Beaver.

Burned out.

After three days of relitively pleasant weather for early spring,  the weather turned south.  Rainstorms that felt more like November than June marched in one after another.  The temperature dropped.

“Do you want to fly out of San Francisco?  I need to head that way anyway, and it would be easy to drop you off at SFO.”

“I’d be into that.  Cali calls.”

“Plus we can get out of this rain.  It will be nice down there.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Just like that our plans changed.  Instead of hanging around Oregon for another four days,  we headed south over the Cascades towards Cave Junction and the 101 in Northern California.

Here are some more links,

South With Phil (Facebook),

Award Tour.

June 21, 2012

River Otters

The sound of overflowing whitewater cut through the densely wooded forest  long before the single track trail led down to the stream.  Walking in our wetsuits,  we moved quickly,  hoping to avoid unnecessary conversations with hikers about our clothing choices and plans to scramble up a high flow stream.

Sliding down the steep banks, we rested on the narrow shore.  Staring at the clear flowing water in anticipation, I pulled the hood flap over my head and secured the zipper of my 4/3 wetsuit on my chest.  Tim and Spencer followed suit,  tightening their hoods around their faces.  Stepping into my knees,  the cold water rushed through a slit in my left bootie.

“Ohhh yahh, it’s cold,”  I said moving further towards the base of a small waterfall.  ”You guys ready?”

Reluctantly,  Spencer and Tim followed suit,  wading into surging stream.

“Bro..this is frio,” Spencer said in exaggerated, Socal surfing fashion. “What do you think the temp is?”

“Ughh maybe mid 40′s,  It’s always warmer than you actually think it is.”

“It’s pretty fucking cold,” Tim added.

Taking the plunge,  I dove forward in the chest deep water.  The cold attacked my sinuses and forced me to surface and gasp.

 ”Shit.  Maybe it’s low forties.”

Keeping our heads above water,  we moved upstream towards the first set of rapids.  Taking turns,  we tried to climb the small waterfalls.  Taking others failures and success as examples we slowly made our way up the stream.

Taking a break from shooting with film,  I took these on my 5d Mark II and an underwater housing.

Wet feet.

As kids, Tim and I hiked the trails by this stream and watched its changing flows.

Cairn Culture.

My brother and I accessing the next obstacle.

Spencer making his way across a shallow section.

“There’s no way we are getting up that,” I said, pointing towards a 12 foot raging waterfall.

“Not happening,” Tim agreed.

Looking up the narrow canyon towards a log jam,  my mind immediately raced, imagining a catastrophic failure of the make shift damn.  A wall of water the height of a refrigerator would charge down the canyon.  Accelerated by the occasional log,  I imagined bouncing down the canyon like a pinball before being deposited on the bank.  That wouldn’t end well.  Looking up and down the walls, I eyed an escape route from the hypothetical flood.  There were none.  Sheer cliffs covered in moss,  extended some 20 feet up towards the canope of the various evergreens.  The only way out of the canyon was back the way we came.

“You guys ready to head back?”

“Yah I’m over it,” Tim said in a tone that could have been explained by a similar conclusion about the surging pile of logs at the mouth of the canyon.

“Lets go.”

Here are some more links,

River Otter (Facebook).