Photography by: Jordan Jasa, Dylan Kasson, Tyler Wheeland, Collin Snoek, Issac Miller, Jona Humbel, Tom Kvilhaug & Josh Smukal. Copywriting by: Jordan Jasa & Chris Martin.
It was early July when the crew assembled for the first leg of the bus trip. A few left from Grand Rapids while the others were set to fly into Nashville. After a wild July 4th night, Jona and Jordan joined Tyler, Issac, Tom, Dylan, and Josh while Collin caught a flight back to the warehouse. The start was marked by rain, but the boys went straight into filming as soon as they could. Jona started things off with a quick trick over a 2 flat 2 into a hill bomb, as a few locals held up traffic in exchange for a couple tall cans. Showing us around was Tristan Miller and Benton Oberholtzer. After the sun went down we headed back to Jessies place, a homie Tyler knew from his motorcycle travels. Big shoutout to her for the hospitality!
Thursday and Friday consisted of doing our best to ride and film despite the hellish temperatures and humidity. On the whole it was pretty productive- despite getting the kickout on a few spots, we all managed to land some tricks. One highlight was Issac sending it on this crazy waterfall/rainbow rail- he got bucked off his first attempt, in what looked like a KO-style crash, but after running it out he came back and landed it 2nd try. Big sheesh.
We only had 1 Vx to film with, so Christian was supposed to overnight another on Wednesday so it would arrive Thursday. But, as our luck would have it, it did not arrive. Nor did it arrive Friday, or Saturday. As luck would have it again, the VX we were using decided to break on Friday. After a long afternoon deciding what to do (including a very serious inquiry into rigging up some ghetto screen, as it was the ribbon cable for the viewfinder that was torn, which meant we wouldn't be able to see what we were filming.) we decided to spend one more night in Nashville and send it to our next stop, St Louis the next day.
Since we didn't have a working camera, Tristan showed us the local swimming hole where the boys got some relief from the scorching sun. This was supposed to be a rope swing with a beach area, but the creek had risen and eroded quite a lot of the banks. So while it was a bit precarious, you already know Dylan was gonna set up his camera in the water to get a shot of the boys hitting the rope swing. Have to mention Smukal as well, carrying his camera setup in hand while wading through waist high water to get to the spot. Risky business.
So, with confirmation that we wouldn't be getting the new VX, it was decided that Jessi would send it to Denver when it arrived at her place. We started driving to St Louis, stopping a truck stop for the night and making the rest of the drive in the morning. Our first stop was to ride a newer skatepark while Dylan attempted to fix the VX. Neither of these were accomplished, as the skater who apparently built the park was there and immediately told us scooters weren't allowed. Since it was like 100 degrees, we weren't too bummed and Issac and Jona had a board to shred on anyway. Dylan also confirmed it was our ribbon cable that was torn, so fixing it without a new cable was out of the question.
We had a scheduled ride day at Ramp Riders indoor park, and rolled up without knowing what to expect. Quite a nice sized group of kids were already there, rushing out as soon as they saw the bus, ready to get some signatures and photos. It's always awesome to see the kids hyped! So we threw some helmets on and Tyler immediately ate shit trying a curved wallride. Smukal filmed a few clips of everyone and we sweated out 10 gallons of water each. After a few more group photos and signing some kids vape, we packed it back up to ride spots. We rode a school Tom and Jordan had been to 4 years ago, and in that time it had been shut down and become even crustier. Since we weren’t using a VX, Smukal got some HD clips of everyone to use in the documentary he was shooting. After a while there, a guy came out and kicked us out. There was a construction crew there, apparently turning it into condos. He said he owned the place, but was super cool about it.
The thing about the VX issue was that while we couldn't see what we were filming, if you know how to set it up properly it’s not actually necessary to look into the viewfinder. Since we had no other option, besides for HD clips, this is what we did. We could only film fisheye though, since we wouldn’t know how to frame a long lens shot or be able to zoom. We spent a couple days in St Louis filming this way, and as it later turned out, the clips were usable! It reminded us of shooting photos with film cameras, how you don’t get to see what the shot looks like until it’s developed.
We asked on Instagram if anyone would be able to let us park the bus at their house and use their shower in STL, and Sam Fischer came through so clutch, opening up his home for us all to stay. Fidget spinner tricks, Xbox, doggos, and good vibes were all a part of Hotel Fischer. One afternoon after riding, Sam took us to a strange little subdivision/community that had a manmade lake we could swim in. It looked like a huge movie set, and it ended up being an awesome way to end the day. We swam, TomK cooked up an awesome pasta meal, Josh got some good shots for the doc, and we headed back to Sam’s for the night. Thanks again for the hookup Psycho!
The last night of leg 1 consisted of driving to Kansas City, where Jona and Jordan would be dropped off the following morning to the airport. We parked at a trusty Walmart parking lot, setting up right next to another reno’d bus (bus brothers!) with some crazy buffalo skull attached to the front of it. Josh did a couple interviews with Jona and Jordan for the doc, and we proceeded to stay up way too late and make too much noise. Woops. So we woke up, dropped the boys off at the airport, then made the drive to Denver for Leg 2.