When I was a wee lad, my parents used to drag my sister and I on road trips all about this great country. From Death Valley, California to Destin, Florida, I really did get to see and experience a great deal of this country before I was the age of 15. I didn’t really understand the appeal of it then. The long hours on the road, the journey, the destination. The three CD’s my parents would cycle in and out. The music of Annie Lennox, Tubular Bells, and Enigma, forever etched into the folds of my memory. Even to this day I can still recite the lyrics of Lennox’s “Walking On Broken Glass” better then I can recite my multiplication tables, but that’s neither here nor there. The open road became a second home for my sister and I. We grew up out there amongst the altitude of the great Sierras, the dry heat of the central plains, the arching coast to coast telephone lines set amongst the backdrop of a blue sky. So while most of me will always be plugged into my metropolis by the sea, there is still a portion of my consciousness that longs to be back out there amongst the sleeping semi’s of the Flying J truck stops, the abandoned grain elevators of the golden sea, and the double yellow line that strings together your point A’s to B’s.
When I first got off the phone with the Maryhill Ratz main man, Deano Ozuna, I was buzzing with excitement. The warm realization slowly sinking in, my mind racing, I was going to Maryhill. It was a downhill skate documentarians proverbial dream of dreams. Not only was I going to be adventuring to the one and only Maryhill, I was going to be adventuring there to document the first ever all girls freeride, aka, The Maryhill She-Ride. It was what I wager Charlie Bucket felt like when he first got his mitts on one of Wonka’s Golden Tickets. A jubilant verbal outcry of elation, a real ‘jump up and click your heels’ kinda feeling. With only three weeks to prep and work to be done, the rapture soon settled down into anxiousness. I was going to Maryhill, and it was going to be awesome.
We left after our crew had wet our downhill whistles on some of the magical runs of Malibu. Stuffing all of our belongings for the next 7 days into Rachel Bruskoff’s dusty little silver Toyota Matrix. After some GPS fan-dangling we were off, out on the open road and on our way to Goldendale Washington some nine-hundred and seventy miles away.
Our first day of driving took us all the way up to Grants Pass, Oregon. We arrived in town at a Shell station at roughly 3:30am to refill the Matrix with go-juice and plot out where we were to end up crashing that evening. Overwhelmed by hunger and driving fatigue, our crew was in dire straits. Alas, the kindness of strangers still amazes me, as Caitlin Yong convinced Grants Pass local Josh Rush to ever so kindly put us up in a local Motel 6 for the night. Placing our full trust in the currency of skate, the trade-off was an agreed skate session with their crew in the morning before debarking on the second leg of our Maryhill bound journey. After a fitting hodge-podge road trip breakfast of coffee and panini’s, our crew linked up with a few of the locals for some fun neighborhood freeriding.
With the morning slowly melting away into the mid-afternoon, we bid the Grants Pass locals our sincere thanks for their kindness and stoke, and hit the road to reel in the remaining four hundred miles to Goldendale. It was around 7:00pm when we crossed over the bridge into Washington. We had planned to camp at a spot called Peach Beach along the banks of the Columbia River, but soon found the campsite to be full. After a period of brief confusion resulting from darkness and being in a place you’ve never been to before, we linked up with a few of the Five Mile homies on their way in. They, in turn, led us about two miles down a rocky dirt road to a small outcropping of trees just along the water’s edge. Base camp Five Mile was a wonderfully welcoming sight: Tents, beers, and longboards. We were home, we were at Maryhill.
The road is a magical place. Things happen out there that force you to forego the average, the ordinary. You adopt a sort of life that becomes more purpose built. Life on the road is lean, necessary. The journey becomes intertwined with the overall destination. A real sort of Yin and Yang of the whole traveling experience. There was an eye-opening moment of clarity that I encountered on this trip that I won’t be able to fully convey to you. There are idiosyncrasies and things that happen on the road that can’t be summarized or photographed; they can only be experienced and felt in that moment. On this trip, I learned that the journey is something to be savored, and that the open road will forever be a sacred place.
Rachel Bruskoff, Caitlin Yong, Nancy Luu, and Paige Marsicano will return with friends in… The Maryhill She-Ride: The Destination
A very special thanks to Caitlin Yong for her networking skillz, the locals of Grants Pass, and Josh Rush.
Be sure to check out the full list of photos from both Maryhill She-Ride Days on Flickr: