Just Another Day in the Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has many beautiful roads that cut through lush forested areas. Bombing down them is just one of the many perks of living in this area. Outside of Portland, there is an amazing gem of a road with butter smooth pavement and fast sweeping corners to tight righty hairpins. For a while, I’ve considering photographing it, but it is difficult to do so. It’s so dark under the canopy of trees and any light that does filter through appears too bright in a photo. This is another reason why not many Go Pro videos have been made of it. This is probably a good thing as it is sometimes a bust with the local law enforcement. It’s also fast and dangerous so the fewer people know about it, the better. Recently, I did take some photos at a session with some friends from the Portland area. Enjoy.
The riders at this session were Alex Tongue, Alicia Fillback, Colby Looney, Emmet White, and Noah Throckmorton. My old housemate Zach Rieder was there too, but he was nursing an injury so he shuttled with Colby’s truck. We took a few runs. While I was photographing on a corner, I had a “concerned citizen” driving up the hill, stop in her lane and say what was on her mind. We shuttled to the top and waited for a while in case she called the police on us.
We chatted at the top until it seemed clear and took a few more runs. I made some pretty cool photos and we had had a few good runs, so we decided to call last run. That was probably our mistake. Zach and I drove down ahead so that I could set up for a shot, Alex and Alicia also drove their cars down to the bottom to roll out from there. As we were driving down, I noticed a van at a pullout spot on the road. I tried calling Noah’s phone to alert his group of it as a potential hazard, as it wasn’t there while we drove up. Noah’s phone was in Alex’s car so I couldn’t alert the group. They waited for a while and started down the hill. When they passed by the pullout spot, the van was no longer there. My suspicions were validated when Noah, Emmet, and Colby were riding down and they came up on the van. Noah shut down and the others slid to a stop and waited a while for their route to be clear. I was waiting farther down the hill and the van passed by me. A short time after that, Noah, Emmet, and Colby came in sight and I snapped these shots.
Only a bit farther down the road is a fast left corner that is blind and sneaks up on you. As fate would have it, the same van was parked halfway in the road doing God knows what. Noah was significantly in front of the group and moving fast and decided to throw a slide at the last minute. As he slid towards the back of the van, he thought he was going to break some bones. He ended up kicking the back right wheel of the van with his toes and sliding down the ditch. He scraped up his helmet and arms, and got a deep gash in his elbow that he could stick his finger inside. The driver said, “I didn’t see you coming,” and asked if he was alright. Then, he drove off.
We all drove to the bottom and Noah did some emergency cleaning of his wound. Noah’s crash changed our plans and so we split up for the rest of the day. The last I talked to him, he said he didn’t get stitches. Honestly, he was lucky that he walked away with what he did. Whatever precautions he took leading to that extreme moment saved his life. On that note: check your nuts, ride within your abilities, wear safety gear, stay in your lane, err on the side of safety, etc. Your life depends on it.