Something new is coming...Crossing Lines (2024)
Last week, something inspired me to want to post on social about some of my hardships and learnings in making the documentary, The High (IDMb page), in 2014. The post was inspired in part by how far I have come and in part because I have been working hard on a new project one that is going to be bigger and better than anything I have done to date!
Left to right: California Fires, Utah Flood, Kansas one-mile-by-one-mile-long feedlots.
In 2021, I followed Zac Bookman as he rode by bicycle from San Francisco to the Chesapeake Bay. During that ride, we overcame obstacle after obstacle which nearly ended the trip. In the first 3 days of the trip, as we pushed out from San Francisco, we were forced to exit the course due to the massive California Fires. Those fires, and the smoke from the flames, spread for nearly 200 miles. After driving for nearly a day we finally picked up the course in Tonopah, Nevada with a sense that we were starting all over again.
Just two weeks later, we again were stopped in our tracks as we lost our support vehicle, nicknamed 'the cloud cruiser', in a flash flood, in Hanksville, Utah. At that point, Zac's father while attempting to save the car nearly got washed away in the waters. The aftermath of the event pulled the wind out of our sails and took 12 days to regroup.
By the time we were back peddling, we knew we were off schedule. No matter how much we tried to make it up, we couldn't. Ultimately, those 12 days had us entering Virginia in October. Once there we found ourselves riding in frigid rains in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That cold pushed Zac dangerously close to hypothermia, again nearly ending the trip.
Right to left: Climbing out of Hite Outpost, UT; Filming in NV; Crossing through the Thomas Jefferson National Forest, VA.
Beyond the physical obstacles of the ride. It was generally eye-opening to move at the pace of a bicycle connecting the country via the most scenic roads from west to east. For me, I began to make observations on the environment, our farms, the land, and our history as a country. Each would come into focus along the way. At first, it was eerie to observe the depleted reservoirs of water, as we crossed Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. At one point, it was noted that Lake Meed was down nearly 120 feet from its highest point. That fact inspired me to count the bathtub rings of missing water at every reservoir on our way up to 9000+ feet elevation in our cross over the Great Divide.
Entering the state of Kansas, we passed by thousands upon thousands of cows confined in one-mile-by-one-mile-long feed lots. I was dumbfounded by the scale and overcome by the smell. Zac was struggling to breathe as he passed. At a diner, one local claimed that storm clouds would literally separate in two, while passing overhead, by the methane coming off the land. It seemed like strange fiction to me. From there we crossed into Missouri and entered Civil War country. We passed battlegrounds and were shown uncovered artifacts by locals along our path. One man pulled out a canon ball that he'd discovered inside a tree on his property. And in Virginia, we observed the defaced monument of Andrew Jackson, which was absent of its statue and covered in graffiti. All stuff that began to build up in my head. The collective experience of it combined with our toxic culture war today had me asking myself some questions. How bad would it have to get before we would go there again? How close were we actually today? And what did people really think about this country overall?
Interviewees from the ride.
From those questions, I started to get answers and those answers helped me get another picture of the country. A picture that is not being painted by the media and one that we need to hear. By the finish, Zac had crossed 9 state lines and overcame a long list of physical obstacles, and I had gained some new insight into who we are.
Since that time, I have been working for over a year and a half to shape that story. Editing between the road and the ride, I have been finding commonality and unity in our story. It is one that I believe we as a country and culture will benefit from and one I am excited to share.
Coming in 2024, we will be releasing, the working title, Crossing Lines: A Ride to the Other Side. My hope is that it may inspire us all to reflect on what we love about this country and challenge us to do something to make this place better than how we found it. Re: Facebook post ~