I left Chicago at the end of April and have been driving around the country all summer before landing in Austin, Texas. I had a couple client projects to do in Los Angeles along the way, but otherwise enjoyed some quality time visiting with friends and family, writing and working on some new film projects, and riding my new bike as much as possible. I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the most beautiful terrain and ride groups around the country. Without question, the best investment I’ve ever made in my physical and emotional well being was a bicycle—a black Bianchi Infinito CV with full Campy Record. The bike provided a great outlet for me when Wesley, my loyal companion of 14 years, passed away during our visit with my sister in Lake Tahoe in July. Despite the sadness, it was nice to have had the time again to camp out together, to see the country and get to visit with so many of his close friends.
Riding my bike in great spots around the country. In order of occurrence: 1) Honeoye Falls, New York; 2) Austin, Texas; 3) Malibu, California; 4) Lake Tahoe, California; 5) Portland, Oregon cyclocross races; 6) Iron Horse Trail, Washington; 7) Grand Junction, Colorado; 8) Omaha, Nebraska; 9) Chicago, Illinois; 10) Austin, Texas
1) the road through eastern Oregon; 2) Wrigley Field in Chicago; 3) My favorite burger place in Los Angeles; 4) Hiking with my niece and nephew in Lake Tahoe, California; 5) the road through Arkansas; 6) Route 395 through Independence, California; 7) Arriving BJ’s place in Los Angeles; 8) Wes and I outside Graceland in Memphis; 9) the road through Wyoming; 10) summiting 14,000 feet Mt. Bierstadt in Colorado; 11) racing cyclocross in Portland, Oregon; 12) sailing on Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York; 13) Carhenge in Nebraska; 14) ferry to Bainbridge Island, WA with Allison; 15) remembering Wes on a lonely road through Missouri.
I spent the past twelve days hiking the last 268 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from Snoqualmie Pass, WA to Manning Park, BC. My thru-hike from Mexico to Canada last year saw an early snow storm dump 6-7 feet of snow on the PCT in this area, forcing me to road walk the rest of the way. Though I was happy with the accomplishment, it felt somewhat incomplete given the alternate ending. I just wanted to return and hike this part of the trail. It was probably the most physically demanding of the entire PCT and included a couple passes that made me quite nervous. I’m very happy to have this all behind me now.
Wesley and I were walking with a girlfriend of ours on an old cobbled sea wall that extended far into the waters off the coast of Maine. It was early 2007, I think, and the wall stood steep above the water a good 6-10 feet. The surrounding harbor was dotted with rich sailboats and buoyed lobster traps, all gently bobbing up and down with the ocean waves and our unhurried stroll. It was the kind of setting you’d read about in books and imagine if you were so romantic. My friend and I were holding hands and enjoying our conversation, while Wesley followed behind, raced ahead, fell back, raced ahead, and so on.
Wes has always had a penchant for wandering off, curious with everything and everybody. A trait I celebrate, but one that often left me shaking my head. He shared my ability to get into mischief no matter how difficult the mischief was to achieve. In this moment, given the width and confined length of the sea wall, I was relaxed in the knowledge that he could roam free, but not far. And this is how we spent some time that day.
Fully present in the hand and moment that we were all having, I was suddenly startled by the loud splash I heard behind me. I didn’t see Wes in front of me, or behind me, instead surprised to find the source of the splash was him. Hundreds of yards from shore, Wes had jumped on his own into the cold ocean below. He was swimming with great intent, and was heading… straight… for… a large orange buoy, with lobster trap below.
After my initial shock at his daring it occurred to me what he was doing. I became more proud than worried. He wanted lobster, and why shouldn’t he want lobster?! My friend was horrified and very concerned. My reaction was conflicted. I was like, “Wes, come back!” “No, get it!” “Come back!” “Go get it, Wes!” The water was cold and there was no apparent way to get to him. I’m happier in the belief that he knew there was lobster attached to that buoy. I could think of no other reason why he would dive after it. Tennis balls are yellow, and much, much smaller.
When Wes made it to the nearest buoy, maybe 20 feet out, he dunked his head beneath the water to grab the base and thick rope in his mouth. He was fervently paddling and trying to pull it. Two problems I saw: 1. That trap was heavy and it wasn’t budging. And 2) Where did he intend to take it? It was a long way to shore, and the sea wall was almost completely vertical. I don’t think he thought the whole thing through. He wanted lobster, so he just jumped.
Wesley swam and swam, more determined than I have ever seen him. He snorted in the waves, splashed with his strokes, and stayed focused on swimming back to somewhere not water—to somewhere he could bask in the accomplishment. I was clinging to the side of the wall, nearest I could get to the surface. I was congratulating him, encouraging him, and begging him to swim to me. This went on for some time and I too started to worry a bit. I reluctantly encouraged him to let go, leave it, and come back. Though he finally did, it was not without completely going for it with everything that he had. He swam to me, cold and disappointed, and we both scaled back up the side of the wall to my worried friend looking on. With the concern set aside, she was now shaking her head incredulously at the Davidhazy boys.
I was very proud of Wes that day, and every day since. Though he passed away today, I am very happy with the 14 years we’ve spent together traveling hundreds of thousands of miles around North America. He was a good friend to so many wonderful people, and they to him. In that way, I am no different.
So many people seem to be just like their dogs, but not me. He represented everything that I would wish for myself; genuine kindness, unconditional love, social exuberance, and no patience for feeling sorry for himself. I am at the same time a lesser person without him and also so much better off for the experience of him.
Whenever I just jump, I think of Wes.
And here are just a few of his many starring movie roles…
Wes stole the show with his brief role at the beginning of this movie:
Spent a couple weeks with dad and Sue in Honeoye Falls, New York. Received a new bicycle and enjoyed the pleasant country roads, and went sailing a few times on the Adria on Lake Ontario.
This video is a compilation of three key moments from my journey, where I would stop and talk a little about my progress. The first clip drones on a bit long, but it seems to convey the moment best as is. Without actually seeing anything of the hike and the awesome beauty that is the Pacific Crest Trail, this little video says a lot about me and my experience.
A time-lapse video of all 2640 miles and written essay about why I did this hike and what I’m taking away from it, will be posted very soon. It’s taken me awhile to grapple with it and the transition my life has taken.
A couple short movies that had yet to see the light of day, or the dark of night. The first is some 16mm film footage shot a couple years ago between Port Angeles, WA and the BC Gulf Islands. The second video is from a meandering trip to Manchester, Dublin and Galway Bay, Ireland last March.