Anarchy in The USA: Surviving Ten Days of Freestyle Mayhem with Moto XXX

The recent onslaught of reality-based television programming serves as a constant reminder that Americans have too much time on their hands. Contrived shows like “Survivor” and “Temptation Island,” where wannabe professional motocross stars decked out in Hawaiian shirts hit on other guys’ girlfriends, are all basically offshoots of “The Real World,” but with a few small differences. Nowadays, the goons on the shows are actually competing for big dough and lush magazine spreads, and instead of pizza eating with Puck, we’re treated to mealworm snacks with some idiot in Australia who is competing for a million bucks. Apparently the big dough brings big ratings, though, so naturally “reality shows” are all the rage right now. When Bluetorch TV decided to create a spin-off of “Survivor” that involved freestyle motocross, to be completely honest, the TWMX staff balked at the idea. Thoughts of the Mulisha rehearsing lines that were supposed to seem candid while Mad Mike searched for clues that would grant him immunity from being voted off gave us many a good office chuckle.

But when Tilt called our headquarters to tell us that there was a spot on the Moto XXX tour bus with our name on it, we just couldn’t resist. After all, we would be going on a 10-day tour across the Western United States with 20 of the best freeriders/partiers in the world, riding at spots ranging from Glamis, California, to Caineville, Utah, in a full-blown rock star tour bus loaded with food and alcohol: this could get interesting! Without hesitation, we cordially accepted the invitation and loaded our gear bags. This is how it went down: Within the tour’s 10 days, five teams of four would ride five different spots in three states. At the end of each day of jumping, riders were to submit a 15-second-long clip of themselves doing whatever they wanted (most chose riding, but some chose to post hilarious Karaoke clips of themselves in a drunken stupor). Once the clips were edited, they were immediately posted on the Internet for computer geeks the world round to vote for the rider they wanted to cast off.

At the end, the winning team split a cool five grand and the winning rider took home an extra two thousand for himself. Not exactly a million bucks, but the producers promised the riders that the trip would be worthwhile due to all of the “exposure” they would be getting. What was our motivating factor for going on the trip? Honestly, TWMX was just along for the ride and the photo ops, not to mention the lure of all the stiff Skyy and Red Bulls we could drink! So without further ado, here’s a brief synopsis of the daily chaos on the Moto XXX tour bus.

DAY 1

Today was a travel day. We showed up at Jordan Burns’ house in The Valley to load up the bus and make our way out to Dumont Dunes. When Kurt and Jay gave me the tour of my new home for the next 10 days, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The bus consisted of 12 bunks with private TVs, two big couches in front that surrounded a TV hooked up with satellite, DVD, VCR and a stereo, a wet bar, and a lounge in back with a wraparound couch, another TV, and a fresh Playstation 2 donated by Robert and the boys at THQ. Yeah, I could spend a week and a half here!

At around 3 p.m., Norm, whom we affectionately nicknamed “we be clubbin'” due to a severe limp that left him with a gangsta stroll the size of Ice Cube’s after consuming several 40 oz. bottles of Olde English 800, yelled out, “Are we a bus?” A couple of “yeses” was all Norm needed to hear before firing up the big diesel, and we were off. Driving down the lonely highway, the tour bus seemed to be in a time warp: was it really 4:20 all day in this bus?

DAY 2

The tour officially began today. Everyone woke up “early” (in freestyle time, early is around 10 a.m.), eager to ride. As I opened the tour bus door and set my feet on the warm Dumont sand, I was greeted by a 40 mph gust of wind and a face full of dirt. A look up to the top of the dunes wld reveal sheets of airborne sand gusting in the wind, not a good sign for guys who were going to be jumping their 250cc dirt bikes across 110-foot gaps in the dunes. The riders needed their film clips, though, so the paddles were mounted and we set out to find some hits.

Locating a decent jump proved to be quite a feat with the strong gusts, but everyone was scrambling to get decent footage so they wouldn’t get voted off on the first day. Metzger Motorsports’ Drake McElroy found a good kicker, but too much whiskey throttle off of the face landed him into the next dune, slowing him and his bike down from about 45mph to 0 in a split second.

The unfortunate result was a fractured tibia and fibula and a broken back. Not a good way to start off the trip. Drake was taken to the hospital and, as it was nearing dusk, the clips were collected.

Tricks of the day included Tyler Evans’ huge Double Nac and Dan Pastor’s Bar hop, both on the same 115-foot sand double. We finally got loaded up and made the short drive to Vegas, where we would stay overnight at the MGM Grand after a watering break at the Hard Rock’s circle bar.

DAY 3

With 90% of the crew nursing hangovers from last night’s festivities, a travel day was just what the boys needed. A stern warning was issued the night before that whoever wasn’t on the bus for the 9:00 a.m. departure time would be left behind, but sure enough, our bus was two members short in the morning. A unanimous group decision had us pulling out of Sin City at around 10 a.m. with two fewer people than we started with: Dane Herron and John Death Weasel John, one of the Moto XXX videographers, were going to have to find their own ride to Utah. We were off!

The big bus arrived in Caineville, Utah, just before dusk. Metz and his team were already there scoping out hits, and the consensus was that this place was off the hook. Tilt unloaded his bike and we had a little early evening photo shoot before beginning the evening’s festivities around the bonfire in the middle of the RVs. It turned out that Dane and John hooked up with Jonesy, so they eventually joined the party in Utah.

DAY 4

Today was epic! With the second day of TV filming here, I went out with the Moto XXX team to go scout for jumps. Though the winds were howling again, the XXX gang wasted no time in finding the best hits of the trip, thanks to their secret weapon, a local rider/photographer named Dave Johnson who already knew all the hot spots.

Our first jump session proved to be the best, as our team, along with Metzger’s surviving members, hit a huge natural double that gave Jonesy all the time he needed to throw his signature move for my camera. His Kiss of Death was by far the sickest air I saw throughout the trip. Another notable spot at Caineville was one of the biggest jumps I have ever seen: a 120-foot-long step-up that several riders ended up claiming, including Link, Tilt, Miller, Thorne, Twitch and Carter. Though the wind sucked, partially cloudy skies and huge jumps made for a great day of shooting¿look for Utah footage to be in about eight of the next 10 freeride videos!

DAY 5

After rousing the troops and getting packed, we finally got on the road at about 11 a.m. en route to Colorado, but with one slight glitch. “We be clubbin'” Norm had some troubles getting our tour bus out of the dirt where we were parked, and before we knew it, the bus was stuck. Eventually we got our rig going and we headed to Grand Junction, Colorado.

The weather was terrible when we arrived: it was so cold and cloudy that when we got there and the riders went searching for jumps for the following day’s filming, I elected to sit on my ass in front of the TV in the heated bus. About an hour later, the team came back and revealed that the biggest jump they could find was about 20-feet long. Everyone was bummed and we went to find a nearby hotel. The riders decided to let their aggression out on the local discoteca, and it was obvious that this small Colorado town was not used to seeing the type of individuals that were present on our tour. Little sleep was had, as the boys shut the place down.

DAY 6

Pounding rain on the hotel windows was just what we didn’t want as a wakeup call this morning. Everyone decided to meet at the local Village Inn restaurant to discuss what the plan was, since we obviously weren’t going to be able to ride. The rowdy group assembled for some pleasant eggs and hash browns, but before we knew it, all hell broke loose. Bluetorch host/freeride announcer Cameron Steele got a pie thrown in his face, and when several nearby customers were bombarded with the whipped cream shrapnel, the manager rushed in and yelled to his employees: “Call 911!”

Even the small-town hick sheriff got a kick out of the manager’s so-called “pie emergency” and was actually cool to the freeriders, posing for the video cameras before exiting the parking lot to look for child molesters and dope dealers.

The idea was that we’d go to Arizona or Utah to look for more riding areas, but several of the riders and crew members on the tour were flying out of the local airport that night to pose as wannabe rock stars and chill with Metallica at the ESPN Sports/Music Awards. Since we were stuck without a team to shoot with for the next couple of days, we decided to hitch a ride with our buddy Mike and the Metzger Motorsports/Ecko team, hitting the road once again.

We ended up stopping in Moab, Utah, to ride the famous slick rock with the remaining “Survival” tour members, upon Metzger’s request. When we arrived and unloaded, a huge storm moved in and it started hailing and raining. An hour later, though, the storm passed and the weather was beautiful. We hooked up with a professional motorcycle tour guide who took us on a 12-mile-long expedition that was a blast. Twitch attempted to climb two separate rock cliffs, both resulting in his CR tumbling down two-story rock faces (which led to a mangled bike and some good laughs). Around dark, we loaded up and went to the local brewery for dinner and beer. Life is good.

DAY 7

Today we drove again, covering some serious miles on our way to the tour’s next stop: Glamis. We made it as far as Laughlin before burning out on the drive, so we ditched the motor home in favor of some comfortable hotel rooms. We cleaned up and went to a great dinner, followed by some serious gambling. Mike’s mechanic Dana scored an easy $600 with a one dollar bet on the slots. Cha-ching!

DAY 8

Today we continued our drive to Glamis with a late start, leaving Laughlin around noon. We got to the dune buggy capitol of the world with plenty of time to ride, so rising stars Ryan Leyba and Dustin Miller went out for a little sand session. The weather was the best of the trip so far¿for the first time, there was no wind and both riders found a great step-down right in front of camp. Everyone was psyched with Glamis, and if the weather cooperated the next day, we could really see what would happen when the 20 best freeriders in the world pushed each other in insane conditions.

DAY 9

As luck would have it, when we woke up this morning, the winds were kicking as strong as they had been the whole trip. Of course, clips must still be collected for the on-line voting, though, so the riders were forced to hit huge gaps to stay on the show. The jump of the day here was a HUGE, fifth gear pinned 150-foot sand double that Twitch, Carter, Highland and Miller were hitting. Most impressive was SMP’s Carter, who threw giant Superman Seat Grabs over the thing in 30mph winds.

We still had fun, despite the weather, and now that we were back with the Moto XXX team, we rubbed the sand out of our eyes, loaded up and headed to our final tour stop, Ocotillo Wells. This promised to be a great spot due to the fact that several riders like Twitch and Dane Herron grew up riding here and knew all of the good spots to film.

DAY 10

Today, instead of waking hat this small Colorado town was not used to seeing the type of individuals that were present on our tour. Little sleep was had, as the boys shut the place down.

DAY 6

Pounding rain on the hotel windows was just what we didn’t want as a wakeup call this morning. Everyone decided to meet at the local Village Inn restaurant to discuss what the plan was, since we obviously weren’t going to be able to ride. The rowdy group assembled for some pleasant eggs and hash browns, but before we knew it, all hell broke loose. Bluetorch host/freeride announcer Cameron Steele got a pie thrown in his face, and when several nearby customers were bombarded with the whipped cream shrapnel, the manager rushed in and yelled to his employees: “Call 911!”

Even the small-town hick sheriff got a kick out of the manager’s so-called “pie emergency” and was actually cool to the freeriders, posing for the video cameras before exiting the parking lot to look for child molesters and dope dealers.

The idea was that we’d go to Arizona or Utah to look for more riding areas, but several of the riders and crew members on the tour were flying out of the local airport that night to pose as wannabe rock stars and chill with Metallica at the ESPN Sports/Music Awards. Since we were stuck without a team to shoot with for the next couple of days, we decided to hitch a ride with our buddy Mike and the Metzger Motorsports/Ecko team, hitting the road once again.

We ended up stopping in Moab, Utah, to ride the famous slick rock with the remaining “Survival” tour members, upon Metzger’s request. When we arrived and unloaded, a huge storm moved in and it started hailing and raining. An hour later, though, the storm passed and the weather was beautiful. We hooked up with a professional motorcycle tour guide who took us on a 12-mile-long expedition that was a blast. Twitch attempted to climb two separate rock cliffs, both resulting in his CR tumbling down two-story rock faces (which led to a mangled bike and some good laughs). Around dark, we loaded up and went to the local brewery for dinner and beer. Life is good.

DAY 7

Today we drove again, covering some serious miles on our way to the tour’s next stop: Glamis. We made it as far as Laughlin before burning out on the drive, so we ditched the motor home in favor of some comfortable hotel rooms. We cleaned up and went to a great dinner, followed by some serious gambling. Mike’s mechanic Dana scored an easy $600 with a one dollar bet on the slots. Cha-ching!

DAY 8

Today we continued our drive to Glamis with a late start, leaving Laughlin around noon. We got to the dune buggy capitol of the world with plenty of time to ride, so rising stars Ryan Leyba and Dustin Miller went out for a little sand session. The weather was the best of the trip so far¿for the first time, there was no wind and both riders found a great step-down right in front of camp. Everyone was psyched with Glamis, and if the weather cooperated the next day, we could really see what would happen when the 20 best freeriders in the world pushed each other in insane conditions.

DAY 9

As luck would have it, when we woke up this morning, the winds were kicking as strong as they had been the whole trip. Of course, clips must still be collected for the on-line voting, though, so the riders were forced to hit huge gaps to stay on the show. The jump of the day here was a HUGE, fifth gear pinned 150-foot sand double that Twitch, Carter, Highland and Miller were hitting. Most impressive was SMP’s Carter, who threw giant Superman Seat Grabs over the thing in 30mph winds.

We still had fun, despite the weather, and now that we were back with the Moto XXX team, we rubbed the sand out of our eyes, loaded up and headed to our final tour stop, Ocotillo Wells. This promised to be a great spot due to the fact that several riders like Twitch and Dane Herron grew up riding here and knew all of the good spots to film.

DAY 10

Today, instead of waking to pouring rain, I instead woke to the sound of Larry Linkogle and his screaming Honda engine doing figure-8s in the center of camp. Link ended up dusting everyone out and totaling Grant Steele’s innocent, parked Honda that got in his way during a brodie. The TV cameras cherished his rebellious antics while the rest of us picked dirt from our eyes.

By the time we were suited up and ready to go for a ride, the wind was blowing harder than it had the whole trip. Talk about bad luck with weather!

It didn’t matter, though, because everyone still busted out huge shit today, thanks to local boy Andy Harrison. Though not officially on the tour, Harrison stepped it up first on just about every jump there and gained the respect of the best freeriders in the world.

Photos were taken, video was shot, and large gaps were jumped. When it was all said and done and the sun lowered in the desert sky of Ocotillo, we packed up and headed back to the real world. Though there were several times during the trip when I was ready to bail out and go home for a nice shower, in the end I was sad to be departing. We had a great time with the Moto XXX guys, and several weeks later when I found out that they won, I was stoked. The Moto Survival Tour was a success, and I can’t wait for the next one!ing to pouring rain, I instead woke to the sound of Larry Linkogle and his screaming Honda engine doing figure-8s in the center of camp. Link ended up dusting everyone out and totaling Grant Steele’s innocent, parked Honda that got in his way during a brodie. The TV cameras cherished his rebellious antics while the rest of us picked dirt from our eyes.

By the time we were suited up and ready to go for a ride, the wind was blowing harder than it had the whole trip. Talk about bad luck with weather!

It didn’t matter, though, because everyone still busted out huge shit today, thanks to local boy Andy Harrison. Though not officially on the tour, Harrison stepped it up first on just about every jump there and gained the respect of the best freeriders in the world.

Photos were taken, video was shot, and large gaps were jumped. When it was all said and done and the sun lowered in the desert sky of Ocotillo, we packed up and headed back to the real world. Though there were several times during the trip when I was ready to bail out and go home for a nice shower, in the end I was sad to be departing. We had a great time with the Moto XXX guys, and several weeks later when I found out that they won, I was stoked. The Moto Survival Tour was a success, and I can’t wait for the next one!