Jul 4, 2009

Caleb Evenson's Roadtripmobile/Home.

Since his return to Portland in early June, our good friend Caleb Evenson has (as previously mentioned) been living out of a nondescript minivan, parked on various Southeast neighborhood streets.

He was rooming at DBZ's in December, when a surprise rent increase effectively evicted the entire household. The unemployed South Dakota native returned to the family farm to work, save, fire out a semester of college, and outfit his future home on wheels.

Caleb traces his love for the minivan to a storied 1994 Plymouth Voyager that accumulated 212,000 miles and two cracked blocks before being laid to rest. This one, a 94 Dodge Caravan with 105k, is "just a baby, practically," he says.

Caleb intends to find employment at some point, and then housing. Until then, he seems to be living rather comfortably on about five dollars a day (he estimates), showering at friends' houses. I crossed paths with Caleb at the June bmx video night, and we shot these photos:

Lantern, found in an abandoned meat packing plant; still running off the original battery.
Sleeping quarters. Two bikes. Super 8 camera. Must say, I find that bedding almost irresistably inviting.
21st century nomad. You'd expect to find a laptop computer stashed somewhere in here, but you'd be wrong.

Side view: pink hubcaps handed down from minivan 1.0; limo tint windows; stray plywood bookshelf.

Jun 27, 2009

Bridge, Bike, Coffee, Bliss.

It was over a year ago that I read (and blogged) about an ingenious union of mankind's three most magnificent achievements: coffee served to commuters riding bikes across Portland bridges.

Also, there are pastries. And it's free.

The recurring event is called "Breakfast on the Bridges,"and it happens from about 7am to 9am, on both the Hawthorne bridge and Steel bridge, the last Friday of every month, and every Friday in June. Over and over, Ben and I made plans to investigate, but it seemed like something always came up, or we'd simply lose track of plans made a month in advance. But we resolved to make it happen one of these June Fridays.

Friday before last, we succeeded. It was awesome and easy, and we'll be doing it regularly from here on out. Definitely. Here are some photos and a quick report.

The Hawthorn Bridge coffee station sets up on the West side of the river, at an amply wide section of the Westbound sidewalk. No booth, no card table, just some air-pots perched on a concrete barrier. We failed to notice what brand of coffee was being served, but not that it was dark, hot, fresh, and utterly satisfying. Chose from a selection of non-disposable ceramic mugs. Here, Ben follows protocol and helps himself.

Pastry box.

This is bmx rider Caleb Evenson, who recently moved back to Portland. He is a hippie but does not smoke pot and does not stink, even though he currently resides in a minivan, to be documented in a future post. (Here it is. -ed.) Caleb is drinking cider in this picture.

We lingered at the Hawthorne station for twenty or thirty minutes, enough time for a couple of leisurely coffee & pastry rounds; lots of people-watching; beautiful chilly Portland Summer morning. (Note long sleeves on all parties.) Swished our cups in the rinse bucket and headed off to ride a little street before my 9am professional obligations.

Briefly hit up the Steel Bridge coffee station, down on the pedestrian level, East side, but took no pics. Another good scene, but our appetites were satisfied, and we were eager for some bmx. Hit up all the good spots on the East Bank Esplanade, got good and sweaty and sore, snapped just this one photo. Ben wallrides from flat over the 2-foot chunk for no reason. Hawthorne bridge in the background, Caleb silhouetted on his kooked one-speed.

Ben and Caleb discussing cameras. (A bunch of smart little videos on Caleb's vimeo page, btw.)

Detail: Caleb's ride.

After I took off, Ben and Caleb filmed this. A productive morning on all fronts.

I'm going to go heat up some afternoon dregs now, and think up a title for this post.

Jun 23, 2009

Li'l Sk8punx in the Park.

Monday evening, witnessed a gang of adolescent skaters sessioning the three-stair in the park, in observance of Go Skateboarding Day. As they paused to discuss the next spot, slouching fashionably in their defiant pre-teen glory, a spontaneous game of "hide-and-go-seek tag" broke out on the adjacent wooden play structure.

For a full twenty minutes, they played like innocent, unselfconscious children.

Jun 19, 2009

Proud Day for Our Unkillable Volvo.

To Grandmother's house we go, December 2008.

I had big plans for our 1992 Volvo 240's 200,000th mile. Wanted to go for a scenic drive up the Gorge, document the numbers rolling over, snap a portrait of family+car, dramatic vista in the background or waterfalls or something. But we had errands to run, and the miles just kept coming.

At least I anticipated it. Shot this shaky, unfocused, unremarkable home video yesterday.

For the record, we were actually passing directly over this, just as the 199,999th mile appeared;


Previous blog posts featuring the rig;

Bmx brickhead Jeff Z's defgrip interview and 240-peppered blog;

Youtube deathrock Volvo drifting;

See you at 300k. Markie darling--fourteen years from now, this is the only car you'll be learning to drive.

Jun 12, 2009

Pro Bro Coffee Time!

I'm not breaking any news, reporting that Kevin Porter and his wife Chelsea recently opened their own coffee shop in "North Center Chicago." Just really freaking psyched about it, even though I don't live there any more. I used to walk past the cafe Half & Half daily on my way to the train, and I would often notice a totally bmx'd-out fixie chained in front, but it never ocurred to me that KP himself was inside pulling shots. My loss for not bothering to investigate.

Image by David Leep, poached from Defgrip.

I once blogged up all the bmx coffee references I could think of and concluded that there wasn't really a coffee culture to speak of in bmx. But I suppose it's just that consumption happens at the time when cameras are put away. That's the nature of coffee; that's why a good cafe feels so authentic and personal.

This is very, very good.

The even bigger headline smeared across the blogosphere is Porter landing his first energy drink sponsor, elite Chicago micro-roaster Intelligentsia. (Not coincidentally, the beans of choice at De*li*cious.)

Bike photo borrowed from Dig.

Not sure how I'd feel about a Starbucks colorway, but KP's Intelligentsia bike looks downright dignified.

Jun 10, 2009

Recalling The Endless Roadtrip.

Unfathomably fantastic story on Adam Schnellenbach's blog, recalling from memory a forty-day road trip his junior year, in 2002.

The blurry, oversaturated photos are the perfect complement to Schnell's ranting, unpretentious nostalgia. Possibly the most intimidating unparagraphed block of text I've ever seen.

A shining example of how blogs are enriching the world.

I miss you, Schnell, and think of you often.

Jun 6, 2009

Bike & Destroy dvd inches towards completion.

A post last week on the Bike&Destroy news page suggests that the comically overdue Seattle scene video might be nearing completion. Is it possible? The trailer below was pretty mind-blowing four years ago, when locals Davey Watson and Mike Hoder still just faint blips on the national bmx media radar.

On the whole, I think the trailer itself has aged really well, filming-wise and editing-wise; some of the clips now qualify as filler, but most of the bangers are still impressive. And I'm thrilled by the chosen title--The Blurry Years--and the idea that this video might take a historic perspective. That's not really something that's been attempted with a bike video, that I can think of.

I, for one, would be happy to sit through Hoder and Watson's old throwaway clips, not to mention footage of underground legend Andrew Carpenter, who had already quit riding by the time anyone outside the Washington State knew his name.

Can't wait. But I will.