Do Not Ask The Question

Post One – May 18, 2008

Post Two – June 15, 2008



‘What else could go wrong?’



‘Ohhhhh no, don’t say that,’ was my friend’s response, calling me out on jinxing myself.


I shrugged off the warning and went to bed, tired and frustrated.


So far, in my grand summer’s worth of boating adventures, I had spent a few days in Buena Vista to show my face around and get a feel for who was going where, spent a sick day in the van after a bad street vendor bratwurst, then had two days of gaining momentum by shooting with some pros. The shooting included running Gore Canyon (headwaters of the Colorado river) at 5,000 cfs (instead of the recommended 1,000-1,500 cfs) and hanging from a rappel next to a waterfall for long enough to have numb hips days later. After all of that, I missed what could have been one of the best action shots of my life. To top it off, I was driving south from Boulder and feeling pretty grim when El Guapo (the name of my van) got the shakes.


Full-on cardiac arrest seizure style motion from tires to roof rack. It was all I could do to keep it from bouncing the two of us right off the road. Pulling over, I found that any time I even thought about tapping the brake, El Guapo would show his defiance and give me the brain rattling of a lifetime. Unfortunately, I was talking to my Mom on the phone while all of this was happening, making her more nervous than me.


I coasted the next dozen miles to the nearest Ford dealership in Denver. Of course, this was a Thursday night and I was sure Friday would bring bad news without much possibility of fixing the issue before the weekend.
I was right.


El Guapo needed new rotors specially ordered from Pennsylvania. I was out for the count.


After a 9-hour wait in the dealership’s lounge, I got word from a high school friend that I could stay with him and that he would pick me up in half an hour. It was great, we hadn’t seen each other in seven years so catching up was an unexpected treat.


Still itching to get in my boat, I talked my buddy into picking up my playboat before heading to the pool at another friend’s apartment complex. I was probably a bit nave about the fact that it’s just not ‘cool’ to show up at a young professionals’ apartment building pool – with a kayak. After surveying the scene, I realized that I was about to be the butt of a lot of jokes from the drunken crowd sitting by the pool.
Oh well, you live once right?



I was a magnet for some of the most uncreative and obvious BS you could imagine, but going with it, I figured a few cartwheels might change some attitudes. It didn’t take long before they were asking me how long it takes to learn how to do that, where do I kayak, what am I doing, etc… In the end, I almost taught one guy how to roll (almost because he was a bit more wasted than I initially realized). It ended up being a fun afternoon, and even though I wasn’t on a river, I got some water time.


Six days, two front rotors, two front brake pads, one shimmy shock and $1,100 later, I had my home back. Thank goodness. My expensive delay was just that, and I just wanted it behind me. I was back on the road and headed to Vail for the Teva Mountain Games.


Arriving in Vail on Thursday morning in the driving snow, sleet and rain, my younger brother (he flew in during my week in Denver to join me for the next month) and I realized that we had our times and days mixed up. The Steep Creek Race was in progress. We had planned to scout the river and shoot the following day.



In full freak out mode, I threw on a rain jacket and ran. Perched and ready, I hit the shutter button and ……nothing. My camera didn’t work. Again, in freak out mode, I grabbed my backup camera (it shoots at a much slower speed and is really not great for boating photography) and desperately tried to warm up the faster one (needs to be warmed up after a cold night in the van.) I finally felt the shutter moving across its tracks and heard those beautiful little fast paced clicks.


I got a few unsatisfying shots and came out of it only mildly hypothermic. I spent the next few days shooting the event and on the last night, describing my efforts to my friend, I said it.
‘What else could go wrong?’



Despite all his problems, Trevor did manage to post a fine article and photos from the 2008 Teva Mountain Games



Bad move. Tempting fate to show me just how bad things could get…. I found out quickly what else could go wrong. My camera was once again frozen. But no big deal, I had some time to warm it up. An hour later and still nothing. In my freak out mode level orange, I grabbed my slow camera and used it for the day. After another day of uninspired shooting, I returned to the van to test the camera one last time. Nothing. It was definitely dead. With no other options, my younger brother drove us back to Denver.


Needing a bit of privacy to finish my work, I stayed in the van at my friend’s apartment complex so nobody could bother me. It was dark and quiet and I was really getting through it when three police officers pulled up in three separate cars and told me to get out of the vehicle. All I could see were three silhouettes, but I could tell that each one had a hand on a holstered gun.
Slightly nervous (and by that I mean, on the verge of peeing in my pants) I stepped out and asked ‘what’s up officers.’ Of course, I wasn’t allowed to ask questions and after an onslaught of ridiculous accusations, I was allowed to tell them what I was doing there. After confirming with my friend (who is a member of the board for that homeowner’s association) that I was legit, they backed off. It wasn’t until it was all over that I realized they weren’t even police officers, they were rent-a-cops looking for something to do.
I was regretting asking ‘what else could go wrong.’



It seemed like Fate was going to take the day off and Lady Luck was going to give me a visit. Denver has the only certified Canon camera technician within the surrounding five states, and my camera was fixed by Tuesday. Unfortunately, the estimated repair time was 4-8 weeks when I dropped off the camera so I had already bought another camera . Now, slinging dual Canon Mark II Ns (now my backup camera works as well as my main camera) and some hefty I-owe-you’s, I am back in business. Next stop – Salida to shoot FIBArk for the weekend.


When I started out on this journey I was aware of the ‘unknown.’ You never really know what is ahead of you, and as much as you try to plan and map it all out, there will always be an unexpected detour, delay or expense. Being flexible, taking the hits and going with it, taking advantage of opportunities and working out solutions to new problems are all part of it.


I can’t say that I am glad all of this has happened, but it has allowed me to learn more about myself. I know this is what I want and there really isn’t much that will stop me. I am now wondering what is next but I have learned not to ask…..you know…the other question.

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