As an avid photographer, and in love with all things motorsports, it’s natural for me to want to obtain media credentials and be in as close to the action as possible. The adrenaline rush of being feet and sometimes inches away from the cars as they roar past you is, well, addicting. Being that close also allows you to get the best images for whomever you are shooting for, at that event.

Oregon Trail Rally 2012 was on the horizon.  The deadline for media credentials was fast approaching and I had a decision to make. Do I get the credentials, and join the rat race of other photographers as they scurry about from stage to stage and media event to another? Or, do I sit this one out, and I don’t mean by not attending the rally, but I mean taking a step back; remembering what it was that got me into photography in the first place, being a rally spectator?  I opted for the latter, I decided to join my friends in all their journeys throughout the weekend, and not have to skip out because I had a press conference. or one extra stage I could cover.  I longed for the freedom of sleeping in, maybe even missing a stage, all in the sense of having fun with the people I call my friends, and enjoying life and freedom as it is.

The day finally came that we were headed out to Oregon for the 2012 Oregon Trail Rally. We had ourselves a 3-car convoy headed south out of Seattle headed towards Portland, our first stop on the journey. As mentioned, not having to get my credentials opened up my schedule to follow my comrades on a day full of fun, friends, and beer!  We made it to our first stop, a place we frequent, called The Horse Brass, a favorite watering hole of many locals and tourists alike. After enjoying a few tasty brews, we decided for a change of scenery and headed to downtown Portland, to find ourselves belly up at the Deschutes Brewery Pub; where we had the opportunity to meet and converse with some locals and fellow tourists and rally fans alike.  We found ourselves in a good place and decided to step out, and make the trek east towards our final destination of the day: the camp ground.   Camping actually finds us back in Washington at a small campsite just across the bridge from Oregon.

Camping has always been one of my favorite things to do with friends and family.  There is something great about setting up tents, building a camp fire and sitting around telling stories, and knocking a few cold ones back.  Knowing we all had a long day of rally ahead of us, we kept it to a pretty mild evening and called it a night at a decent hour.  We all awoke to the smell of breakfast being cooked up on the camp stove, by one of our early riser friends.  He’s a must have for camping, as he loves to cook and does an excellent job, thanks Matt Lehman! With breakfast filling our stomachs we headed on down the road towards our first rally stage of the weekend.

Saturday saw us hitting a few of our favorite rally stages, and joining hundreds of other rally spectators on the mountain side.  It is always great in my eyes, to see how many folks still make the trek to enjoy something that I have always loved and will continue to attend, as long as I am able. Rally fans are some of the most hardcore motorsports fans out there, it’s not as simple as driving to a track and sitting the in grandstands, no. It often takes driving countless miles down gravel or muddy roads, then hiking up sometimes miles to reach the final spectator areas. You have to know and love rally to do this, and I think it is what makes up for the lack of numbers, compared to other motorsports activities.

I feel nowadays, people get so caught up in their daily lives, they just work and work and work and continue to run the rat race. Having done that myself and not even realizing it, I see how important it is to take these weekends away, just far enough away that it seems like a vacation but not costing a ton of money. What little money you do have to spend, is more then made up for by the memories you create.  Those memories that will live on for years, and be talked about for many more. Can you really put a price on that?  Our lives move at seemingly the speed of light some times, and you need to stop and smell the roses.  Not all the time, everyone has their own ideas on this I guess, but if you let life slip away, you will look back some day and go, why did I not attend that last rally with my friends?  Was that extra day of work that important?  But anyway!

The rally weekend was filled with many exciting stages, many colds beers, amazing friends, and running into rally fans that we have met in the past and meeting new ones we hope to see next year. I challenge anyone who reads this, and has yet to attend a Stage Rally event, to go out and do so and the upcoming Olympus Rally 2012 located in the Shelton, WA area this September. This event has brought me back to remember what got me started in motorsports photogrpahy, and as you see in the photos, you can still get many great shots even standing on the sidelines. You will find me at the Olympus Rally, and I will be wearing the trademark bright yellow media vest, but it is with a new found remembrance of why I am where I am, why I have the friends and family that I do, and why I love Rally!

My style of writing is “wrong” in many people’s eyes, I know this. I am a person who will never win an award for my writing, but it is just what I feel inside.  My passion for motorsports and photography have carried me around the world to see many awesome things, and meet many amazing people along the way.  What have you done today?  I look forward to seeing where my adventures will take me next, which race track?  Which new lifetime friend?  The journey is endless if you let it take you there.  Have fun, my friends!

[doptg id=”187″]