I’ve had a very fortunate summer here in 2017. I’ve gotten to see and do a lot of amazing things. Here is a run down of roughly mid June to mid July. I hope you enjoy!
Arizona to Wyoming
The beginning portion of this journey takes place as I leave Arizona and head to Billings, Montana. I’m filming a short film in the Pryor Mountains, which are located in southern Montana and Wyoming. My character “The Scavenger” is something I have been looking forward to working on for sometime! I got a very late start on my travels after working a full day on a case in Phoenix. So I ended up hitting the freeway in my new truck pretty late.
I made it to one of my favorite cities in Utah. St. George is an incredible city and I suggest taking the time to enjoy the actual city and the surrounding topography. Today I hit my favorite little cafe called “Twenty Five Main Cafe”. Trust me you need to try the pesto chicken frittata!
From there, I headed up through Utah but got distracted by a sign that said “Hidden Cove Fort”. Sold. Let me tell you how this place hasn’t been used in film blows me away. The Mormon church owns this, restored it, and runs tours here now. The fort is solid and comes with displayed rooms, galley planks for rifles and look outs, solid original door that was filled with sand to withstand bullets. This place was a premier stopping spot for travelers until it was bi-passed by the railroad. Please learn more here: Cove Fort
After my little detour I decided I was going to go a different route to Billings, Montana through Wyoming. First stop in Wyoming? Evanston. Ironically I had looked into moving to this little town roughly over a decade ago. In Evanston you will find a nice little sleepy town. It is sort of the end of the Utah beauty and the beginning of a not so pretty drive through flat high country and rock structures mostly in a grey drab. In Evanston, I came across a pretty awesome railroad yard. I’m fascinated by old abandoned rail road buildings.
The high country wasn’t all drab. The landscape with the snow-covered mountains to the north-west was very alluring. On top of that, the vast area was dotted by tons of antelope! Watching these beauties gracefully move so effortlessly and with such speed and power was quite the treat. I did have one opportunity where I parked, got out and snuck up on a herd of them. They didn’t know what to think of me. Maybe they thought I was crazy, who knows, but their curiosity kept drawing them closer and closer to me. The main leader kept eyeing me and moving towards me and then the whole herd would shift towards my direction. I was amazed at how close they got to me. The thoughts of being on a “when animals attack” show came to mind. Not sure what twenty prancing antelope could do to a little guy like me but I didn’t have to worry as they ran off after I moved a little!
…and one last scenic moment…red rock canyon, Wyoming. I can’t even tell you how this pictures do not do this justice!
I had parked and camped for the night. It was pitch black so didn’t really know where I was camping! I woke to an amazing sight! I love accidentally finding treasures! Apparently I was in the Boyson Preserve National Park!
I eventually made my way to Billings, Montana. I chose to not make too many other stops of interest. I have only been to Billings once so I wanted to explore and see some friends. I did however get to the Billings Fuel Fitness and get some rage moving for my character “The Scavenger” in the short film “The Survivors”.
Day 1 shooting for the short film “The Survivors”, a Randy Kelly film. The shooting for the film took place in the Pryor Mountains area in Wyoming/Montana. We had great crew and got everything done. A bunch of new friendships were formed on this day.
Day 2 in the Pryor’s was a lot of fun. None of us slept well as the extreme winds destroyed half our camp but we all seized the day and killed it! We had a lot of driving pursuit shots, filmed by drone. The project is hard work but very rewarding and by far the smoothest crew/cast I’ve worked with.
Day 3 of the shoot was just as big as the other days. Chase scenes and a lot of action! This was truly one of the better weekends I’ve had in a while!
Also, I fully am enthralled with the Pryor Mountain areas…explorations will be forthcoming in my future!
Back to the grind…a good grind! Worked a case in the beautiful city of Bozeman, Montana. If you don’t know where Bozeman is you truly need to make this a point to get too…Bozeman is located near north Yellowstone, Gallatin National Forest, and to the east the Bridger Mountains. This town has a great downtown and amazing people.
Got to have dinner with my good friend Ty Slater of “Timberwolf Outdoors”. This young man has an amazing out look and a drive to share the outdoors with the world. I think he has an amazing future ahead of him.
I worked a case in Deer Lodge, Montana. Ole Deer Lodge is an odd place…if you know anything about prison towns well you can picture this town. It does have a unique old prison plus a beautiful mountain range to the west that I explored after work! I got to test out my new truck on the road up!
I enjoyed my scenic drive back to Arizona…I didn’t make very many stops just let my angels rest! The weather in Montana and southern Idaho was amazing. As I left the Salt Lake area of Utah…the heat started…I mean THE HEAT STARTED! By the time I got to Vegas I was ready to turn around and head back for the mountains!
It did feel good to get home…
Ah the joys of working in hell’s furnace. While Arizona has many great things…summer time is not one of them. I had a lot of case work to catch up on and the administrative work was stacked up! The joys of self employment sometimes are not always fun!
Arizona to New York
Where’s Waldo Now?…he is on a plane…a short lay over in Vegas and off to Buffalo, NY. My morning was crazy getting work and meetings done but the excitement for a new adventure has me feeling like a little kid!
Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas were explored by my sons and I. We did the “Maid in the Midst” and “Cave of the Winds”…we hiked 6.6 miles on the Devil’s Hole area where the Devil’s Hole Massacre occurred.
We explored Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse off the southern tip of Lake Ontario.
We did get to explore in Rochester, NY. We took a gander around the Rochester State Psychiatric Hospital.
Back in ole AZ
Well for a day….then drove back to Montana.
After working all day in Bozeman, MT I got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset in Three Forks, MT. Three Forks is a unique little town that is worth a pass if you get the chance.
The next day I was working in a little Coal mining town called Colstrip. I’ve never really experienced a little town where its sole purpose is one occupation. It was different to say the least but a unique experience. I can see why they were so unified during the election. One day after work I may or may not have wandered onto land I wasn’t supposed to be on…hypothetically I might have found a cool abandoned cabin. The good news is I wouldn’t have much of a scalp to lose!
After Colstrip for a couple of days, I headed to a little blip on a map. That blip was called Nye. Its more of a place then a town. You get to Nye by heading towards Bozeman from Billings and then diving south toward the state line and back up into an armpit pocket of mountains very near the eastern border of Yellowstone. This was a difficult yet breathtaking area to work. I had some unique horses near my surveillance spot that befriended me, along with a doe and her fawn. The fawn had no fear of me and that seemed to cause old misses doe a lot of anxiety. Unfortunately, on my second day I found the little fawn struck down on the side of the road:(
One of the best parts when in Montana is true communion with God and nature. I honestly feel that my empathetic side gets a true recharge before I have to return to the polluted cities in the Phoenix metro area.
Montana to Arizona
This was a Godspeed trip so I didn’t get my usual enjoyment out of my travels. After a day in Arizona my beautiful sister and I jumped on a plane to surprise my mother for her 60th birthday.
Arizona to California and back…
A return to home wasn’t easy on me but it was amazing to surprise my mother. It was even more amazing to grow with my siblings, talk about old demons, and just be still. I have more love in my heart for my little family then I’ve ever had. I’d suggest to anyone to take the time to be with their loved ones without distractions once in a while. It was a very fitting and healing end to my crazy month!
While I enjoyed the journey, I was very glad to get home…a couple weeks in the furnace will have me itching for my next adventure! Thank you for taking the time to enjoy the ride!
Awesome brother than you for sharing
Yes sir!!! Thanks for your support!
Talk about staying busy and enjoying a life of QUALITY!!
Congratulations on your film shooting as well. Bet it was an awesome experience.
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Thank you so much!
Solid work Jax, we still need to have that coffee when you’re in Kalispell.
Thank you sir and I hope Robb’s up there next month!
Beautiful pics man! This guy is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I’m proud to call you my brother! Had some good times in the past buddy! Be safe in your journeys!
Thank you man!
Absolutely brillient read as always jax. Man I love the places you’ve been and seen.
Life is an adventure my brother and you certainly know how to enjoy your Adventures. I enjoy following you and value our friendship well done. I hope someday to have some of the same Adventures fingers crossed.
Thank you boss man! That means a lot! Life is short so don’t wait to long! …course you live in the best state for it!!!