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Behind The Barriers Director’s Cut: Travel day

Travel day

This past weekend was one of those times when you keep saying, “This sucks, but it will make a good story.”

Getting to Bend, Oregon, from the east coast is usually a bit of a hassle, but this time was over the top. Luckily, all of the BTB TV crew was traveling together. We all met up at Logan Airport on Friday morning and went through the usual rigamarole of getting to our flight. We were booked with a connection through San Francisco. That flight went fine, except we didn’t get off the runway on time. With the added bonus of a clueless mother and child clogging the aisle as we de-boarded, we missed our short connection to Redmond Airport near Bend.

United was handy enough to automatically rebook us on a later flight. This meant we had six hours to kill, but that was no big deal. All in a day’s work.

Things turned bad when our 10:30 p.m. flight was pushed back 40 minutes, and then eventually cancelled all together. We were stuck in San Francisco, at midnight, with no good way to get to the race the next morning. Since the crew was only shooting Saturday’s race, our weekend would have been botched if we couldn’t get to Bend by midday. None of the flights on Saturday morning would have gotten us there on time.

The idea started getting thrown around of giving up and just heading back to Boston in the morning. Then one of our shooters, Doug, said, “We’re already on the west coast, we’ve come this far. Let’s just get a car and drive through the night.” If we left then, it would have gotten us to Bend around 11 a.m. It really was the only option other than giving up. So, we rented a Chrysler Town and Country and all six of us piled in.

Since there were a lot of us, we all rotated and took relatively short shifts driving. There was snow on the ground most of the way, so that made it a bit harder and certainly more treacherous. It didn’t help that there were a large number of tractor trailers traveling the same.

The drive became dramatically more enjoyable after we stopped for breakfast in Weed, California, and the sun came up. We rolled into Bend at 11:30 a.m., grabbed our checked baggage at the airport, then arrived triumphantly at the race venue. It was not an ideal travel day, by any means, but showing up there and getting the job done felt incredible.

Thinking that we actually considered turning around with our tails between our legs and giving up was embarrassing. I know that if we had followed through with that plan, we would have been feeling horrible by the time we got back to Boston. None of us felt good physically, but I think we were all emotionally high.

After a long day shooting in sub-zero temperatures, we all went out and ate, drank, laughed, and laughed. I know I’ve said this before in my journal, but it’s moments like this that make me love doing this whole thing. Props to my fellow BTB TV crew members for doing the hard thing and pulling it off.

Sam Smith
Producer/Director, Behind the Barriers

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