Big ride, big risk: ‘Riding Remote… And Alone’

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Stevie Paul Hendrix left North Bend, Ore., late in 1978 headed for Europe where he remained for nearly five years working in advertising. While he was there he tucked away ideas inspired by the new Paris-Dakar Rally; where a group of hard core dual-sport riders made a brutal two week trek from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal with a helicopter filming.

Back stateside he settled near Los Angeles studied Film and Television at UCLA then rooted himself in television broadcast as an editor and post producer working on many noteworthy projects. Today he’s running his own micro-independent film production company, Life’s 2 Short Productions, and recently completed what he calls a “huge milestone” project, an independent documentary film called “Riding Remote… And Alone.”

Armed with his street legal dirt bike, and a newly issued California license, Hendrix started adventure riding at 15. While attending North Bend High School he met Jack (Jake) Hammar and the duo expanded their rides beyond the dunes. For years they explored wilderness and beyond, often turning into harrying back-road explorations. Those rides included vast portions of the trail systems near the Northwest’s Pacific Crest Trail. The two actually discussed ways to turn those rides into revenue opportunities. But Hendrix said, “It’s really difficult to try to organize a group of people to all take the same time off and all be at the same skill level.”

Hendrix has ridden some of the most remote sections of the Vizcaino Desert on the Baja Peninsula, the Sonoran Desert, in California and the Great Plains Deserts of Utah and Arizona and also explored Morocco’s Sahara Desert. More local rides have included some of his SoCal adventure seeking friends from North Bend, Scott (Rae) Atkinsson and Don Dickson, and Chris Parker who Hendrix considers “a riding mentor.”

After a series of life’s big hits he decided to go all-in making his own dream adventure film. He wanted to highlight some skills required to do adventure riding through a travel series using drone filming technology, which is considerably more affordable than a helicopter. Personally Hendrix was exploring what it meant to be alone. He had time, the know how, the resources and a trusty ride, an Austrian made KTM Adventure 950 motorcycle. He calls it one of his favorites, an all-in-one dirt bike/road bike and it’s just one of his several rides.

With “100s and 100s of thousands of miles experience adventure riding” under his belt, careful planning and preparation, Hendrix employed award-winning photographer/cinematographer Stephen Gregory to document his “Riding Remote… And Alone” exploration ride through the Arizona Strip, a desolate expanse between St. George, Utah and his destination of the Toroweap Overlook on the north rim of the Grand Canyon 3,000 feet above remote areas of the Colorado River. The three-day, 206-mile adventure ride through breath-taking scenery had some harrowing moments.

“Hopefully my close friends and family will understand and forgive my absence in their lives these past few years.” This project, what he calls “A celebration of new freedom,” has been that all-consuming, now-or-never project. “I’ve been working on it for two years,” he said, “I am literally in most of the credits, doing most of the work.”

“I thought I could sell this as a pitch, a very inexpensively produced pitch,” for a television network show idea. “I thought it was a slam dunk.” But the new landscape is streaming television for this kind of niche program.

“This first feature is ‘the pilot’ for the series, I have between 15 and 20 new locations planned.” What he hopes is to offer an example of what kind of bike you could ride for such an excursion. But it’s really an entertainment program with hi-tech camera angles that he says will look “absolutely amazing on the big screen.”

When someone suggested he enter his film into a festival, it led to another festival and then to a film festival agent and “a bunch of awards by industry.” He’s “thrilled it’s considered a professional feature and a legitimate entertainment property.”

On Feb. 7, Hendrix shared via Facebook: “I just received notification my show WON the Orson Welles Award for Best TV Pilot in the California Film Festival. And I was also officially accepted into the IndieFEST Film Festival.

“My show “Riding Remote… And Alone” received seven awards, the most of any one program in this year’s IndieFEST Film Awards event! For me to receive awards in Direction, Editing, On Camera Talent and Writer/Script is an affirmation all those years of experience have paid off.”

“I’ve been on the film festival circuit a little over two months and have already won 11 awards,” he said.

Two more festivals to go and hopefully more awards.

“My new adventure travel show is passing the stringent video and audio quality controls for live streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play and iTunes,” he said. “This week I’ve had to get all the artwork from the festivals, they’re called Laurels. I have 16 Laurels from four shows to send to the graphics people who made my film poster for promotional reasons. I need to have those things ready when the distributor starts sending things out. I need a hi-res trailer.”

He chuckled and added, “My budget was spent a long time ago. I have worn a lot of hats through this whole project.”

Looking ahead the plan is to do road shows with this award-winning feature episode “and 4-wall-it with theaters and host motorcycle events at those theaters, maybe set up sponsors with booths and some hi-tech gear.” He hopes viewers will ride their bikes to see this adventure show.

Spoiler alert: Hendrix states in his film that “filling large spaces with things isn’t living.”

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