Every rider in Southern California who wants to shred Mammoth must do one thing first with zero exceptions—they must drive the 395, a mostly two-lane road that starts in the fringe of Los Angeles sprawl off Interstate 15. It weaves through huge expanses of nothingness, power lines and brown hillsides, through emptied towns that are slowly drying up and blowing away. From the start to finish, it’s a mind numbing four-to-five hours past the same landmarks—the run down trailer parks, Astroburger at the 56 junction (don’t eat there), airplane junkyards, Ridgecrest, Olancha, more nameless semi-deserted towns, Alien Jerky billboards, Pearsonville and finally Bishop, the last stop before Mammoth.
Most drivers put the pedal down and power through the drive—eyes focused on the road or the DVD screen, clocking miles. We took a different approach with the November Style feature; we did the five-hour drive in the course of two days in a rental RV and a rundown van dubbed “Vantastic to get some shots in the name of winter fashion. We stopped at the trailer parks, pulled into the out of commission gas stations, sampled the Alien Jerky, trespassed, and in the end, pissed off the freaky people that call the 395 home.
We found out that for the most part, the locals don’t like unexpected company. At one not-so-abandoned building, we got chased by a local yelling something about “hipsters. The old guy came out of his cabin across the street threatening to beat us all with a crowbar. We left. Meth lab? A few stops later, we met a guy with a sawed off shotgun at a gas station that hasn’t pumped gas since the Great Depression. Another Meth lab, or were the bodies out back? Shaun McKay was all perplexed, commenting that, “these people act like they have nice stuff to protect, as we were burning rubber away from another partially erect building. Not long after that, we met some old guys who’d been chilling at the same Brady’s Mobil gas station for the last fifty years—just chilling. One old guy was especially excited to show the girls how well endowed he was. We left. Then, Johnny Law kicked us out of the Pearsonville hubcap junkyard (Pearsonville is the Hubcap Capital Of The World!), which was too bad because the junkyard was filled with photogenic relics from the 60’s when they designed stuff for the “Space Age. Including a bizarro Back To The Future aluminum Delorian outfitted with a joystick and keyboard.
It was fun, and we lived, but our advice for your next trip up to Mammoth is to put the pedal to the metal, avoid the locals, don’t break down, and only stop for gas.
Lauren Graham is a Vancouver, Canada based filmmaker who produced the girls snowboard films Shot In The Dark and Conformed . She won the 2004 Best In Show at the Panasonic Filmmaker Showdown at the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival for her short film Insert Meaning Here. She’s currently working on a documentary on the Whiskey Snowboard videos.
Shaun McKay rides for 686 Outerwear, K2 Snowboards, ThirtyTwo, Etnies, Dragon, Def Con, Airblaster, and Active Ride shop. Shaun enjoys dawn patrol surf sessions with his girlfriend Kelly and he rarely leaves the confines of Oceanside, California during the summer months. This is his third year filming with Neoproto, check him out in Some Kinda Life.
Jared Johnson was the unofficial TransWorld mascot during the 04/05 winter. He rides for Electric, Santa Cruz, Etnies, and ThirtyTwo. Look for him in Animatic productions movie out of Bear Mountain, No Big Deal, and getting B.G.P. in Neoproto films … and really, all over the place. Jared drives a Land Cruiser, which is outfitted with a roof tent—the patent is pending.
Kevin Casillo rides for Salomon, Bonfire, Grenade Gloves, Jack’s Garage, and Scott goggles. He lives in Mammoth via Jersey. Casillo added his own sense of fashion to the shoot—sort of a retro 80’s dirt thing. Kevin makes the rounds between Portland, Mammoth, LA, and San Diego during the off-season. Pretty much showing up wherever the parties are.
Dirk Dye rides for Option, ThirtyTwo, Von Zipper, Mission Six, Etnies, and Amerikan Denim. He lives up in South Lake Tahoe with good buddy Ryan Baca. They make really cool Super 8 movies. This year’s Arrex Production is called Wake Up Lucid . Check it out at arrex.com—it’s awesome.
Sara Phillips rides for Nitro Snowboards, Holden Outerwear, Atmosphere, Anon, and Grenade. Sara isn’t like us at all—she’s British. She has great style on rails and a great attitude toward life and snowboarding. Her favorite word is “thanks. She plans on filming with Misschief this winter and to keep getting the shot.