The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Along For The Ride- Media Unit

Hello, my name is Brett Bowker, the Field Director of the Team Jesse Media Unit for The Ride.  My team, consisting of myself, Andrew Durtschi and Austin Blindheim work behind the scenes taking the video and photos you see on the site.  I was honored to be provided space on the ‘The Ride’ blog to make my own entries of our perspective of this journey.  This ride is just that- a journey.  I hold no expectations, prejudices or presumptions of what each day will hold or what awaits us along the road.  This is the nature of the journey, my team and I are here to bear witness and document the mission Kevin and Matt are undertaking.  American novelist John Steinbeck documented his own journey through America in his 1962 book Travels With Charley. His only companion was Charley, a quiet and usually cowardly French poodle.  He described the American road trip so eloquently that I will let him speak for himself. "Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put into process, a new factor enters and takes over.  A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has a personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person itself and no two are alike....I feel better now, having said this, although only those who experience it will understand it."

Upon reflecting on the journey thus far we have noted the uniquely American experience of ‘the road trip’.  The team completed Act One over the Fourth of July holiday traversing 1,800 miles, having crossed four western states- California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.  Steinbeck states a journey takes you; one does not take a journey.  One cannot experience a cathartic growth without embracing the experience without prejudice. After one month of traveling, I have felt the ‘wanderlust’, a German loan word describing the strong desire or impulse to travel and explore.  Germans are so crafty with words.  Now, the road has become my home.  Our America is covered with a web of roads, highways and trails where generations of Americans ventured over and countless others may never see.  We have met travelers of all different types roaming for all different reasons.  Two of the most unique experiences I have had so far was first waiting in the Nevada desert to film the riders pedaling by.  In a simultaneous moment, the insects stopped buzzing, the winds stopped howling and not a car or person could be heard.  Pure silence, as if a vacuum sucked the sound waves out of the world.  I was alone.  I remained silent, enjoying the serene moment to myself.  The second came from our tour of southern Utah through some of the oldest landforms on the planet- Bryce Canyon, Escalante-Grand Staircase, Capitol Reef and Glen Canyon.  It was an alien world, where once a prehistoric ocean existed. It was a place where color defined time and the wind, water and sun reigned over the earth.  It was a truly humbling place as I felt infinitesimal.

As a documentarian, one of the most interesting subplots of this journey is the geographic symbolism.  Kevin hails from the Empire State of New York and his fallen comrade Jesse called the Golden State California his home.  Two people separated by thousands of miles, different personalities and cultures eventually became best friends.  Kevin rides back to his home state, in honor of Jesse; across the vast lands of the same country each called his own.  It is a sublime testament to the American character.

Several years ago, one of my greatest mentors Mark Larson described ‘the journey’.  Not just physical ones through a lacrosse season, but journeys of life and spirit.  It was not important where you got, what the results were or what conclusion you reached.  In the end, the journey is the reward.  Those words have always remained in my thoughts and I could not think of a more wonderful way to sign off.

The Journey is the Reward and To the Limit,

Brett Bowker