North to South

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This book is historical non-fiction based on a 2000 mile bicycle trip from the Northwest tip of washington to the US mexican border. The charactors are based on people i met along the way and their lives as the intersected with me.

Transcript of North to South

  • 2010 Moses Winterwind Zderic

    All stories and photographs are orginals done by Moses

    Winterwind Zderic.

    Thanks to all the freinds and family that halped with the trip and

    this book. I couldnt have done it with out you.

    Contact author at for up and

    coming projects or questions.


    to S



    North to SouthA book of photography and short stories by

    MosesWinterwind Zderic Zderic, Moses W. North to South, Olympia, Washington:

    Promise Land publishing, December 2010

  • North

    to S



    North to SouthA book of photography and short stories by

    MosesWinterwind Zderic

  • June 21st 2010, the day of the summer solstice, I was standing at the Northwest tip of Washington State, in a little town

    called Neah Bay. Neah Bay is an Indian reservation that is run by the Makah tribe. That day, I stood at the edge of cliff

    looking west; I was about to embark on a road trip unlike any other. I stood there and watched the dark rain clouds blow in

    from the Pacific Ocean and listened to the waves rush in and crash against the rocks a hundred feet below me. That day was

    the start of my adventure.

    Earlier in June I packed all the necessary equipment on my bike. Camping gear, extra cloths and anything that could

    help me get through the next 38 days of riding was included. I towed a single wheel bike trailer and on the rear rack of my

    bike I carried two panniers. All together, I started riding with about 65 pounds of gear. In the panniers I also packed four

    cameras, which included a 35 mm, Medium Format Holga, Digital SLR and a Super 8 movie camera. My goal was to

    discover the West Coast in a different way.

    My start place was the Northwest tip of Washington and my end point was the Southwest point of the U.S. Mexico

    border. I embarked with no expectation and no real knowledge of what lay ahead for me. Daily I kept a journal of events,

    people and distance traveled. Visually I captured the moments and the landscape from the side of the road. From North to

    South I rode through the rainy logged hills of Washington State to Oregon. Through Oregon I followed the coast down

    along the steep and windy cliffs, with long rolling crescent beaches and beautiful sand dunes. As I rode into Northern

    California the air quickly came consumed with long days of cold fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean. Then to avoid the

    treacherous California Lost coast I headed inland to the dry and hot hills of Highway 101. Soon after, I headed back over the

    hills and down to the cool ocean air. I headed south on Highway 1 and hugged the coastline the rest of the way as I began my

    descent into the crowded busy streets of Southern California. Through the flat Southern California coast I was forced to steer

    through pedestrians on crowded beach bike paths, until I arrived at the U.S. Mexican border on August 4th 2010. This book,

    North to South, is a collection of images from my journey and short stories about the people I encountered on the way.


  • 2

  • I can still smell the air from that day and see the damp smooth black top as Nicolas and I descend around the corner. It is almost July and Ive been on the road now for seven days. Nicolas, the French kid from Paris that I have been traveling with since yesterday, was leading us to our next destination. He is much faster than I am and generally throughout the day has kept a good 100 yards ahead. Nicolas is like a kid in candy land; I could see it in his eyes; he has a thirst for adventure. This was Nicolas second time in the States, the time before hed visited a family friend in New York. This visit would be very different from his first.

    Nicolas silver aluminum road bike is loaded with only the essentials: one change of clothes, a tent, sleeping bag and some cooking gear, that is it. He brought a helmet with him but I hardly saw it on his head. Most of the time it is tied to his panniers on the back of his bike. It is a big helmet and looks kind of like a snowboarding helmet; I could see why he didnt want to wear it. He would tell me later that he brought it just to give his mother piece of mind and that he never really intended to wear it. A couple times he had me take pictures of him wearing it while he rode his bike, so he could send them back to his mother to keep her from worrying.

    Sometimes I envy Nicolas for his lack of gear. Still trailing sluggishly behind I pedal faster to catch up to Nicolas. As I round the corner, Nicolas has already become a speck on the road ahead. The landscape quickly changes and the road becomes smooth and the lines freshly painted. The bright double yellow lines in the center of the road contrasts against

    the dark, wet black top and make a trail to follow that seems to go in for miles.

    On the right, the road borders the ocean and I can feel the cool brisk air on my face. On the other side of the road, all I can see is wetlands littered with fields of freshly green skunk cabbage. The smells from the ocean mix with the aroma from the skunk cabbage to create a pleasing sweet, salty smell that fills the air as I rush to catch up with Nicolas. In the distance, I can see white hills on either side of the road and Nicolas stopped between them waiting for me. Giant piles of oyster shells, Nicolas says in his thick French accent, as I stop next to him in the middle of the road. Seagulls circle the piles that are scattered all over the landscape, occasionally diving down and landing on the shells. Their gray and white feathers camouflage against the gray and white piles seeming to disappear as they land to pick leftovers off the shells.

    I can see the bright yellow lines end and what looks like a town in the distance. Riding with one hand on the handlebars and one on my hip I lead us into town, Nicolas follows close behind. The streets are empty and all the buildings look closed and boarded up. Its a ghost town, I say riding in the middle of the street. Its going to get dark soon, I think we should find camp, I say turning back to Nicolas riding behind me.

    At camp, Nicolas and I start to unpack our bikes. From town to the campground there was still no one to be seen.

    Part one: The French Kid

    Kneel to me Neil and The French kid

    Part two: Neil


  • I remember seeing what looked like a grocery store a little further up. I wanted to get camp set up and then go get food and other supplies needed for the evening. Nicolas sits at the table at our campground as I set up my tent in the corner, Out of the shadows of the trees a short stocky figure appears, stumbling toward us. A man that looked weathered by the sun, hands filled, gets closer to our camp, tripping over his feet and almost spilling the tall can of Mickeys he holds close to his mouth. The man walks up to Nicolas still sitting at the picnic table and sets his can of beer and the rest of the contents of his hands down on the bench. Whats your name? The man says abruptly with a glazed look on his face. The words barely make sense as the man tries to speak. As I continue to get camp set up, Nicolas and the man sit across from each other at the table. The man raises his voice and says, My name is Neil Oberstake and it is a mistake to mess with an Oberstake! Whats going on here? I ask, as I approach Nicolas and the man sitting at the table. The man looks up startled, wide-eyed, like he didnt see me standing there. The man quickly stands almost falling over and grabs the hood of my sweatshirt, then pulls it over my face as he pushes me away. Hey! Hey! I yell muffled from underneath the hood of sweatshirt. I wrestle to get my hood up away from my face and when I do the man stands there with a knife; blade pointed directly at me. The man pauses as he regains his balance and sits back down staring intensely into Nicolas eyes. It seems like the man had it out for Nicolas as soon as he walked up.

    Nicolas sits at the picnic table bench across from Neil. His eyes locked in with Neils eyes, holding, trying not to be the first to break contact or blink, so not to show weakness. The sun begins to fade behind the tall trees that surround the campsite and the mist around us turns from transparent to glowing gold. The remnants of a storm that recently passed scatters the forest floor all around us and Nicolas and Neil remain in intense contact with each other. Neils hand grips tightly around Nicolas wrist to show just how powerful he is. Nicolas sits there with his fists clenched, eyes still connected waiting for a chance to escape Neils tight mental and physical grasp. Between them the knife rest, blade deeply imbedded into the weather-faded wooden picnic table.

    Kneel to me, Neil says with a toothless grin on his face. My name is Neil, now, kneel to me! Neil says aggressively as he reaches for the blade between them. Neils jaw clenches and his nostrils flare as he pulls the knife out of the table. Again Neil repeats KNEEL! then stabs the blade into the table in front of Nicolas face, pulling it out almost immediately. TO! he says stabbing close to the same spot. ME! he says stabbing the knife a third time into the table this time leaving it there. Neil stares with bloodshot eyes. His one tooth stands alone in his mouth with a drunken gaze on his face, waiting for a reaction from Nicolas. Nicolas just sits there in silence, his whole body clenched and ready to protect himself. Neil leans back and lets go of his tight grip around the knife handle,

    Part Three: Neil and Nicolas


  • slaps his hand on the table and throws his head back and starts to chuckle