A few of us from the Enlightened Equipment team just got back from a two-week road trip out to Oregon and back. Our goal was to meet up with several customers along the way, photograph our products with some different backdrops and attend PCT Days out in Cascade Locks, Oregon. It was a lot of driving, but we had a really successful trip and wanted to give you a peek at what we were up to.
We started out in Winona, drove through South Dakota and stopped in the Badlands for our first backdrop.
We spent a night in the Badlands at a campground out in one of the valleys that breaks up the hills. The texture and dynamic of the hills and ravines were surprising. Out of the miles of grassland, they appeared out of nowhere and quickly captured our attention. After a morning of shooting some Bivy photos, we kept heading west.
We spent a night in Montana and stopped the next day in Idaho where we met our first customer, Heath.
It was great spending the morning with Heath listening to his way of enjoying the outdoors. Heath is a bike packer and uses a Convert because he loves the versatility and low weight. While interviewing Heath a moose emerged from the woods and joined us. He hung around for a good hour. It was an amazing experience and we appreciated his photogenic poses.
Next up was Cascade Locks, Oregon! Before setting up at the event, we met up with another customer, Zee Traveler.
Zee is a home free motorcycle vagabond and certainly knows the definition of adventure. With her life packed on her bike, there's no telling where she might go or what she might see. We had a blast meeting her and hearing some of the crazy stories she had to share. If you want to follow her adventures as she lives off her motorcycle, you can find her adventures on Facebook.
After a week of driving, we made it to PCT Days and set up our booth. It was a blast to see so many people show up.
It was great being at our first PCT Days. There were thousands of people that showed up. Many were thru-hikers, others drove long distances and some were locals, all coming to get their hands on some gear. We enjoyed talking to so many of our customers who had our gear and shared experiences. We also got to talk to hundreds of people who had heard of us, but never touched a quilt up close. We're definitely planning to go back.
While we were at PCT Days we had the opportunity to meet up with a family who used our quilts to bike pack.
Eric and his wife Reina have three kiddos and are a bikepacking family. Trying to backpack with three kids is a bit overwhelming with the weight of all the gear that's necessary. They found that moving to bikes allows them to experience the outdoors and get outside with their kids without having to carry a ton of weight. They absolutely love their quilts that make it possible for them to pack their gear down into their bike bags. They shared their journey with us and we're excited to share it with you.
After we left Oregon, we headed back home. This time, we went south towards Idaho to meet up with Mike, a bikepacking customer from the Boise area.
Mike is intense. He's an experienced biker that has competed in many biking events and relies on his simple and ultralight setup for the rest he needs on his rides. He's currently training for the the Idaho Smoke ‘n’ Fire 400. It's a 400ish mile self-supported mountain bike route traversing some of Idaho’s diverse geography on two-track, big gravel and dirt forest service roads, single track and some paved roads. We have mad respect for his endurance and gear choice!
We said farewell to Mike and kept heading east. Our last stop was in Rapid City, South Dakota to meet up with Paulette. Who's one active, persistent and strong woman.
Paulette and her husband live in a beautiful home right on the edge of the woods. It gives her access to a both the Deer Creek Trail and Centennial Trail that go right past their house. When she's not at work, she can be found on a trail somewhere breathing in the life and energy she finds outside. She's accomplished some incredible feats including a hiking race in France that was over 866km (531mi). She's currently training to do the same race self-supported next year. It was inspiring to hear her share the passion she has for being outside.
With two weeks under our belt and a new set of tires on the van, we were glad to be home. We had a great trip meeting up with customers and listening to their stories. We also really enjoyed our experience interacting with people at PCT Days. We hope you’ll stay tuned for some of the stories we will be sharing in the coming months. Till then, follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see some of the awesome things our customers are doing.
We'll see you out there.