Part II: Men On A Mission-Hollister, California to Kalispell, Montana
(Editor's Note-This is part two of a three-part series documenting the adventures-and misadventures-of Four Wheeler Technical Editor Sean Holman and Senior Editor Ken Brubaker as they wheeled an '05 Hummer H2 SUT 3,698 miles from California to Illinois. Their nine-day, nine-state journey included camping and an off-highway foray each day.)
7:45 a.m., Ridgemark Golf and Country Club, Hollister, California: We haven't even started our trip yet and Brubaker is already injured. While loading the H2 SUT, he briskly walked into the open rear passenger door and split his eyebrow above his left eye. Holman quickly noted that it must've really hurt, judging by the loud crack, and then he checked the door for damage. Meanwhile, Brubaker sprinted for the motel room with blood gushing down his face and promptly ran into the door frame. Holman begins to wonder if this trip is really a good idea.
11:20 a.m., Hollister Hills SVRA, Hollister, California: The H2 is loaded, the last Top Truck Challenge award has been handed out, and Brubaker has finally managed to control the bleeding. After a brief stint in front of the fourwheeler.com video cameras, fellow Primedia staffers and Top Truck Challenge competitors bid us farewell as we point the H2 toward the Hollister Hills SVRA loop road to get a token trail in for the day. This will be our only trail of Day One because we have over 600 miles of driving to do before nightfall. If we're not in North Bend, Oregon by 10:00 p.m., we get locked out of the KOA Campground. Who's the idiot who put this itinerary together? (Ahem, that would be Ken.-Sean)
2:50 p.m., Chevron gas station, Williams, California: While Holman pumps fuel, Brubaker enters the store, grabs a Coke, and leaves without paying for it. Store staff are stunned at the boldness of the theft and warily approach Brubaker at the pump, where he's cleaning (bugs) from the windshield of the H2. Brubaker blames the oversight on head injury and on having to listen to Holman drone on for the last 210 minutes. Holman snaps into Cop Mode (he was a Criminal Justice major) and defuses a tense larceny standoff. As we leave, Holman once again wonders if this trip is really a good idea.
10:06 p.m., KOA Campground, North Bend, Oregon: The campground is still open, and ATVs are swarming all over the place. We set up our Coleman tents by the light of our Hummer genuine accessory roof-mounted lights. Surprisingly, we set up camp for the first time with minimal embarrassment. With shelter established, we spend nearly four hours in the laundry room writing, and slowly sending our first blog for fourwheeler.com via dial-up connection. We are determined to find high-speed connections from now on. The H2 has taken us 663.2 miles so far.