The Juice Bar

My muses, thoughts, ideas, and whatever

Friday, April 29, 2005

OK. I'm going to try to start my blog once again, and post on it at least occasionally. I'll see I can keep this up longer than the blog I tried to start last year. :)

To start with, I'll blog about a really cool documentary I saw last night:

Dust to Glory -
A documentary about the Baja 1000, the world's most famous off-road race, run annually from the north end to the south end of the Baja peninsula in Mexico. I remember reading about this race a long time ago, and I found the concept fascinating, an off-road race through some of the roughest terrain you can imagine. There are no paved roads running from the north end of the Baja peninsula to the other, so it truly is some remote, wild country.

The documentary didn't disappoint me. In fact, I found it a real adrenaline kick. The filmmaker behind this film had previously done a surfing documentary. Surfing is a beautiful sport and is fun to watch, but since I don't live anywhere near an ocean and have never surfed before, I don't feel any personal connection to it. However, I love driving on long road trips, and driving fast is fun, so I really could imagine myself in the race, and I liked this very much.

The variety of people in this race is fascinating, since it is open to all comers. You see everything from million-dollar cars that look like something out of a science fiction movie, to motorcycles, to VW Beetles (the original, not the new Beetle). Those are the true hardcore racers, riding in an unmodified Beetle over this kind of hard dirt racing. The different kinds of vehicles are separated into classes, and people from each class are profiled. You see professional race car drivers like Mario Andretti and Robby Gordon, but most of these people are just ordinary guys and girls who do it for the love of the sport. One of the guys profiled was a motorcycle racer who did the entire 1000 miles by himself (all the other racers did it in teams, in shifts). That is a heck of an accomplishment. One of the most intriguing people profiled was not someone in the race. It was a guy who lost a leg in an accident years ago, who set up his own roadside station, decorated with trash from previous races: beer bottles, car parts, etc. He offers refreshments to any racers coming by, with a smile. Another interesting guy was a guy nicknamed the "Weatherman", who sat in a communications station atop a mountain, coordianting radio transmissions between the teams throughout the race.

The race also draws a great deal of fans lining the dirt roads. It was scary to see people lined up in close to a narrow dirt road in which cars are racing by at 100 miles per hour!

Just filming a race like this is quite an accomplishment in itself, and the documentary offers a lot of terrific footage: overhead shots from helicopters, cameras inside the vehicles themselves, and cameras set up along the way.

So if you see a chance to see this film, it is well worth checking out. Distribution is spotty, it only played for a week where I live. This will likely be one of my favorite films of the year!