We follow one photographer, surfer, and overland traveller – Ross Ruddell, as he prepares to embark on an epic journey down the pan-American highway, surfing his way from California to Tierra del Fuego, over the course of three years. This is his story. You can keep up to date with Ross’s adventures right here, and at Project Bliss.
Over to Ross:
Home is a funny word. To me it means the Central Coast of California.
But it also means the South Shore of Hawai’i, or South Kingston in
Rhode Island. For now, home means San Luis Obispo. My Dad and
Step-mom, Sara, have a condo here across from Cal Poly. They’ve
been kind enough to donate a lily-pad for me until I leave in November.
It’s been great to spend time with them before I go.
I have been here for a week and a half, fresh off a final month-long
surf/wedding/adventure bender in the Northeast. I left the East Coast
and it was summer’s end. As if by clockwork the day after Labor Day
brought a chill to the air. I flew to San Diego and it was raining. I
took the Amtrak 777 Surfliner Train from there to SLO where it was 90
degrees…at 9:00 p.m. I have officially entered some sort of travel
induced weather pattern vortex. This last week coastal temperatures
were in the triple digits. This is a rarity. Paso Robles, the inland
heat-magnet, was 15 degrees cooler than the beach. This week, we’ve
got another hot one, and as I’m writing the warm Santa Ana winds are
blowing from the East (straight offshore, I snuck a quick surf in this
morning before getting to work on this).
The weather is all sorts of confused and so am I. Though in a way,
confusion, unrest, fluid living arrangements have all but become the norm. Constant, confusing, and changing, this is where I feel at home now.
Last week a few more affairs for the trip got in order. My adventure
trailer made a maiden voyage from Templeton to Josh’s house in Arroyo
Grande for final tweaks. It’s probably 90% done, but damn, that 10% is
HELL. It’s all those little things, waterproofing, making sure the
wheels don’t fall off…
I did another mental gear-review and have come up with a few more
things I am going to need. The item that immediately comes to mind is
a two-burner stove (thank you Adam for bringing this up!). Ill be
car-camping (overlanding) for quite some time and cooking food easily
and efficiently is going to make life so much more sustainable. So
Craigslist has been open on my computer almost constantly, trying to
find the best deal I can. Im in a bidding war with some dude in China
– fingers crossed.
I ordered some more steel to make a roof-rack that’ll hold my
solar-panel set-up on the trailer. I cleaned out my car. I am doing a
final pre-flight check before the rotors start spinning.
High tide is in about two hours. The swell, though nothing amazing, is
pretty consistent. Head high waves section, and sometimes peel down
the sandbars. It’s sunny and 95 on the coast. Bands of heat are rising
from the sand dunes looking over the Pacific Ocean. The weather should hold over the next few days, go enjoy and explore something new this week. Im gonna get another wave or two.
Ross Ruddell, 29, San Luis Obispo, Calif.