Odyssey Miami. Full team, warm weather, overshadowed city. Ride bikes all day, good food and chills at night. Time-tested plan for a trip. And it was for the most part. The healthy guys got an insane amount of footage considering somewhat limited spots, the weather cooperated, and the city was facilitating enough for us to do our thing.
But no trip is without a downside. The guys got amazing clips; It’s very safe to say riders in Miami for a long time will be asking “so what did Odyssey do here?” We definitely left our mark in that objective which is the ultimate goal of these missions. But Dugan was hurt the entire trip, and there was a gnarly 24 hour plague that took out Jacob and Travis at different times. Beyond those, I’ll have to go into more detail.
Miami is really picturesque. I didn’t have any idea how nice the city is, I was projecting a typical large American city with all its inherent grime. What I saw were young skyscrapers projecting out of canal after canal, with drawbridges connecting sides of the swamp/ocean/river junctions. And wildlife was everywhere. Some of the crew came a day early on their own dime to rent cars and motorcycles and drive down Key West. They brought back reports of flaming orange iguanas unknown to them before. We had plenty of lizards at the Air BnB, and we even saw a manatee family which was apparently a very rare occurrence though they inhabit much of Miami.
Manatees are calm creatures, however, their fellow Miamian human neighbors are not. From the first spot of the first day, we battled rageful people with grudges concentrated and focused directly on us. I was taken aback. It didn’t take long to establish a pattern of this behavior, I tried as best I could to write off each run-in as an isolated angry person. I really don’t know what it is. It was like a Monsanto MachoBrand testosterone chemical oozes from the nearby swamp and turns adult men AND women into raging insensible lunatics. Some examples: day one spot one, beat up looking woman would not move two feet down for us to ride a ledge that is literally hundreds of feet long, yet only the six feet she was squarely parked on was rideable. The Air BnB host confiscated the bike rack we had shipped to the house day before the trip, and held it hostage for a ransom of $80. This was after a fiasco TM Walter Pieringer had to deal with regarding the booking of this house. Text him about it, he’d love to tell the story. Third example: the bicycle cop who rode up like a one man calvary while Aaron was finishing up a rail move. He approached Aaron with ‘ARE YOU STUPID?’ on repeat like a broken wind-up GI-Joe that was melted into a lower-grade law enforcement bike iteration. To be fair, there were some in our group on this trip who were not working with the forces who didn’t see eye-to-eye on our BMX activities, but Aaron was not one. He rightfully became defensive against this bike cop who was having a power orgasm, which continued on for fifteen minutes. I thought for certain it would come to a brawl with Aaron assuredly ending up losing.
But nothing compares to the Jet Ski rental guy. We planned a recovery day towards the middle-end of the trip with nothing on the agenda but to rent jet skis and track down Cuban food. At this point we’d come to understand the Miami attitude, and why Dexter was driven to do his acts here. At first this guy was straight ‘cool guying’ with us. With a sly side smile he laid out the sole rules: stay in between the lead and tail boats, and stay spread out. Easy enough, let’s get to it!
As soon as we were done taxiing out to what we assumed but were never told was the open area, the lead guide waved his arms in a ‘spread out’ signal. Time to roast! We all spread out and got to open up our machines, but nearly instantly the tail boat came blazing through with his boat horn penned down. He was PISSED that we were not between the two guide boats. But how do we spread out yet stay in line? It didn’t make sense, but I figured maybe we just weren’t to the actual designated recreation spot. So after that huge flare up we continued on, slowly.
At the next area where we thought it was time to spread out and, you know, actually do jet ski stuff that same blowup happened! The guides were pissed again. At this point a couple things happened. The guys who had experience with jet skis realized they weren’t going to have fun like they wanted to, and the ones without experience realized this tour sucked and threw all fucks aside. That’s when the show began.
Walter was in the lead ski boat with the guide so that he could film the group. So he and the irate guide watched as half of the boats idled with little idea of what the fuck was going on, while one boat, captained by the very 17 year old Travis Hughes was going nuts. He was hauling ass at the rest of us, zig zagging in and out, and generally disrupting shit. And he was having a blast. We realized the tour was basically a lost cause and were mentally trying to pick up the pieces and figure out just what these guides had intended. At a certain point I looked over at the ski boat and saw the guide with his hands in a choke-hold around Walter’s camera.
Oh Shit! We gunned it over to the boat, as I thought we were all going to have to commandeer the craft and mutiny against this mad Puerto Rican. When we got there we heard the tail end of the argument. But Walter relayed the incident after we were back on land.
The guide was shouting at Walter to ‘control his guys,’ and ‘be a man’! He thought that Walter had a magical leash with us that transcended hundreds of yards and above noisey watercraft in a bay. Through all of his nonsensical demands Walter kept on filming, which pissed the dude off even more as he thought Walter put us up to this, like we were filming a Jackass episode (it would have been incredibly boring. In the grand scheme we were not at all putting each other in danger.) The guy kept threatening to throw Walter overboard and smash his camera, to which Walter replied ‘do it!’
Once back at port, I think it was Broc who gave the most apt realization of what the rental company expected from the trip: a Segway tour on Jet Skis.
If there’s a silver lining to this, and none of us were really too bummed about it but certainly upset Odyssey wasted the money on that dickhead, it was that the guy was a lifelong Miami resident who ran boat tours and had never seen a Manatee. We saw a pack of five Manatees day one. - AW