"The Last Best Place"

They call Montana "The Last Best Place" for obvious reasons. It's preserved, wild, and secluded in comparison to other US destinations. Like most people, I've considered visiting Montana for the longest time, but it always lost to other domestic destinations because of convenience and proximity. I assumed it was beautiful, untouched, wild, and full of adventure, but I never got the opportunity to stake claim in the Big Sky Country...until now.

Bota Box, a like-minded and adventurous premium boxed wine, invited me to go on an adventure with them somewhere in the US. We chatted about a variety of locations, but decided that Montana was that place.

 Boots and Bota! 

Boots and Bota! 

I have friends who live in Missoula, a city in Western Montana, and know people who have visited the Glacier National Park. So when it came to trip planning within Montana, I naturally searched for alternative destinations, and settled on exploring the Bitterroot-Selway, one of the largest designated wilderness areas in the United States spanning across Idaho and Montana. 

So we packed our bags with the essentials: socks, toothbrush, bear spray, and a bunch of wine to share with our soon to be friends in Montana, and headed north for a three-day adventure into the backcountry. I honestly had no idea what to expect, so I was running off a bit of excitement during the seven-hour trip from Los Angeles.

After a quick nap and a Denver layover, we touched down at the Missoula Airport and opted to discover this region by compact rental car…my first and only mistake of the trip. 

First Stop: Missoula, Montana

 Chlling alongside the Clark Fork River with Downtown Missoula in the Background.

Chlling alongside the Clark Fork River with Downtown Missoula in the Background.

We dropped off our bags at the hotel, grabbed a box of Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon, some recyclable cups, and headed for Brennan's Wave, a man made surf break along the Clark Fork River. Upon arrival I noticed Missoula has just the right balance to get an Angeleno like myself acclimated to Montana living. Bars, restaurants, and a river full of adventure, was just what I needed. Perfect! 

After watching dudes hang ten, nine hours away from the nearest ocean wave, I headed into town to meet up with an old friend. I told him about my trip to the Bitterroot-Selway, and spent the evening catching up over the last 15 years. He found this bit of paradise after graduating high school and never turned back, and I don't blame him. Before saying our goodbyes, he urged us to check out some hot springs before venturing into the wilderness.

Second Stop: Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Hiking to the Hot Springs

This was pretty cool, or should I say hot...very hot. We started our adventure early the next morning and made our way, to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Let me tell you, I didn't expect the "hot springs" to be this hot, but of course they were, and definitely worth the 20-minute hike. Also unexpected were the nudie booties who showed up to greet us as we were preparing to leave. I guess clothing is optional in these parts of the woods. Moving on! 

Third Stop: Darby Style

Darby, Montana is an access town to the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness. What we thought was going to be a 30-minute drive to our campsite, slowly turned into three hours. If we had known this, or had read the directions our hosts at Storm Creek Outfitters had provided us, then we most likely wouldn't have taken the detour to the hot springs. Darby allowed us the opportunity to stock up on water, chips, and candy. All we needed was a little bit of sugar and grease to fuel us on our "short" ride to camp. Right?

Fourth Stop: Storm Creek Outfitters

Riding on amazing trails with our guides from Storm Creek Outfitters.

After a long and dusty ride on unpaved back roads (which our rental car barely survived), we made it to our campsite where our gracious hosts were waiting by an inviting fire. Since there's no cell coverage in this part of the wilderness, they were patiently waiting for us – which reminded me of life before smart phones. When we arrived they had no doubt in their minds that we were ok and were just a little lost. No stress, no signals, all good! 

 Enjoying a  Chardonnay on the trails!

Enjoying a  Chardonnay on the trails!

That night we relaxed by the fire over a few glasses of Bota Box Nighthawk Black and talked to our hosts about the area, our lives back home and what brought us into the wilderness. I had a feeling this was going to be exactly what I pictured from Montana. 

For more on this adventure, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our journey below: 

This post was sponsored by Bota Box. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.

Win a Trip to Aruba!!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a great holiday break. Welcome to 2015, and of course welcome back to In Transit! It’s been awhile, so I thought I’d post something which might be of interest to you.

If you’re following me on instagram or twitter, then you might have seen some posts before the holidays of my trip to Aruba , where I was invited to shoot and edit a video for the Aruba Marriott Hotel. 

 Me shooting some B-Roll at Arikok National Park in the south of Aruba. 

Me shooting some B-Roll at Arikok National Park in the south of Aruba. 

It went like this. 8 of us were invited (4 video bloggers, and 4 traditional journalists) to create videos of anything we pleased, just as long as the island and hotel were featured. In total there were 4 teams, each duo consisting of a video blogger and a traditional journalist. We were given two days to shoot and another day and a half to edit before submitting for the hotel film festival, which would be located on property, complete with judges and an audience to vote on their favorite video. 

I was paired with Shayne Benowitz, the Hotels Editor for Miami.com, a very talented writer with a down-to-explore attitude. She was a pleasure to work with, very helpful on the producing and editing front, and we got along great during the entire collaboration.

We didn't have much of a plan going into the shoot, and with just an hour of pre-production coffee time, we decided to wing it and create a video full of objectives. Our first objective, ala typical In Transit fashion, was to walk across the island. Please note that the coast-to-coast distance in this part of the country is just 3 miles long. It's not that big of a deal to walk it. Yet, when we told locals or staff about our upcoming quest, they responded in disbelief. Some said it couldn't be done. I said "it definitely could be...the island is 3 miles wide at this point!" After our short and hot walk we decided to navigate the rest of the island by automobile. If you're interested in more of our journey, please reference the video below. 

SPOILER ALERT!! We didn’t win anything at the Film Festival…But there is a chance to win on the digital side of things, and a chance for one of you to win a three night stay at the Aruba Marriott Hotel. 

If our video gets the most views on YouTube, which ours currently does, by January 5th, then I'll reward a three night stay to the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris casino to a commenter at random. All you need to do is watch and comment on the video.

That’s it! I’m not super crazy about these contests, but I think this is a good one, and a unique opportunity to get one of you onto the island…and if nothing else, a travel video to brighten up your day.

HOW TO WIN RECAP

1. Watch this video - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqMGs8_w9fY)

2. Leave a comment, any comment. 

3. If the video gets the most views by January 9th, I'll select a commenter at random (most likely out of a hat, and probably on video so you'll know it's legit) to reward a three night stay at the Marriott. 

That’s it!

Again, Happy New Year everyone!! Expect to see more content in the near future. 

Filming in Venice Beach, California

If you've ever traveled to Los Angeles, chances are you've spent a day cruising around Venice Beach, taking in the craziness of the circus-like environment, while also enjoying the abundance of ocean activities. Joining me a day of hanging out and filming is Joshua Johnson, travel ninja and all around cool guy. So our day began introducing Venice Beach, underneath it's famous sign welcoming you to the boardwalk. 

Luka setting up the opening shot of the Venice Beach Episode

Venice Beach is full of unique characters, and well known locations like Muscle Beach, the courts of "White Men Can't Jump," and other iconic LA seaside landmarks.

White Men Can't Jump

So we shot some hoops before strolling the boardwalk. 

White Man Can Jump! 

There's no shortage of unique characters to keep you entertained here. Hours and dollars can be spent tipping street performers and beggars for great entertainment..  Any photo or video we shot was usually accompanied with a tip. If not, it was usually forced on us, or they'd request us deleting the photos. This blog post would have much more photos, but our pockets weren't deep enough to pay everyone off. For more freaks, watch the video at the end. 

Strumming along. 

However, there's a calmer side to Venice that many people don't see during their visits - and that's the residential area of the Venice Canals.

Venice Canals! 

Before the popularity of the automobile, and their infestation to dirt paths around LA, it wasn't uncommon to see people traveling these canals by gondolier. This quickly changed once the car took over. What was once 26 canals are now just 5. 

Although a great reminder of Venice's past it's also a great refuge from the craziness of Venice Beach.

Skipping Stones

After some stone skipping, the boardwalk called us back for the sunset and some beer. 

Street Performer - Venice Beach

Lifeguard Sunset

And that was our day in Venice Beach. If you want to see more of our experience, please watch the video below, and don't forget to subscribe.

Filmed and edited by Bright Visuals.  

Photos courtesy of Nika Koncilja

In Transit: Los Angeles

Hey everyone! Thought I'd say hi in a quick post about what's new at In Transit. After a few month hiatus of moving into a house and having a baby, I'm finally settled and down to blog! 

As a creator of travel and adventure videos, a common question I get is, "where you off to next, Pete?" and to be honest, I usually don't have a great answer for that. This usually depends on a few variables, but financing the production is usually what determines where and how we'll go. So if not paying out of pocket, this process can take a long time. While sitting at my desk, emailing various brands and Boards of Tourism about a potential collaborations, I constantly advise myself to go out and explore Los Angeles...where more often than not, I ignore myself and explore the internet instead.  

Another question I get is "How do I start traveling, Pete?" A lot of aspiring travelers want to venture out and explore, but usually can't because of time and money. That's a valid reason! Not everyone can afford to pack up for a month long trip abroad. So I usually respond by recommending "travel" their own city, or neighboring town. It's natural to desire a foreign place, but in terms of learning how to travel, I recommend packing a day bag and setting out for local adventures nearby. Which leads me to what's going on with In Transit.....

I've been living in Los Angeles for 8 years, and during this time I've seen what I thought is a lot for one person to see of a city. But oh brother was I wrong! There are so many neighborhoods that make this city an amazing place to live and visit.  So while I sit here exploring the Internet, I'm reminded once again to explore LA... and of course, capture the experience through video.

A couple talented film-makers from Bright Visuals, a production studio in Slovenia, recently visited Los Angeles to help produce a few episodes of In Transit: LA. Below is the 1st video where I pick them up from LAX and spend the day exploring neighboring town, Inglewood. 







My Peter Tosh T-Shirt and his 69th Earthstrong

Growing up I was a huge fan of Peter Tosh. If you don't know his music, then do yourself a favor and start listening. The EQUAL RIGHTS album is probably my favorite, so if you're looking for some righteousness in your day, give this a listen. 

My most vivid memories growing up in Illinois usually had Peter Tosh involved in them. Other than listening to his music, I also owned one of his shirts from his popular album, 'Wanted Dread and Alive." When I got my driver's license at 16 years old, I was wearing that shirt. Boarding my first international flight, that same shirt followed. Keep in mind, I'm not a fan of many people, and hardly ever purchase t-shirts, but without question made an exception with acquiring a Peter Tosh one.

As a matter of fact, my brothers and I used to write letters to companies requesting free clothes. Most of my wardrobe in High School consisted of t-shirts from various companies like ComEd, Jack in the Box, Chiquita, 7-11, Xerox, and others. I'd write these companies asking for any promotional apparel, saying it was my brothers birthday and that he's a huge fan of their product(s). How someone at Xerox  believed a teenager was a fan of theirs I have no idea, but it worked. From the hundreds of companies we wrote to, few responded by shipping us shirts, pens, and hand written letters thanking us for the loyal support. Because of this, I had no need to purchase any more tees, I had plenty. Nevertheless, after seeing Peter Tosh shirt for sale online, I jumped at the opportunity and ordered it. Below are a couple pics at 16 and 17 years wearing it. 

  Left to Right: 16 yrs old drivers license, 17 yrs old 1st international flight

Left to Right: 16 yrs old drivers license, 17 yrs old 1st international flight

We've established that I'm a Peter Tosh fan. So, this October, my girlfriend and I bumped into a friend as we were walking out of a bar. Instead of wrapping up the night like we discussed, we followed him and his friend to another bar. There we proceeded to chat over some drinks. Come to find out, the friend of our friend is a manager at the Peter Tosh's Estate!  When I heard this, I naturally got very excited. After more drinks and conversation, I received an invite to visit Jamaica and celebrate the life and music of Peter Tosh for his 69th birthday. How can I say no? 

I had just finished editing the Trans-Siberian Railway series and  was in need of a mini adventure. There was no excuse not do this, so I called up my trusty director friend, Tony Corella, and we boarded an eastbound flight to JamRock for the weekend. Thus concludes this blog post and begins your viewing of part 1 and 2 of our trip (attached below).

Enjoy! 

Welcome to InTransit HQ!

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to InTransit HQ, home of the new InTransit blog/website. Things may be messy at the moment but hopefully through trial and error and a little collaborative effort from you guys, we can create something fun here. It's been on my agenda for years to create a comprehensive site, something that covers a variety of travel related subjects and not just video. So if there are topics you'd like me, or guest bloggers to write about then please contact me. WOW! Adding that hyperlink just now strangely put things into perspective. I haven't used blog software in YEARS, and I forgot how fun this is. On with the fun...

For 8 years now I've been creating and posting videos to my YouTube channel, pdrop, and haven't blogged since the days of the Walkstars and ScootStars. If you're new to my videos and don't know what those two things mean,  then I recommend clicking those  hyperlinks above to watch some older travel content. Man, I love me some hyperlinks by the way.

After the "stars" era, I then cross dissolved into the world of InTransit, which focused solely on video, no blogging. Fast forward to today, I'm now setting up a site with a blog thanks to squarespace. The simplicity of configuring a website through them is pretty stellar, and as of now, very enjoyable. After all this time, this is what I've been waiting for. I'm not sure why, but I've always had a hard time with websites, so hopefully the simplicity of creating one will allow me to be more consistent. 

While on the topic of the the good old days, let's transition to a brief history of this site (intransit.tv).  Before we do that , we must pay our respects to TheWalkstars! Prior to InTransit, we posted our journey by foot from LA to SD on a wordpress blog called thewalkstars.com. A screen shot below: 

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 10.57.34 AM.png

Pretty sick site, eh? Leaving the world of walking because of a leg injury, we started to post here, reasons being that thewalkstars was too specific of a name for a scooter trip as well as other planned  journeys in the future. This desire gave birth to intransit.tv. Welcome to the ScootStars era on intransit.tv (2007-2009) A screen shot below: 

itScootStars

Then came along the Mexico & Central America trip on Public Transportation back in 2009. Here's a coming soon version! I probably say that way too often about upcoming projects. 

 Coming soon! 

Coming soon! 

Up until now, the site has primarily taken the look and feel of the landing page below. The Mississippi River, Land Rover and the Trans-Siberian Railway trips have all lived on this. 

ITnewish

That was a brief history of this site through pictures. Who knows where things will go from here, but I hope you continue to join me along the way. 

In a video, this is where I ask  you to subscribe, like, comment, and share. Unfortunately, I don't know what do with a blog post so I'll just be on my way.