There’s something special about sitting around a crackling campfire in the wilderness. It’s a place for conversation and reflection. It’s a unique setting that can be found anywhere on the planet, but only by those who actively seek it.
A campfire can take on many different forms, depending on whom you ask, from a handmade rock formation in the middle of the woods to a San Francisco rooftop fire pit with a propane tank. However, the one consistent theme is the desire to turn off the computer monitor and simply get outdoors.
While spending some time camping on the Oregon coast at Hotel Tacoma, we got the chance to pick the brains of some of Toyota’s elite extreme athletes. In the latest installment of “Around the Campfire,” we sat down with professional BMXer Drew Bezanson to see just what camping means to him.
What’s your earliest camping memory?
Probably as a kid, just going to a summer camp — there was a summer camp that me and my sisters used to go to. Or just camping with my parents, going on summer vacation, back home in Nova Scotia [Canada]. Pretty remote, but super fun.
What’s your favorite camping food?
I think I’d have to go with the classic s’more. It’s the one food that you really don’t eat unless you’re out camping, in front of a bonfire.
What’s one place you’d love to camp that you’ve never camped before?
I’ve been to New Zealand, but I’d love to go camping there. It’s such a beautiful country. [While there] I stayed in a hotel, so it’d be an amazing place to just go off the grid and just explore.
New Zealand has amazing waves. Do you surf?
I surf a little bit. It’s one of those things, like, every time I do go surfing, I absolutely love it. It’s such a humbling sport. But it’s something I don’t crave, because I feel I’m too impatient to paddle out, wait for a wave. You miss a wave, it’s like, ‘Ugh, I gotta go back and wait for another one.’ [Laughs.]
With BMX or dirt bikes or anything like that, [if] you mess up, you can just turn around [and] go right back to it. You’re kinda in control.
Do you prefer tent camping or an RV?
Tent for sure. I grew up racing dirt bikes, and we brought a tent to every race. A lot of guys had the RVs, but it was more affordable for the family just to bring the tent. It’s more of an adventure just doing that rather than [to] bring your house on wheels.
You’re camping and you hear a large animal lurking outside your tent. What do you do?
Just ride it out, I think. [Laughs.] I would just stay in my sleeping bag. If you make a ruckus, I feel like the thing would just think you’re lunch. But it depends on how close it was and what my surroundings were. If I knew there was a big tree outside that I could get up quick, I might climb the tree, or if I had a vehicle or something like that …
But if was out in remote area and it was just me in a tent and nothing else around, I think I’d just lay back and ride it out.
What advice would you give to a first-time camper?
If you’re tenting, put a tarp down first, just so you don’t wake up with a wet tent bottom. That’ll turn a lot of people off. And then maybe if you’re [a] real, true city slicker, maybe an air mattress, just because the ground might be a little too rough for you.
Acoustic guitar sing-along or wireless speaker with Pandora around the campfire?
Yeah, definitely the [acoustic] jams. You never know what’s going to show up. It’s more campfire, ya know? If you’re going to bring Pandora in, you might as well stay at home.
More “Around the Campfire” with pro athletes on GrindTV