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The Van Jones Show

People on a Mission. Aired 21:00-22:00p ET.

Aired May 14, 2015 - 21:00   ET




And I'm on a mission to find people on a mission.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like what you do?


ROWE: Here we go.

What are they doing?

How are they doing it?

And why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love to make things that make people smile.

ROWE: It's very pretty exiting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on Mike we got to get it.

ROWE: I dare you to turn the channel.

On this episode, I get the real girths of monster trucks, and put my driving skills to the ultimate test.

That's what I'm talking about.

Then, it's bike polo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one, polo.

ROWE: A contest of champions.

Oh man I hate this game.

Or, just a good excuse to drink beer on Tuesday. And later, learning to live off the fat (ph) of the land even when the pickings a little lean (ph).

The stakes could not be higher, the pots could not be smaller. A man cannot be hungrier. ROWE: This is the Harris Bradley Arena, home to the Milwaukee Bucks. But not today. Today, the Bucks are out, the trucks are in. And this famous basketball venue is about to get a very dirty makeover.

This was a basketball court last night. I mean the whole deal, the floor, the -- you know, the nets, the court side. And these guys have about 10 hours to turn it into a monster truck jam, so they've got -- how much dirt Katy (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1,200 yards of dirt.

ROWE: How much is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 36 to 40 dump truck loads.

ROWE: There you go. 40 dump trucks full of dirt are going to come here. And we're going to go ahead and fill it up.

I didn't come here to get Monster Jam, a bunch prepress, trust me they don't need it. I came because I like to understand why hundreds of thousands of people are paying millions of dollars to watch grown men drive giant trucks with names like grave digger and maximum destruction over piles of smashed up cars.

Hence, I hang out with this guy. Morgan Kane who appears to be kind of a bid deal.

ROWE: You drive the truck, the truck is called Max D.


ROWE: Morgan Kane drives the truck, the truck will be here later. I'm told that if the stars line up right I might have an opportunity to sit in the truck anyway.

KANE: We're going to get you.

ROWE: Maybe even touch some controls.

KANE: Somebody's got to do it, so...

ROWE: You got a sense of what's happening here, everywhere you look, the dirt is coming in, it's beep, beep, beep, it's a game of venture (ph) everywhere, which is literally, it's a parade of dirt.

Of course you can't just dump the dirt, you got to shape the dirt, that requires a professional.

All right, so that's bulldozer and that's a pile of dirt and this is skits stir (ph) and this is Steve


ROWE: To be absolutely clear, that's the pile the pile of dirt back there. Let's review, skits (ph) here, pile of dirt, a guy named Steve.


ROWE: You're basically in charge to build the tracks.


ROWE: Is all the dirt here that needs to be here?

CAMACKM: No, we're short about eight rolls (ph).

ROWE: It never stops man.

CAMACKM: No (ph).

ROWE: You we're telling me earlier that your dirt is somehow special.

CAMACKM: It's not got -- nice words...

ROWE: Ain't got I believe.

CAMACKM: It ain't got no stuff in there.

ROWE: Ain't got no stuff.

CAMACKM: It holds moisture better, it's just easier on the trucks. We don't want them to dig through it.

ROWE: How many piles of dirt would you say Monster Jam owns around the country? Or is it around the world?

CAMACKM: Around the world.

ROWE: Seriously?

CAMACKM: Yes, it's crazy. They fly around to play in the dirt.

ROWE: Part of what I wanted to here is debunk the whole, you know, the red neck association with...

CAMACKM: That's not debunkable.

ROWE: Once again if I could pull worlds in your mouth, it ain't dubunkable.

CAMACKM: It ain't dubunkable, yes.

ROWE: All right. So, you've done a -- the track it self is starting to together but...


ROWE: ... what's this?

CAMACKM: In my pocket I have a handy dandy track diagram.

ROWE: Oh my goodness this is exciting.

CAMACKM: Yes, this is the log, this is loader tires.

ROWE: What happens with log?

CAMACKM: We actually bury the log in the dirt and the monster trucks will hit it straight in the air (ph).

ROWE: No kidding?


ROWE: You getting on this? There's log right down there. What kind of log is he, got logs all over the country, what kind of tree?

CAMACKM: That log came from Hampton, Virginia. Virginia Log.

ROWE: Excellent, good.

CAMACKM: We take a log with us everywhere we go.

[21:05:01] ROWE: Do you really?

CAMACKM: It's my log.

ROWE: Steve's got his very won log.

CAMACKM: I got my own log.

ROWE: He and his log has been around the world.


ROWE: You going to let me hop in the official Monster Jam skid steer thing?


ROWE: It's not my first day in a skid steer or around big pile of dirt.

CAMACKM: I want you do the face of it, make it look pretty.

ROWE: But of course experience and skill is not always one and the same.

CAMACKM: He's in the wrong spot.

ROWE: Something like that?

CAMACKM: No. No, not really.

ROWE: What's the matter with it?

CAMACKM: See how mine is nice and flat and straight?

ROWE: Yes.

CAMACKM: Yours has got a big hump in it.

ROWE: It looks pretty similar from here.

CAMACKM: How is look now?

ROWE: All right.

I think it's gone pretty well. I'm telling you man -- take off like a rocket when it is that thing.

CAMACKM: When it's the whole in the face (inaudible) top.

ROWE: Either one. All right, I'm doing a terrible job.

CAMACKM: We have bulldozer, we can fix it.

ROWE: I don't feel like I'm getting any positive feedback, you want to come in here and show me how it's done?

CAMACKM: Sure, I love to. I specially like how got her parked.

I'm pretty sure he isn't going to go anywhere.

ROWE: I don't feel as though I was adequately trained. All right.

Like every other thing in life, preparing the arena for a Monster Jam is a lot harder than it looks. Steve, sure he's a smart ass, but as you can see he's very good at what he does so is everybody else here.

When this is done, can you drive over this thing?

KANE: Oh yeah, we'll jump in it.

ROWE: No not we but I can't wait to see you do it.

KANE: What do you mean not we, don't you want to jump it?

ROWE: I'll run up there right now and I'll hop off that thing but in your vehicle unlikely.

KANE: Are you scared?

ROWE: Yeah.



ROWE: Milwaukee, this is Monster Jam.

I come to Milwaukee to explore the subtlety and new ones (ph) of giant trucks flying through the air and crushing cars. As people scramble to prepare the arena for tonight's event, I'm on hand to ask obvious questions and do what I can to slow things down. ROWE: Steve, (inaudible), big thing, there you go. Steve has put on a couple of pounds if I'm not mistaken. My goodness. (Inaudible).

I've always believe there's an 8-year-old in all of us, mine comes out when people allow me to do things I'm not really trained to do. Like operate cameras or other machines.

These are the guys to jump over.

KANE: These are the cars, yes. A lot of stuff moving around.

ROWE: This whole place is one giant moving park.

KANE: Yeah. I don't want to open up too much doors but...

ROWE: Yes, just a peek at the monster truck. We can't show it to you yet. That's enough, that's enough.

For the record, this is not a monster truck. This is a cute little buggy I've been allowed to drive.

A graceful way to do it to probably to boast my confidence and self- esteem.

KANE: That way, that way (ph).


To the right, to right, to right. Come on Mike.

JAYME DALSING, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS: Straight, just completely straight. That's not straight.

ROWE: God bless America, I don't get it. Damn it.

DALSING: Come on.

ROWE: How'd you get it in here is my question.

DALSING: You're doing a fine job Mike but we got a time restriction here, so I'm going to have to ask you to hop on out.

ROWE: Yeah, that was empowering. Maybe I'll do better on Morgan's big truck, Max D.

(Inaudible) here?

KANE: Yes.

ROWE: The traveling tires are not so monstrous.

I'm sure the tires would be bigger.

KANE: Yeah.

ROWE: The engine, not so much. KANE: Ready buddy? Yes, (inaudible).

ROWE: Monster trucks are so important, don't forget.

That was me trying to tell you that size matters, especially when it comes to tires.

How fun would it be to call Triple A, just put it out on the road and give them call and, I just need a quick tire change.

KANE: Yeah, yeah.

ROWE: Buy why call Triple A when you have a B-list celebrity on hand.

KANE: Good work is hard to find.

ROWE: It is ain't it?

KANE: Ain't it?

ROWE: Yeah, no, maybe.

These Terry (ph) tires we're developed specifically for tractors and farm equipment. But here in America, it's only a matter of time until someone put them on a pickup truck.

KANE: There you go.

ROWE: I think that's it.

KANE: Yeah.

ROWE: Morgan let me changed his tires, poke around under hood, adjust the shocks.

KANE: A little more.

ROWE: Can't do some other stuff that frankly I have no hope of understanding. But he also introduced me to Coty Saucier, another driver on the circuits who's also a friend and a competitor.

How do you wind up driving one of these things?

KANE: We work hard and bust your butt.


KANE: Right.

SAUCIER: ... (inaudible) ever since I was a kid.

ROWE: Yes.

SAUCIER: That was how I got in and I'm always get on anything we could, the race...

ROWE: Yes.

SAUCIER: ... and be competitive and -- the same way, I mean we're in it to win it.

ROWE: How much fun are you having, serious...

KANE: I mean, it's a lot of hard work.

SAUCIER: Play with trucks.

KANE: Yeah.

ROWE: This is a straight up competition their judges on hand, there's real money at stake. And of course, the undeniable drive to be the best.

[21:15:00] And tonight, there's a new kid in town.

So what's the plan, around the ground over the top?

KANE: Yes, we're going to run the course that we run during the show.

ROWE: What's this situation (ph)?

KANE: OK, so this right here is going to be your handle. You're going to hang on to that.

ROWE: For deal life.

KANE: Because I'm going to hold on to the stirring wheel.

ROWE: I appreciate it.

KANE: Go (ph).

How was that?

ROWE: I like it, it's good.

KANE: It's a lot of fun.

ROWE: It's exciting.

KANE: It is.

ROWE: I don't think I can do though, honestly. I could maybe drive it around at a reasonable speed but I don't know if anybody wants to see that. You guys want to see that? All right.

It turns out not everybody wants to see that.

KANE: He's freaking out right now.

ROWE: At least not this guy, Jayme, the Director of Operations. He's hovering around to make sure we don't get on the way or, you know, wreck anything. DALSING: What are we doing?

KANE: We're going to cruse around. You want that happen?


KANE: The viewers do.

ROWE: How is it going Jayme. Feeling good?

DALSING: My heart is beating a little faster than it was 10 minutes ago.

ROWE: Nice and slow. With (inaudible) into a (inaudible) 4 miles per an hour.

KANE: (Inaudible) get approval, you understand what I'm saying?

ROWE: Are you kidding me? I want to creep over these things. I'm not sure what the fuzz is all about, I mean they've already seen my affinity for machines of all kinds.

Damn it.

KANE: Are we good with it Jayme?

DALSING: My job is in your hands right now Mr. Rowe.

ROWE: Now this will be this Sunday...

KANE: Sunday driving.

ROWE: Sunday driving, yes. I little old lady driving to church.

DALSING: Stress level out the roof right now.

ROWE: I was sure we can give him just a massive stroke.

DALSING: He's going to break my stuff isn't he?

ROWE: All right.

KANE: You got to take the corners slow though, OK?

ROWE: What's that?

KANE: Take the corners slow.

ROWE: Apparently Jayme isn't the only worried about my driving abilities.

KANE: All right, slow down a little. Slow down, slow down, slow down.

You got take the corners slow.

ROWE: Do what?

KANE: Take the corners slow because it will tip off on you.

ROWE: That was nice, Jayme you OK?

DALSING: You had me.

KANE: You had me too.

DALSING: You had me right there. Oh yeah.

ROWE: Thanks for me letting do that.

KANE: That was nice, good job man.

ROWE: Thanks.

But Morgan has got even bigger plans for me, which will really make Jayme crazy.

KANE: (Inaudible) doing the truck.

ROWE: You can't really ride with me in the truck can you?

KANE: No. I don't know if I want to.



ROWE: Somewhere between NASCAR and professional wrestling, there's a thing called Monster Jam. I don't know if it's a sport or spectacle but, whatever it is, people love it. Every year thousands of fans fill hundreds of arenas to watch giant vehicles defy gravity and crash back to earth and came back for more.

A list of people allowed to sit inside one of these things is pretty short and I'm getting the impression, it's about to get a little longer.

All right so the situation that is, we can't be down here when you do what you're about to do.

So, what happens, you climb in, fire up, we run?

KANE: Yes. Speed buck (ph).

ROWE: We locomote (ph).

KANE: (Inaudible) words.

ROWE: What are you going to do?

KANE: Try this thing (ph) go up, feel the track out, maybe do a doughnut, do a jump.

ROWE: What kind of milage you have in this thing?

KANE: It's the miles per gallon, smiles per gallon.

ROWE: Smiles per gallon, great, that's good, that's clever. All right off you go then, good luck.

KANE: See you.

ROWE: (Inaudible) tens in two (ph).

KANE: Yeah.

ROWE: And he likes to show off (ph).

Morgan's truck houses a 540 cubic inch big block Chevrolet engine.

It's going to be loud, it's going to be super laud.

And this is what sounds like without the obligatory guitar track.

KANE: I'm going to fire up all right?


ROWE: Yeah. No. Hey it's important to try new things, right?

KANE: This is what this show is about.

ROWE: All right, what can I do? What will you let me do?

KANE: We'll line (ph) you up under Jayme's approval.

ROWE: Oh Jayme throw himself off the building.

KANE: Yeah, right here, we'll line you up with this jump here. You're going to cruise up and you're going to stop it on top. OK?

ROWE: Yeah.

Step one, get in the truck.

OK I'm in. And this is more like spaceship than a truck.

KANE: All you got to do is press the start button.

Before you fire up pull this fuel on, and all switches are going to (ph) up.

ROWE: Step two, listen very carefully to a long list of very important instructions.

KANE: And then when you get on top, hit the brakes, put it in park and then shut the fuel off.

ROWE: All right.

Step three, carefully review everything you've learned.

Man I should have paid better attention.

[21:25:03] The mission seem simple, drive the truck on the mountain of dirt, but it's actually complicated. You see Morgan has begged me not to wreck his quarter million dollar truck, Jayme has begged me not to wreck his career. My produce however would like me to stop on the gas and send this monster flying high in the heavens, and let's face it, so do you.

But, this guy has a remote control switch to make sure I don't do anything too -- oh what's the word -- stupid. And these guys are standing by just in case the whole arena goes up on a fireball. Me? I'm not even sure where the gas is.

Here we go. Power, ignition and blast off.

Ignition off. I think I did it. That worried somebody.

KANE: Great job, great job.

ROWE: Hey, hey, please take your seats, it was nothing. I got (ph) air on that one.

Look at that, I got some air and Jayme didn't faint.

KANE: Nice job.

ROWE: Yeah?

KANE: Very nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job (inaudible).

ROWE: It was cool. It's got a lot of a -- what you call, torque.

KANE: Yes it does.

ROWE: Well thank you for showing me around and letting me drive your (inaudible) it's awesome. And where's -- Jayme you OK?

DALSING: It was good.

ROWE: Do you feel like form a P.R. branding standpoint we did OK?

DALSING: You did an excellent job.

ROWE: A real pleasure.

KANE: Yeah.

ROWE: Thank you so much.

KANE: It was fun.

ROWE: Yeah. You got great fans, you got a great job. KANE: Thank you, somebody's got to do it.

ROWE: Really?

KANE: Seriously, I had the pleasure.

ROWE: Honestly?

KANE: I had the pleasure.



ROWE: Polo, a game of wealth and privilege. A sport of refinement and sophistication, with a long story (ph) history. If you have a death wish and lots of disposable cash, you might like it.

But here in East Oakland, the air is not so rarified as those who crave the excitements of traditional polo, have left the hose poop behind supplying the board (ph) with different kind of speed. Here all you need is a bike, a mallet, maybe a helmet.

Like polo, why not (ph)? My point man (ph) to this excursion into the world of amateur made up sport is a man with a nickname Machine.


ROWE: I was told you're the guy, the man, the top dog, the big cheese (ph), the head honcho.

WILSON: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got the wrong guy.


WILSON: That's Sam...


ROWE: You're Sam?

BELL: Yes.

ROWE: Nice to meet you.

BELL: Nice to meet you as well.

ROWE: All right. So, the goal is understand first of all that such thing as bike polo exist, and secondly to figure out who's playing and why. Thirdly, to understand where they're playing and how that came to pass. Fourthly, to understand how precisely the game is played.

BELL: Yes... ROWE: And finally to leave the viewer with a new appreciation for this roguish kind of sport unfolding, here to see (ph) by the way.

WILSON: That's going to happen right here right now.

ROWE: How many people are on a team?

BELL: Three people, two team, so six people total playing at one time. Those teams play either to a set score of five or play for a timed game to 12 or 15.

ROWE: So far it sounds pretty simple but, is it legal?

You guys play wherever you can?

BELL: Yes.

ROWE: You're a league (ph) without sanction?

WILSON: Yes, without restrictions and without real...

ROWE: We're not breaking any rules tonight.


ROWE: What do I need to know?

WILSON: We'll start off with safety gear.

ROWE: The gear looks pretty standard, helmet, shoes, after all how dangerous can it be?

WILSON: I personally have broken a rib, broken elbow, two fingers and a shoulder. So I actually fully armor up.

ROWE: I can't remember the last I've been on a bike. How important is it to be able to ride a bike well?

BELL: It's more of the ability to do a few different things at one time. Being able to stir your bike, be your bike and also maneuvering your mallet and the polo as well.

WILSON: The main thing you don't want to go is put your foot down even in a game.

ROWE: Why?

WILSON: If you do that -- you don't like to interfere with the play.

ROWE: It's a rule.

WILSON: Yes it's a rule.

ROWE: Not a suggestion.

WILSON: Yes, you tap one of those poles and you're right back into play.

ROWE: Pedaling in the dark in East Oakland on a crooked court full of fault lines (ph), flanked by couple of iron poles.

BELL: What could possibly go wrong?

ROWE: Stupid show.



ROWE: I'm learning how to high (inaudible) polo may just becoming to the masses, courtesy of the high spirited practitioners of Bike Polo.

Oh shit.

So far a blocked a ball or two...

I'll try that again.

And become acquitted with my two-wheeled steed.

BELL: Oops, yeah, see.

ROWE: Oh yeah.

BELL: Careful on that.

ROWE: I can see in your enthusiasm we could absolutely jack yourself off.

But before I put I put life on the line, now I get the feel of how the pros do it by observing a real game and hearing it called by the man they call, Machine.

WILSON: All right guys, three, two, one, polo.

Now, this is the joust.

WILSON: That's the joust -- he takes one crack at history (ph).


He used a cross cradle there to hit it over...

ROWE: A what?

Ah, the cross cradle of course in which a player shoots on a goal over their steering arm.

WILSON: So here is Sam-A-Lama bring it right -- he's looking for the Pearl Harbor the second.

ROWE: Come again? Ah, Sam-A-Lama was attempting the Pearl Harbor in which a player tries to sneak a goal into the immediate corner after biking behind the goal.

And here is the thing they call falling down. And someone scoring a goal.

Wow, so you're never putting your foot down and steering with one hand while swinging a stick with the other at a moving target, I now understand how hard it is to play the sport.

Just in time.

WILSON: So I think you should just get in there and do it.

[21:35:00] We love people coming to see our sport and getting straight in there the first night without any practice.

ROWE: I'm sure you're right.

WILSON: I'm totally right.

BELL: Mike side, are you ready?

ROWE: What are you waiting for, Christmas?

BELL: Three, two, one, polo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good just knock.

BELL: Go back, what are doing? Get back on it.

ROWE: I like this think unequally (ph) and that's with both hands so I (ph) move forward right there.

BELL: Get the ball, Mike. Get it.


ROWE: I'm getting way too much positive feedback. That was a terrible play (ph).


ROWE: Oh god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey Mike, Mike, don't forget to tap out.

ROWE: Got to tap out.

I was going to.

Oh my god.


ROWE: Oh man, I hate this game. So, when I'm standing around with my foot on the ground on my head, where somewhere else, here she come, somebody scores on somebody, and I'm pretty sure it's them on us.

Very embarrassing.

I don't know what's happening but I'm pretty sure we're losing.

Then I see my chance to make a difference.

Oh it just seems too easy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you miss that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did well man, you're on your speed on your bike.

ROWE: There is so much enthusiasm from the sidelines. It's heartbreaking because they want you to do so well but you did something -- listen to this enthusiasm (ph).

It doesn't matter what you do, you're a winner. Everybody here is a winner.

But with everybody being so encouraging.


ROWE: It's easy to get caught up at it and think that maybe I'm not that bad.


Oh, crap like a baby. You suck.

ROWE: No, I'm that bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh you suck so bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back to San Francisco.

ROWE: Apparently, good will only goes so far.

BELL: Which side are you on dude?

ROWE: I'm on everybody side Same, I'm spreading the sunshine around.

I can handle the trash talk as long as it'll start swinging mallets at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do something, do anything.

ROWE: If I want to win back, my fair-weather friends, I better connect with one of these soft balls they've been serving up.

BELL: Get the ball Mike.

ROWE: I'd like to. It happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we won that just thanks to you man.


Your first time ever you scored a goal.

ROWE: Unconditional encouragement.

I literally, I could crap my pants. And write my name on the court and Machine would come over to thank god, you spelt your name perfectly, you wrote it with poop, you're a man now.

So, what do I walk away with tonight, other than no catastrophic injuries, I walk away with the knowledge that every night of the week and forgotten corners of the world like this one widely created highly energetic deeply unusual people are having the time in their lives playing a sport dreamt up by board (ph) bike messengers in a parking lot.

In 10 seconds or less, look right if they can explain why you love this crazy sport? Go.

BELL: The community I just think is really fantastic. You're able to be competitive without being super serious.

ROWE: Two seconds.

And time.

Clearly, the sport has a broad appeal attracting trained athletes.


ROWE: Young upstarts, you tot to get him in a game. And rebels from all walks of life.

WILSON: We're just -- bike Polo isn't all (inaudible) sport for gender, race...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why you brought me on the...

ROWE: Bike Polo maybe an outlaw sport but as everything from surfing, to snowboarding started that way but don't be surprised if the 2036 Olympics roll around and these guys are part of the summer games. But for now, it's a special place where the sport of kings meets the king of beers.

Yeah I know it's a pops (ph), give me a break.

I never know how this (inaudible) really am but this is a probably a good ender right here.

Three, two, one. See you guys.

Anyway let's polo (inaudible).

Three, two, one, polo.

There are lots of great restaurants and in Bodega Bay, California.

I won't be visiting any of them today instead. I'll be dining El Fresco and finding my food the old fashioned way. In other words, routing around for it, or somebody, there's a guy called Hank Shaw, and he is what you called a professional forager, and he knows all the best places to eat.

[21:40:08] Hey.


ROWE: How are you?

SHAW: Nice to meet you?

ROWE: Likewise. Where have you brought us exactly?

SHAW: This is Spud Point Marina Bodega Bay.

ROWE: Spud Point?

SHAW: Yeah. There's our pet sea lion that's the management.

ROWE: Yeah.

SHAW: He loves crab crap (ph) which is not good for us but.

ROWE: What do we fishing for?

SHAW: Jacksmelt.

ROWE: Right.

SHAW: It was thrown in a crab kelp (ph) here but the management...

ROWE: But the management said no.

SHAW: ... said no.

ROWE: I'm curious to see once again how management could afford (ph) productivity.

SHAW: So I've actually light baited this, so this is wild boar liver soaked in fish sauce and it's what I have and want something sticky and oily.

ROWE: All right we'll see if we can get it passed the management.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROWE: I'm hanging out today with Hank Shaw, we're in the fish department of his favorite supermarket. And we're not the only ones looking for a fresh catch. Jacksmelt...

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: ... is what we're hoping to catch, while the boar's liver simmers in the mud hopefully unmolested by the management to bring in some red crab or (inaudible).

SHAW: (Inaudible) yeah.

ROWE: You're basically everyday your hunting your fishing your gathering?

[21:45:02] SHAW: Almost all the meat and fish that I eat is something that I catch or shoot.

ROWE: You said you what, a writer?

SHAW: Yeah I was a newspaper reporter for 18 years I covered politics I covered two presidential races, I covered -- I don't know how many governor's races, covered Congress for a while.

ROWE: No kidding/

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: What happened?

SHAW: Well, have you followed politics in the last 10 years?

ROWE: I kind of have, yeah.

SHAW: Really for the last 15 years or so politics is kind of degenerated into wing that's on the left and wing that's in the right shouting pass each other.

ROWE: Well it's, its great fun for about 10 minutes...

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: ... and then...

SHAW: It gets older.

ROWE: ... yes, it gets noisy.

SHAW: So this is what keeps me sane.

ROWE: I guess if I spent 18 years in the company of politicians I might be out here full-time as well looking for a little balance.

SHAW: How many people can name the plants there seating outside their door right now, you know?

ROWE: Right.

SHAW: We're divorced from where our food comes from. The only hunting and fishing you do is in a supermarket, you're hunting for bargains and checking what smells the least out of some of nasty fish market...

ROWE: Right.

SHAW: ... you know.

ROWE: Why is it matter why give a crap?

SHAW: Because most of the plants that we see around us are not only edible but were put here for that reason, and we just turned our back on things that we're considered normal.

Let me see if there's any crab on this side. No go.

ROWE: Well we've been foraging for the better part of an hour. We've got some up a liver from a boar but I'm optimistic, the whole day is before us.

SHAW: Oh yeah.

ROWE: And we're going to go looking for mushrooms.

SHAW: And try to catch some crabs right now.

ROWE: All right crabs.

SHAW: You're going to go the spot where I caught them before.

ROWE: Let me translate, we're going to a spot with a crabs are. Not for you. Hope (inaudible) that thing with feathers and won't take it (ph).

SHAW: This is the Mike Rowe crab pot.

ROWE: Oh really.

SHAW: Yes.

ROWE: Well then you had got to teach me how to (inaudible) it?

SHAW: Sure.

ROWE: It's deitiest (ph) crab pot I've ever seen.

SHAW: I know.

ROWE: It's just like the deadliest catch.

SHAW: Its deitiest (ph) catch.

ROWE: What's the name of this body of water?

SHAW: This is the Bodega Bay.

ROWE: So instead of January at the Bering Sea, it's August at Bodega Bay. The stakes could not be higher, the pots could not be smaller, the man could not be hungrier, we're foraging for our food and anything can happen. Yeah, we can make it exciting we can make it exciting. So are you a hunter who gather's or gatherer who hunts?

SHAW: Is gatherer who hunts. If I had a boat I would take it (ph) to salmon fishing.

ROWE: Why don't you have a boat?

SHAW: Because I'm not (inaudible). I know how experienced breakwater climber you are but it's always good to have sort of the tripods...

ROWE: Yup.

SHAW: ... in one hand.

ROWE: Three points of contact.

SHAW: Yup.

ROWE: Ideally one of them not being your face.

SHAW: There's some big crabs right there.

ROWE: Yeah right there?

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: I will say that's a, ugly feminine foghorn.

SHAW: It's a deitiest (ph) catch.

Careful you could trip.

ROWE: So I guess the question is, you know, was there a moment, because you're not exactly off the grid but...


ROWE: ... but you must have made an affirmative, you know, choice at some point to do this.

SHAW: The first was when I was a young reporter in Long Island, I made a bet at my local bar that I could go almost the whole year never getting st-skucked (ph) whenever I went out and I did it, I actually did it. You know and then flash forward a bunch of years when I came here I got to be pretty good as a hunter and I already a reasonably decent fisherman although that is not a good example of it.

So I want to see if I could just do nothing but wild game and wild fish for a year. And it turned out it wasn't really that hard.

ROWE: Yeah. SHAW: You might want trick some pot.

ROWE: Good idea.

SHAW: All right so when you doing this lift high like come up like this. Oh boomer.

ROWE: That is a boomer.

SHAW: That is a boomer.

ROWE: You're going to check that out?

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: I see some.

SHAW: We got a crab. Oh it's a dungeness.

ROWE: Strike two.

SHAW: Yup.

ROWE: Oh it's actually the perfect catch except for the fact that it's too small and out of season. But aside from that we're killing it.

Foraging is not easy, if it was, I guess everybody be doing it.

[21:50:02] All I know for sure is, it's afternoon and I have a officially missed two meals.

SHAW: There's a red crab.

ROWE: There's a crab.

SHAW: Hey it's a red crab.

ROWE: Yeah, it ain't going to big enough.

SHAW: At least we have seen the correct species.

ROWE: We now know that red crabs exist at least.


SHAW: Do you know that Indians used to live here. They would use up to 160 different plants as food plants.

Did you imagine the average Joe, they probably eat 12.

ROWE: The short answer is no. I had no idea the Indians that used to live along the Northern Coast of California ate 160 different kinds of plants. All I know is I'm ready to eat all of them, so far the pickings have been slimmed but Hanks optimism is unflappable.

What do have you have Hank?

SHAW: Radishes. Wild radishes. They look like mustard and they're relatives but mustard always has yellow flowers and the radishes have the lavender or white. And these are the pods, pollen (ph).

Are they good?

ROWE: Yeah.

SHAW: They are not bad. For something on a side of parking lot.

ROWE: Yeah, considering they're covered with, you know, fumes and pesticide (inaudible).

SHAW: That's flavor.

ROWE: It's really not bad actually.

SHAW: Yeah.

[21:55:00] Like I always look left and look at right and look and see what's around.

ROWE: What kind of tree is this?

SHAW: That's juniper.

ROWE: How about this?

SHAW: That's ice plant.

ROWE: How about this?

SHAW: Ah, that's a rare unusual lace wrapper.

ROWE: Ah, these I heard off.

That's wrong. I'm just kidding. I would never do that.

You know what, I'm going to pick this up and I carry it with me. That's the problem about putting out litter. If you don't pick it up and put it on your own pocket, (inaudible).

Honestly if there had been chips in that bag, they'll be gone, seriously, gone.

SHAW: This is New Zealand's spinach.

ROWE: I see. Do you want some to take?

SHAW: I do. Yeah. Really, I should eat this.

ROWE: Yeah?

SHAW: We're going to eat the leaves. So, if you just cut a pinch off above a leaf or we can use a knife, either way. ROWE: (Inaudible) pinching one off.

SHAW: And so we'll take a few with these.

ROWE: Sure.

SHAW: You only see New Zealand's spinach by the dunes on the West Coast. So, I want to go to coast line, I want to see if any sea palm is washed up.

ROWE: What is it?

SHAW: Did you see that?

You can take this and pickle like bread and butter pickles.

ROWE: Yeah.

SHAW: Considering those algae, right?

ROWE: Yeah.

SHAW: Kind of surprising, put then on a hot-dog or (inaudible).

Do you like eggs?

ROWE: I like eggs.

Side dishes, check. But with no fish in the cooler, we need a protein source.

Luckily, Hank knows a classic forager shortcut.

SHAW: We got a cool throwback little place.

Do you remember the honor boxes?

ROWE: Honor boxes are left over from a kinder, gentler age, farmers leave fresh eggs in them, you leave some money and you take some eggs.

It's nice to be in a part of the world where the honor system is still honored.

SHAW: Yeah. It's pretty cool.

ROWE: It's great. Just drive down the road if you need some eggs.

SHAW: On to (inaudible).

ROWE: All right.

Now that we've secured some protein and our sides. Hank has promised me something special for dessert.

But as with any great desserts spots this one is a little bit out of the way. But unlike your trendy neighborhood product shop, when we finally get the berry is we won't have stand in line.

SHAW: Just pick away and just -- when your hand fills up, put them in the little bin.

ROWE: Huckleberry.

This looks very primeval.

SHAW: Doesn't it?

I think we're good. I think we got enough to make dessert with.

It's my bag of tricks.

ROWE: Excellence.

SHAW: I'm hungry, I don't know about you?

ROWE: I can eat -- I don't know what -- we got huckleberry, we got eggs...

SHAW: How about some stuff from home, I just (inaudible).

ROWE: Of course even a hardcore forager like Hank knows you still have to pack your own condiments and tableware.

So the reality then is, it's not like every single day you start off with an empty pantry and have to go and eat what you kill.

SHAW: You catch this catch can and then you preserve a harvest.

ROWE: We talk about foraging, we talk about people go out and hunt together and you know it's always about what did they find but it seems like you are as interested in whether it taste good.

SHAW: Oh yeah.

ROWE: Let's see -- that to me, that's what makes you actually freaky and interesting.

SHAW: Well that's -- have a little wild onion power.

ROWE: Some (inaudible).

SHAW: Yeah absolutely. New Zealand spinach.

ROWE: That's really great.

SHAW: Ain't that cool.

ROWE: What do we do this (ph)?

SHAW: Well, you know, I've never actually eaten these little seedpod things. (OFF-MIKE)

SHAW: And I don't like them.

Let's mix everything together.


ROWE: So is it fair to say your hobby got out of a hand?

SHAW: Yeah, actually. I mean the thing that used to be escape has become my life and some people say, oh that's a perfect way to kill the thing you love but in this case it hasn't happen.

ROWE: Survivors is do whatever you have to do to get by. But Hank is not a survivalist. He's just a guy who wants to eat well without depending on other people he doesn't know to sell him food, he has no connection to. It's worked but make no mistake, Hank is thriving.

SHAW: I'm not really necessarily asking people to do what I do. What I really hope people do is take a piece of what I do whether it's hunting, whether it's fishing, whether its foraging berries or picking clams in the seashore.

Something about it will float your boat. Pass around until you find it and make it yours and pass it on.

ROWE: Thanks (inaudible).

SHAW: You're welcome.

ROWE: Your big brain, your boundless knowledge.

So good.

SHAW: Yeah.

ROWE: Mine is really good.