Mountain Mayhem: From sea to shining sea |

Mountain Mayhem: From sea to shining sea

May Selby
Mountain Mayhem

On Saturday, Sept. 26, the documentary “Transamericana” debuted on the big screen at the Buttermilk parking lot with its star, Rickey Gates, on hand to present it. Gates’ film served as the finale to The Meeting Film Fest, which closed out a streak of 13 movies shown at the popular Audi Drive-In Theater Presented by Bumble this summer. As vehicles of all shapes and sizes filed into the lot, Gates, an Aspen native, stood near the entrance gate, waving to friends from afar. Members of Skico’s events team, who managed the program, guided moviegoers to their parking spots, ensuring all were in masks and respecting the social distancing rules and regulations, while also offering assistance with any questions such as “Which station do I tune my FM radio to get sound?”

As the film started, Gates welcomed all and spoke to the significance of premiering his film here, in his hometown of Aspen where he was raised alongside four other siblings who often took extensive trips around the country with their mom. This sparked a wanderlust in him, no doubt, contributing to his decision to spend five months in 2017 making his way across the country — on foot with an occasional water crossing — from the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, to the “Golden Gates” Bridge, as a sign from a friend read when he ended his journey in San Francisco. An accomplished athlete, storyteller and photographer, Gates shared his story of independence, forming connections, seeking new perspectives, furthering self-awareness, reaching physical and psychological limits and an exploration of our nation.

This past spring, he first released a book, “Cross Country: A 3,700-mile run to explore unseen America,” which I picked up at the Ute Mountaineer and easily read cover-to-cover, enjoying the images, quotes, short stories about his journey. Having now seen the film, I’d say it’s a highly recommended sequel. Learn more at