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Trip to Hope B.C. 2007

- - - - - This is the story of my trip to Hope in October 2007 - - - -

Filming Documentary of the Celebration "25 Years of Blood" made by Curtis Emde

25th Anniversary of First Blood

On my last visit to Hope in February 2006 Inge Wilson from the Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex and I did some brainstorming in order to put together a celebration for the 25th Anniversary of the filming in Hope,BC. This event was planned and should take place during the long thanksgiving weekend on October 5th to 8th, 2007. Again, I had serious problems in financing the trip and wasn't sure if I can take part in the big party in end October. But with the help of some supporters (big thanks!) I crossed the Atlantic Ocean again!! Yeah!!

On Thursday, October the 4th, I arrived. I was looking forward to see all these nice people I met during my last trips again. Especially Inge Wilson who was so busy in organizing the party. At 8:30 PM she picked me up at the Greyhound Bus Depot and we discussed the time table of the events. On the next day I went to her centre and was introduced to her staff..(young & nice girls!!). But there was no time for flirting. On a working desk in the Hope Museum I was sorting all kind of Rambo memorabilia and pics in order to use them & show around during our guided tours in Hope and beyond that. Working on a topic like this is fun, believe me that!

This friday evening belonged to Damon Shelton. He's the director of the documentary "Reel Places: First Blood" which he filmed last year on location in Hope. That's why I also went to Hope in February 2006, because I was interview for this tv series pilot and had some speaking roles in it too. Now the final version of Reel Places was to show at the Silver Chalice Pub in Hope. At this place I met some old friends again, like Damon, Brian, Henry & Sue and other Rambo fans from all over the world. The strong guy with the red shirt on the upper picture is Simon from England. He spent 1 week with his wife Sharon in Hope.

There was a festive mood during the whole presentation. The audience hat a great time and we laughed a lot about the inside jokes of the travelog. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw myself on the big screen. I even had the final words in "Reel Places".. Damon and his production company "Gaslight Alley Entertainment" have well put together the movie. It's an entertaining, informative and atmospheric piece of work! Enjoy the screenshot!

Some pictures from the Reel Places presentation

Me, Damon and Sue
Hope Mayor Wilfried Vicktor & me
Damon Shelton (Director of REEL PLACES)
Rambo look-a-like Riley & Simon

The Guided Tour throughout Hope

This Saturday morning I woke up with a headache and a strange sense of orientation. What has happended? Oh, yes now I remember. Me and some guys & girls went to do some partying after the presentation at the Silver Chalice Pub. Ok that's fine but now I got to lead hundreds of people throughout Hope. At least that's what I was thinking. So all of those who were interested in the walking tour met at Inge's Tourist Info Centre. Inge & I started the tour at the place where Hopes former "Gateway to Holiday Land" sign used to be. Then we visited the parking lot where the gas station was blown up.

A definite highlight of our tour was the stop at the former Sheriff's Office which now serves as the Hope Seniors Recreation Centre. This was the first time that I would see the inside of the building. Of course a lot of things have changed and I was so desperately searching for the water hose that Rambo was being washed with "behind the ears". Though I didn't find this item I was pretty surprised to find the original Sherrif's Office sign that was hanging on top of the building. After a delicious lunch and the observation of some nice Rambo art paintings we went on and surely stopped at the Bridge to Portland. Time for taking pics!!!

Impressions of the Walking Tour

The famous Gateway to Holidayland Sign
Japanese Tourists wonder about our Tour
Head & Soul of the Celebration, Inge
H-Tree: A Location of the motorbike chase

Screening of First Blood at the Hope Cinema

7 pm, Saturday, October 6th, 2007 in Hope, British Columbia, Canada: It's time for the return of "First Blood" to the big screen. The Hope Cinema was the right location for this as it's the birthplace of Rambo. Situated in the heart of the town it's just across where the Sheriff's Office used to be. I was so excited to watch the movie at this magical place, but I didn't know what to expect when I was walking from my motel to the cinema...

"WAAAHHH!!!" There it was: The original truck that Rambo was driving when he made his way back to town, breaking through a barricade of police cars. It was an awesome feeling. It seemed as if Johnny was just parking his truck there, in the meantime blowing up the gas station. Everyone was surprised to see this vehicle JUST IN FRONT OF THE CINEMA!!! As a First Blood fan forget everything what you know about a magic moment. This was the ultimate one!

Inside the theatre about 250 fans were ready for the show. Everyone who had memories of the filming was free to share his experiences with the audience. Among them was the Hope Fire Chief Tommy DeSorcy or Bob Ridgeway who was an extra in the film. I was pretty surprised to see that I wasn't the only one who came from overseas. Inge asked the audience that only those people who came from outside Canada & USA would stand up now. Here we go: People from England, Scotland, Japan and me from Germany were waving to each other ;-) The Mayor of Hope introduced me to the crowd, but now we were keen on the screening of First Blood!

The movie began with the original trailer of "Ghostbusters" and when the "Orion" letters disappeared, people in the room were applauding: Johnny is searching for Delmore Berry. During the screening I noticed things that I haven't noticed before though seeing it for the 20th time. On the big screen I understood Rambo's answer on "What are you hunting with a knife like this?" It's "Anything!"... 90 minutes later I was glued to my seat, unwilling to leave the room. Like all the others who enjoyed the end credits rolling down. "It's a long road when you're on your own and it hurts when they tear your dreams apart..."

Impressions of the Screening

Projection Room - I touched the film roll!
A Soldier and me infront of the truck
Behind the wheel of my new car!
Instrument Board when I started the motor!!
In the back of the truck - very comfortable..
Our good Rambo imitator - Riley!
One more for 'Soldier of Fortune'! :-))
Inge Wilson and Mayor Wilfred Vicktor

Rumble in the Jungle

Oh my goodness! It's raining!! A normal person would pull a long face, but I'm not a normal person ;-) So I was looking forward to catch some "Rambo Spirit" while we are walking above the location where Rambo was hanging on the cliff. Right, we were about to enter the "Othello Tunnels". These 5 tunnels served as former railway tracks but are abandoned since 1959. Here we continued our walking tour and re-enacted some scenes. Me and two Rambo fanatics from England (Simon & Russell) climbed down the cliffs just to be right at the bottom of the Canyon and shouting "WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!"

After showing around this area to our group we went on to the ultimate Rambo experience. Staggering around in the old British Columbia rainforests. The die-hard Rambo fans who wanted to participate in that hike met at the parking lot. To my surprise there was a container with a woman who was selling Rambo memorabilia. Of course the soundtrack was audible out of it...

So we started a 6 km tour throughout the jungle. "Ahh, a snake!!" Inge was shouting. So I expected some kind of cobra, but it was just a ring snake. The back of the guy walking in front of me was getting wet and wetter. It was a mistake to wear a jeans on that tour. It was completely soaked even 3 days after the hike. But we survived the trip and luckily reached the parking lot to warm up our clothes. I know this report sounds a little piled on...

Impressions of the Othello Tunnels Hike

Simon is interviewed by Curt for his docu
Russell from England on a dangerous mission!
Simon and Russell: "We didn't do anything!"
You all know this wall!!
This is our fascinating "First Blood" weather
Posing in front of the Coquihalla River
Curt, Sharon, Simon, Russell and Oliver
The very sweet pink poncho

Leaving Hope - Searching for Delmore Barry's house

On my last day I was determined to find the house where Rambo's former Vietnam buddy Delmore Berry has lived. You all know this scene in the beginning of the movie when Rambo walks down a path and finds the farming house at the lake. But Simon and Sharon from England, Inge and me had no idea where to look for that. In the official records of the filming crew this location seems to be missing. Actually nobody still today remembers the lake. There are many many big lakes in British Columbia but anyway we cut those from the list that didn't come in question..

On our way to Vancouver we stopped at the famous bridge with the barricade of police cars that Rambo is easily passing through with his truck. We almost missed the "Bridge" as it doesn't look like the one in the movie. In fact the whole bridge was removed and by now it's only a crossing. But we were lucky to be on that location at Harris Road near Coquitlam. So I was kissing the ground...Jerry Goldsmith's bombastic music was playing in my ear!

To make a long story short, we didn't find the lake. Anyway we found some very beautiful spots with breathtaking views. But this keeps the fire burning and so I'm determined to find it next year maybe. I'm pretty sure where the famous scene was filmed and so I'll see you guys next time!!! Thank you very much for your attention! I hope I could give you a little insight in these extraordinary days! Hope, BC rulez!!

Impressions of my last day

At the Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex
Kissing holy ground
Simon and Sharon doing some posing
The last location: Pitt Lake

Thank you!!

Inge Wilson and her staff (Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex) - You're the best!!
Peter Park (Hope Park Motel - The quitest Motel in Hope)
Hans Jeschek (Hope Realty)
Damon Shelton (Director of REEL PLACES) The trailer can be found under "works" on the website.
Mayor Wilfried Vicktor and his beautiful City of Hope
Sabine from Germany (Awesome pics and Sockeye Salmon)
Hope Cinema (Especially the owner of it!! Kevin?)

Honorable mentions to: Simon & Sharon, Russell, Curt, Brian McKinney, Tom DeSorcy, Frank Klaasen, Riley (Rambo imitator - I bet you liked the movie), Henry & Sue, Bob Ridgeway, Amy Alexander, Dr. Ash (!!), Skinny's Grille Restaurant, The Gold Rush Pub (Beer!!) , The Papa Andreas Pub (More Beer and Pizza) and all of you I've forgotten....