Don’t Fence Me In


The Hoon Run heads northwest.

Words by Andrew Currie

What is freedom?
Being on the road with no concerns other than the next session, having enough ice for the Esky1, and a roll of dunny-paper2 for your next after-grog bog3 in the bushes?
Sounds pretty free to me, and did so as well to my eight traveling companions as we loaded into our van for a two-week summer skateboarding expedition around America’s Pacific Northwest.

However, this is America, the so-called “land of the free,” where people are destined to be anything but free. You see, we’ve done these kinds of trips all over the world, and be it the South Island of New Zealand, the Basque region of Spain, or the outback of Australia, no place in the world seems to impose as many rules and regulations on its people as the good ol’ U.S. of A. In an attempt at control, there seems to be a law against everything, with the purpose to bind society in a state of fearful and unquestioning submission.
And so, with our crew consisting of Mumford, Childress, Bartie, Suski, Shark Attack, Doc Henrie, and Dave The Seppo, we set about our very own quest for freedom in this supposed land of liberty.
Wire fences, irrational rangers, and noise curfews be damned-we’re hooning!

Our Run commenced on a weekend in Portland with tents pitched on Chet’s balcony and an assortment of stinking bodies scattered throughout his apartment. Amidst scouting for street spots and sessioning Burnside, we were invited to attend the opening night of an art show where the artist formerly known as Luda Crooks had been asked to hang some of his photographic and spraypainted masterpieces.
Chet was a little nervous about showing up, because in the middle of hanging his art earlier that day-as will happen to any great artist-he was overcome by a massive burst of inspiration, which resulted in graffiti-style captions on the wall of the gallery. However, all was sweet with the lowbrow art set, and no drama ensued. At least not for our crew.
The night really began to swing under the influence of vodka mixed with sugary energy drinks that are formulated to make you get “extreme.” Now I very rarely fan-out on pros, but when Duane Peters has you in a headlock, gleefully recounting his last visit to Australia, man, you can’t help but be psyched on the dude’s gusto.
So there I am being unintentionally spat upon by the Master Of Disaster, when two feet to the left of me a white dude and a black dude get into a heated argument about f-k knows what. In the blink of an eye, white dude tosses black dude over a railing, dropping him at least ten feet onto the front of a car, then bouncing him off onto the road below. Just when I’m thinking an ambulance is going to be required, the black dude pounces with panther-like swiftness back onto the car, up to the railing, and while holding on with one hand, delivers a single full-force knockout blow that lays old mate out cold!
All of a sudden, the whole scenario had changed from a joyous social gathering to a potential all-out riot, which on our first night of the trip was reason enough to exit “stage save your ass.”

With the weekend out of the way, it was time to stock up on supplies and get the f-k out of Dodge. With tents, a slingshot, and a loaded pellet gun, we headed north to hook up with Jon Ponts on his motorbike. Jon set us up with places to stay and directions to parks, at which he ripped each and every one. Ponts rules!
It was once we got up to the north of Washington that I realized how dead the American dream really was. Like we would normally do on the Australian Hoon Run, there was no way we could simply pull off the beaten path, make a fire, and pitch tents.
As we drove into the national-park campsite, we received the kind of terrified glares otherwise reserved for a gang of Hell’s Angels. Here we were, nine dudes in a van, ill-prepared but for an Esky full of beer and 37 sausages, being sizeup by either retired or vacationing urban cowboys guarding their RVs.
I mean, seriously, what the f-k is up with driving a massive campervan, a so-called “home away from home,” into the wilderness, only to attach a baby satellite dish to pick up the same crap-television show you were watching at home the night before?
So no sooner had we gotten our fire going to cook our dinner, then along came Ranger Righteous to tell us there’s a total fire ban. Despite our miniscule fire being within the confines of a pre-arranged barbecue pit, apparently we were expected to go hungry.
Seeing the contemptuous look in the eyes of nine non-responsive individuals visibly armed with a slingshot and pellet gun, our ranger friend saw fit to retreat home to his bored wife in the knowledge he’d performed his duty by “telling us so.”
An hour or so later, with our bellies full of cooked meat, basking in the warmth of our “non-sanctioned” fire, we had more company. This time it was a pasty-fat RV inhabitant claiming to have some kind of civil authority over us as the camp director, or some other equally pissweak claim to power.
He’d come to politely inform us that “’round these parts, we all like to quiet down around 10:00 p.m.”
Chet, equally as polite, asked “Oh, so what’s the time now?”
“Well, it’s a quarter to.”
Shark Attack then piped up with, “Nah-ah, it’s only 9:41.”
This was the cue for Chet, who, in his most overtly offensive tone, retorted at full-roar as he cracked a brew, “Yo-that means we got nineteen minutes to wild out!”
We weren’t bothered again for the rest of the evening.

Our time up north included sessions at the new parks in Port Townsend and Port Angeles, the legendary Bainbridge Bowls, and a weekend in Seattle comprising Ballard and Arlington. A big thanks to our absentminded host Alex Horn, who kept us laughing by forgetting his board every time he got in the car and got us stoked with his fluent ripping of every spot!
After a torturous snail-paced drive in dense traffic all the way to Portland, it was back to Camp Chet to recompose ourselves for the southern-bound leg of our trek.

Monday morning, as the suits were heading to the office, we were hooning our way toward the Oregon Coast. After a brief stop at Nerdberg (Newberg), aptly named for its kindergarten-like atmosphere, Chet mentioned some fullpipes he’d spied in the neighborhood.
Right around the corner from the skatepark is a factory that manufactures massive metal fullpipes. Upon our arrival, I thought there’d be no chance of getting to ride these things, but then I’d underestimated O’Meally’s gift of the gab. The way Mike explained our purpose to the on-duty foreman made it sound like we were on assignment for National Geographic, and that by skateboarding in these prefabricated pipes, there was a possibility we could halt global warming.
Next thing, this dude resembling a front man for ZZ Top in coveralls is guiding us from one pipe to another on his forklift with earnest concern that we get to ride the best one. It then dawns on him that the biggest and most skateable pipe would be the one under construction inside the factory. Once inside, all the workers downed tools to come marvel as Chet and Seppo took turns at carving over a protruding rod, which as the lads gained more confidence, the workers would mechanically rotate to a higher point.
About fifteen minutes into our escapades, the owner of the factory showed up. ZZ Top and the roadies scattered like roaches in the knowledge that someone’s ass was gonna be on the line for this one. We politely listened to the usual diatribe about insurance and liability, stoked to have even laid ‘thane to metal, and bid the factory of dreams farewell.
Sometimes a ten-minute session on something so out-of-bounds is more satisfying than a full day at a perfect park surrounded by a wire fence with a sign telling you to wear shin guards and no swearing.

Our day ended with a fun session at McMinnville and the drive to Lincoln City. Arriving fairly late in the night, we found our options for campsites limited. We checked the beach, but with squalling winds and the possibility of a high tide, it seemed sketchy. Our best and only bet was the field next to the skatepark.
After a full day of skating and driving, you can imagine our joy at being woken at four in the morning by your stereotypical ‘stache-wearing super-trooper giving us the boot. He really flexed it as we packed up our tents, letting us know what a huge favor he was doing by not booking us for the three open containers in our van. Gee, thanks so much, arsehole.
We somehow stayed good-humored through the whole ordeal and, in a bleary-eyed haze, drove five miles up the road to re-camp outside of the pig’s jurisdiction. After a few more hours of sleep, it felt like we’d all shared the same strange dream and woken up in another place.

The farther south we drove, the more the crew was talking up the magnitude of our last two parks in Florence and Reedsport, which aptly became known as “Man’s Country.” On arriving at Florence, bearing witness to her enormity, I realized this had been no exaggeration.
It was only fitting that our run came to its conclusion in Man’s Country. After a day of scaring the piss out of ourselves on some of the gnarliest transitions in the world, we finally came across the only hassle-free campsite of the trip. In true ritualistic manner, we celebrated our manly conquests by shooting, chopping, lighting fire to, and blowing up whatever wasn’t required for the drive home.
So what is freedom?
All I know is that in an increasingly restrictive society, one in which we’re either fenced in or out and told when and how we should do things, there will always exist a minority of unsatisfied fringe dwellers. An unsavory element of society who, oozing the stench of a layer of human grease, will be cruising down a highway, out of mobile-phone reception and nowhere near an Internet connection, saying, “F-k it-we’re hooning.”




1 Esky-noun. A foam container for cooling beer.
2 dunny-paper-noun. Toilet paper.

3 after-grog bog-noun. A big steamer after a night on the sauce.
g.

Our day ended with a fun session at McMinnville and the drive to Lincoln City. Arriving fairly late in the night, we found our options for campsites limited. We checked the beach, but with squalling winds and the possibility of a high tide, it seemed sketchy. Our best and only bet was the field next to the skatepark.
After a full day of skating and driving, you can imagine our joy at being woken at four in the morning by your stereotypical ‘stache-wearing super-trooper giving us the boot. He really flexed it as we packed up our tents, letting us know what a huge favor he was doing by not booking us for the three open containers in our van. Gee, thanks so much, arsehole.
We somehow stayed good-humored through the whole ordeal and, in a bleary-eyed haze, drove five miles up the road to re-camp outside of the pig’s jurisdiction. After a few more hours of sleep, it felt like we’d all shared the same strange dream and woken up in another place.

The farther south we drove, the more the crew was talking up the magnitude of our last two parks in Florence and Reedsport, which aptly became known as “Man’s Country.” On arriving at Florence, bearing witness to her enormity, I realized this had been no exaggeration.
It was only fitting that our run came to its conclusion in Man’s Country. After a day of scaring the piss out of ourselves on some of the gnarliest transitions in the world, we finally came across the only hassle-free campsite of the trip. In true ritualistic manner, we celebrated our manly conquests by shooting, chopping, lighting fire to, and blowing up whatever wasn’t required for the drive home.
So what is freedom?
All I know is that in an increasingly restrictive society, one in which we’re either fenced in or out and told when and how we should do things, there will always exist a minority of unsatisfied fringe dwellers. An unsavory element of society who, oozing the stench of a layer of human grease, will be cruising down a highway, out of mobile-phone reception and nowhere near an Internet connection, saying, “F-k it-we’re hooning.”




1 Esky-noun. A foam container for cooling beer.
2 dunny-paper-noun. Toilet paper.

3 after-grog bog-noun. A big steamer after a night on the sauce.