The Blind Tour

Out with the old and in with the new. Out on the road with the Blind crew. Ha ha, maybe I should make this whole story rhyme. If I did, I think it would take a long time. More time to make the lines rhyme than I have inside my mind.

Somebody reached into the pockets of the Blind account for spare change. We divided the money between the riders and came up a little short of 500 dollars for each of us. Now this was going to be fun: Seu Trinh, James Craig, Gideon Choi, Corey Sheppard, Josh Kasper, Lavar McBride, Ronnie Creager. Since Blind is doing really well at Dwindle Distribution, we took it upon ourselves to raid the backroom. There’s a security system at Dwindle. (Let’s just call it Blind Industries. I like that name better; it sounds better, too.) The back is protected with a secret code, and if you know the code, duh, you’re allowed in the back. Well, the maximum security at Blind Industries has a weakness¿the Blind team. We maneuvered into the back like ants and cleared the shelves of boards and accessories. We regrouped and went for the assault one more time, until we had ten times our own weight. SSShhhh, don’t tell Mullen or Rocco this, please, you could be the next to ride for Blind. We’ll lose our jobs for sure.

The tour lasted fifteen days. Our first demo was in Naples, Florida at the Sanctuary skatepark. I was supposed to be the team driver and make sure we made it to the demos on time and stuff like that. I did manage to drive three hours out of the way to a place where we had a demo two days later. There we bumped into Jason, a pro fingerboarder¿a few kickflip backside tailslides to kickflips. I don’t think he was impressed by Corey’s single kickflip onto the countertop.

The Sanctuary skatepark was cool. It rained an hour before the demo, after that the Rollerblade kids swept the floor so we could skate¿for a small fee, of course. A shirt and some stickers, and we were in business. It was a good demo. Josh ollied off some fourteen-foot wall, while everybody flipped out on the street course. We had fun and goofed around all day. It wasn’t our fault nobody showed up to watch the demo.

Well, we almost couldn’t get a place to stay that night ’cause the Sanctuary didn’t give us the money we needed to get a hotel. I played some tennis with Josh, but I got bored not being able to hit the ball back to him. It was too muggy and the air was heavier than an elephant’s butt on your face.

SkatePark of Tampa was our next destination, and everybody was itching to get there. The park was more fun than drawing pictures all over Corey’s face in the back of the van. I was stoked at Tampa. I always have trouble with 360 flips, and I made one over the hip. And Corey¿out of nowhere with the kickflip boardslide. Gideon was tearing up the place until he tweaked his elbow the wrong way. Oh my gosh, I don’t think anybody will forget James Craig harnessing the power everywhere.

Corey wasn’t feeling good. Someone gave him something to take and it was “lights out, Las Vegas” for him. It was pretty funny. After crashing into the fence of some ranch, Josh spotted a white bull and took off running for the animal. There must have been 50 cows around. He wanted to get up and ride the sucker. Those fat animals run fast. We spent most of the night playing on tractors and rolling barrels of hay down the mountain, while trying to stand on them. Josh got run over by one, but Corey still had a face full of black pen. Ha ha! I did it!

Macon, Georgia was the next spot. I remember it ’cause the directions were lame. We couldn’t find the place¿our directions were messed up ever since we left Blind¿until a skateboarder and his mom helped us find Willy Smokey Drive. It was an old pig farm. Every year I guess they empty the place ’cause a fair is going on, and everybody tries to catch a pig. The park had crazy ground and the halfpipes were only two quarterpipes with no flatbottom. Gideon was hurt and ated anyway. He hyper-extended his elbow the day before.

After the demo was over, a skate spot was in order. We found a six-stair with a handrail leading down, and if you went at an angle, you could go over the stairs and the bar. This was really the only session we had besides touring around. Seu shot the photos and I tried to film. The demo ended, we packed up our skateboards, and headed for the hotel. It was a Sunday, and in Macon you’re not allowed to buy alcoholic drinks on this day. Josh and I devised a beer run plan. We chickened out and found a Red Lobster instead; all was merry. Then came goodnight, hip-hip hooray.

Two-hundred-fifty-five miles away and another demo. This time in Easley, South Carolina. Everybody was tired of doing the demo thing and wanted to go to stores and buy stuff. We all had GameBoys and games to go around. Driving city to city and state to state I get bored. Looking back in the rear-view mirror I could only see a rainbow. It was the Skittles commercial, but not raining Skittles. It was raining GameBoys. Everybody’s faces were so incredibly funny-looking. If I saw a smile, that meant a stage was passed, or a code was found, or vice versa. I played Pitfall and beat the game in two days. Corey stole my codes to the end level. Corey, I bet you haven’t even beat the game yourself. Oh, and your Prince of Persia game sucks, ha ha.

You know I can say anything I want to. How ’bout this … free day! Can I get a hell ya (that’s for you, Josh)! I saw Stone Cold Steve Austin on the Teen Choice Awards, and he won a surfboard. How funny. Free days are so good ’cause we were really tired of demoing. On this great wonderful free day we tried to figure out what to do, so we decided to drive the whole day ’cause the next demo was one-million miles away.

Finally, in a rougher-than-rough hot parking area in Hickory, North Carolina (The Valley Hills Mall), we saw the shop dude. We took off and drove in a circle, messing around and trying to lose him. We spent most of the day in the mall causing trouble and spending lots of money on the GameBoys. The demo started later that afternoon. I saw some of my family there I haven’t seen in a long time. It was cool. Gideon had some bad luck¿he rolled his ankle and had the rest of his per diem stolen. We don’t know what happened with his money, but Todd, if you need your wallet and stuff, send Gideon’s money to Blind. Thanks.

The demo was lame, and everybody skated hard, so we went out to eat¿where we met Jessica. Oh man, was she funny. She called her friend’s boyfriend a “picnic-table T-shirt-wearing something or other.” She stole a bottle of wine for us out of the kitchen. The workers and everybody else in the restaurant thought we were the GameBoy spokespeople and the game makers. I don’t remember how it got started, but damn, it was great.

We had four or five demos left, and I was 500 dollars richer from playing a stupid dice game. Josh lost all his money, so I had to give him some money back. I picked a number between one and 100, and Josh and Corey kept on guessing it for 100 dollars. I picked the number 71. Josh finally got it, and Corey didn’t like it¿he said I cheated. I didn’t, but I know it must be hard being an amateur. He still thinks he picked the correct number.

We traveled to quite a few places: Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia. I don’t remember which was which. Both of the demos were on tennis courts. One was super good with all kinds of stuff to skate and good ramps¿bars everywhere, some manual and hips, and oh wow, all kinds of stuff. The other was rough ground. I stuck to the mini ramp all day, while the guys went out and did all kinds of crazy stuff. Josh was doing frontside flips on the eight-foot quarterpipe with five feet of vert. He would ride all the way up, do a frontside flip, and land all the way at the bottom of the ramp. Lavar looked bored doing nollie heelflippers every time over the pyramid. I don’t remember James, Gideon, or Corey around. They skated, but mostly hung out in the woods looking for crawdads or something.

One-hundred-fifty N. Jennifer Road, Solid State was the demo after the last one. The police cornered us inside of the mall’s parking lot and proceeded to surround us. After a few questions and autographs, everything was better (that was the day before the demo day at around two or three in the morning, which would really make it the day that was really the day of the demo, technically speaking). Chris Hall from the video 1281 (New Deal) was there, but he wasn’t skateboarding. Gary Smith was out there shredding with all the locals. Everybody skated on the asphalt ground. It was a hot day, and the sun had melted the ground, making it kinda soft to skate on. This was our second to last demo of the trip, and then we had a day off.

Being on the road takes a lot out of you. We finally reached cloud break in Ocean City, Maryland, a beach town. We arrived a few hours early, so we found some jet skis and made our way out into the depths of the ocean. The water was really salty, but the atmosphere was ridiculous. It was so fun we should’ve shined the demo. Lavar and Corey almost got kicked off the jet skis for reckless tactics. Not wanting to leave the boats, we sadly went to the demo. Wait, you know what? I forgot and got it all mixed up.

The demo was first and we skated a little course behind the shop that had a little mini ramp and a street course with some banks and mini-Hubba ledge. After the demo at 4:00 p.m. we left and went on the jet skis, that’s right. Sorry ’bout the mix up. We were starving so we went to a restaurant, and we ate some mushrooms for dinner. Uh-oh. Everyone started to feel weird, like food poisoning or something. Lavar didn’t realize he was allergic to some kind of seafood, so he swelled up like a balloon.

Skating around that town at night was fun, and then it was back on the road. Still feeling something in our bodies, we stopped on the side of the road to go to the bathroom. The police showed up and we ran back to the car. The only thing that happened was a warning and hint that people get murdered on the side of the road going to the bathroom or something like that¿straight out of the Twilight Zone. We found a Taco Bell somewhere in Westchester, Pennsylvania. I tried to order a quesadilla and was told they don’t have them. I thought they were kidding, but it turned out they didn’t have them. Wow, a Taco Bell with no quesadillas … hmmm.

The City Stars flew in that day and we were to meet them at the skatepark. This is where their team started a tour, and our team got to go home. Ahh, free pizza and skate obstacles all day. There were so many pros and ams at this demo it was like a contest, and the way everybody skated, it must’ve been one. That night was a little crazy¿sitting in the hotel with nothing to do. Jason Masse came to the hotel to show us around, but he didn’t know anything. The games were boring, and with the sports bar closed, we ventured out into the city and found another bar. It was hard to get Seu to go, so we kidnapped him and made him drive. It was hard to get him to stay. We walked into the place and found a game that Seu liked. It was love at first sight: A photo-hunt game where you pick out five different things about each picture. You could even pick between girls with or without clothes. That took care of him, except for the money it took to play the game, but that wasn’t so hard to handle. Everybody was happy.

Time to leave the bar, and everybody trusted me to drive, so I decided to drive the van into the lake behind the hotel. The parking blocks in the ground stopped it from going all the way in. The back of the van was floating two feet above the ground and we were still inside. We all took turns flooring the car, while bouncing on the back and with some kind of miracle the car jumped out from the edge. We parked the car and ra’t remember James, Gideon, or Corey around. They skated, but mostly hung out in the woods looking for crawdads or something.

One-hundred-fifty N. Jennifer Road, Solid State was the demo after the last one. The police cornered us inside of the mall’s parking lot and proceeded to surround us. After a few questions and autographs, everything was better (that was the day before the demo day at around two or three in the morning, which would really make it the day that was really the day of the demo, technically speaking). Chris Hall from the video 1281 (New Deal) was there, but he wasn’t skateboarding. Gary Smith was out there shredding with all the locals. Everybody skated on the asphalt ground. It was a hot day, and the sun had melted the ground, making it kinda soft to skate on. This was our second to last demo of the trip, and then we had a day off.

Being on the road takes a lot out of you. We finally reached cloud break in Ocean City, Maryland, a beach town. We arrived a few hours early, so we found some jet skis and made our way out into the depths of the ocean. The water was really salty, but the atmosphere was ridiculous. It was so fun we should’ve shined the demo. Lavar and Corey almost got kicked off the jet skis for reckless tactics. Not wanting to leave the boats, we sadly went to the demo. Wait, you know what? I forgot and got it all mixed up.

The demo was first and we skated a little course behind the shop that had a little mini ramp and a street course with some banks and mini-Hubba ledge. After the demo at 4:00 p.m. we left and went on the jet skis, that’s right. Sorry ’bout the mix up. We were starving so we went to a restaurant, and we ate some mushrooms for dinner. Uh-oh. Everyone started to feel weird, like food poisoning or something. Lavar didn’t realize he was allergic to some kind of seafood, so he swelled up like a balloon.

Skating around that town at night was fun, and then it was back on the road. Still feeling something in our bodies, we stopped on the side of the road to go to the bathroom. The police showed up and we ran back to the car. The only thing that happened was a warning and hint that people get murdered on the side of the road going to the bathroom or something like that¿straight out of the Twilight Zone. We found a Taco Bell somewhere in Westchester, Pennsylvania. I tried to order a quesadilla and was told they don’t have them. I thought they were kidding, but it turned out they didn’t have them. Wow, a Taco Bell with no quesadillas … hmmm.

The City Stars flew in that day and we were to meet them at the skatepark. This is where their team started a tour, and our team got to go home. Ahh, free pizza and skate obstacles all day. There were so many pros and ams at this demo it was like a contest, and the way everybody skated, it must’ve been one. That night was a little crazy¿sitting in the hotel with nothing to do. Jason Masse came to the hotel to show us around, but he didn’t know anything. The games were boring, and with the sports bar closed, we ventured out into the city and found another bar. It was hard to get Seu to go, so we kidnapped him and made him drive. It was hard to get him to stay. We walked into the place and found a game that Seu liked. It was love at first sight: A photo-hunt game where you pick out five different things about each picture. You could even pick between girls with or without clothes. That took care of him, except for the money it took to play the game, but that wasn’t so hard to handle. Everybody was happy.

Time to leave the bar, and everybody trusted me to drive, so I decided to drive the van into the lake behind the hotel. The parking blocks in the ground stopped it from going all the way in. The back of the van was floating two feet above the ground and we were still inside. We all took turns flooring the car, while bouncing on the back and with some kind of miracle the car jumped out from the edge. We parked the car and ran inside like nothing happened.

After that, nothing could stop us. James and Josh were fighting in the hotel room, trying to destroy every hotel room we paid for. We terrorized the hotel and somehow managed to not get kicked out.

We woke up in the morning with the van broken into but nothing stolen. One of the windows was completely shattered. As we all packed up to leave for home, the hotel fixed the window with Saran Wrap. Corey, James, and I were going to drive the van all the way back to Florida to return the car. Somehow the car wouldn’t start ’cause of the alarm, but some kind of weird thing happened and the car started. Nobody wanted to drive back to Florida with us, so we gave a “peace out” to our homies Josh Kasper, Lavar McBride, Gideon Choi, Seu Trihn. Tour was over, and we were on our way.

d ran inside like nothing happened.

After that, nothing could stop us. James and Josh were fighting in the hotel room, trying to destroy every hotel room we paid for. We terrorized the hotel and somehow managed to not get kicked out.

We woke up in the morning with the van broken into but nothing stolen. One of the windows was completely shattered. As we all packed up to leave for home, the hotel fixed the window with Saran Wrap. Corey, James, and I were going to drive the van all the way back to Florida to return the car. Somehow the car wouldn’t start ’cause of the alarm, but some kind of weird thing happened and the car started. Nobody wanted to drive back to Florida with us, so we gave a “peace out” to our homies Josh Kasper, Lavar McBride, Gideon Choi, Seu Trihn. Tour was over, and we were on our way.