When summertime arrives, it becomes time to travel around the country with your teammates–driving hours and hours in a cramped van, stinkin’ with sweat after a long day skating. Demos can be frustrating, and as you journey from one shop to another, they can seriously get to you. The best thing about traveling in between demos is coming across new skate terrain. In nine days on the road with Ed Templeton, Brian Anderson, Mike Maldonado, Chris Senn, and Elissa Steamer, this is what we came across …

Day One

Brian and I went to Tum Yeto to pick up the van. Upon arrival, we saw this brand-new minivan sitting in front of the building. We were in disbelief. There was no way six of us would comfortably fit in that thing for a week. It was ridiculous, but what could we say?

We then headed up to Ed’s house to pick him up along with Mike and Elissa. “What is this?” Elissa blurted out while looking at the van. Mike and Ed had the same look in their eyes.

After a half hour of packing, we were off to Phoenix, Arizona. Ed was on a mission. “We gotta get there by seven,” he said with frustration while we were stuck in L.A. traffic for a good two hours. We soon came out of the smog-filled air, and Brian floored the pedal like he was in the Daytona 500. On the way through the desert, everyone kept themselves occupied by yapping back and forth about old cartoons. It was funny naming all the old classics from Transformers to Tom and Jerry. The list went on and on, and by the time no one could think of another, we were at the Phoenix park.

Day Two

I woke up to Ed reading passages from the Bible. I didn’t know what he was trying to get at, I just stuck my head back under the covers. After checking out, we shopped at a health-food store in Flagstaff. I don’t think Ed and Brian could live without organic food.

Later on, I suggested we stop at this meteor crater park, just to check it out after a long drive. Ed wasn’t impressed about paying 40 dollars for the five of us to look at a hole in the ground. “Yeah, Gee,” Ed said, “I could’ve hiked around the other side for free.” Oh well, I thought it’d be good to see something other than desert for the next six hours.

We grabbed a bite to eat in Albuburque, New Mexico and headed toward Denver, Colorado. I wished we could’ve stayed in a Albuquerque, that city has so many good spots to offer.

Day Three “This van is whacked! Will someone knock me out, please!” Elissa yelled over and over again, while Mike had the middle seat a.k.a. the bed. He was the most comfortable. Elissa, Mike, and I traded off every day, out of courtesy.

As we drove through the plains looking at nothing but cornfields, Elissa looked confused. Ed was playing a tape that would make anyone want to jump out of the van. She buried herself under her pillow to keep from going insane. “What in the hell are you listening to?” I asked. “Woody Guthrie,” Ed replied. I sat there with a puzzled look on my face. “It fits the mood of the drive,” he exclaimed.

Luckily, we all passed out. Three hours later we woke up outside of Denver where it was raining. Rad! There was a demo scheduled, and things cleared up. The demo went well, and later, Brian still had the energy to take a few photos in Ft. Collins.

Day Four Ed went to pick up Senn at the airport, then we were off to Boulder, running late for our next demo. “Whoa! Look at that thing!” Mike yelled out as we drove by more stuff for us to skate, but we had to pass it up. With little time to waste, it was impossible to even check out spots. “Hey Ed, do you know where you’re going?” I asked. “Don’t f–k with me, I’m Map Boy,” he said, and led us in the right direction.

In Boulder we premiered Jump Off A Building, the new Toy Machine video. The kids were stoked and autographs were signed. Usually, after demos, locals tell you about this sick rail or that gap in town, and Denver was no different.

When we arrived at a spot they’d told about, everyone was like “Yeah, right!” Picture a twenty-stair handrail shaped like an “S”; plus, the rail had three inches of wax on it. Ed, Brian, and Mike gave it a shot. Brian almost railslid it, and Ed grinded the whole thing with a little stand-up guidance from Mike. After that, Brian sacked his nuts; it was time to call it quits before anyone else got a beating.

We ate at a Thai restaurant, and off we went to Grand Junction, Colorado. Supposedly, there was some cement bowl there. This was Senn’s territory.

The trip there was terrible. All of us were uncomfortable. Elissa and I slept on the floor all squashed up, while Ed drove 90 miles per hour through snaking turns down the Rocky Mountains. We woke up stopped in the middle of the road. Ed was outside the van ready to beat some kids up. Apparently, they had followed us for the past ten miles trying to run us off the road, but they took off really fast after Ed confronted them. I guess Ed scared them. I don’t know how, though, ’cause he’s the biggest wuss. Three hours later we checked into our hotel in Grand Junction.

Day Five We woke up determined to find this cement park. Downtown Grand Junction is interesting, everywhere you look, there’re public art displays. Ed, Brian, and I shopped at a thrift store while the others ate.

We finally came upon our destination. Behind a school was a really good cement park with an eleven-foot keyhole bowl, snakeruns, a small bowl, and a little street course. Senn whipped out of the van and skated his usual above-the-speed-limit lines through the whole park, like he’d skated it every day. Everyone else skated the street course. The park was like a frying pan–scorching hot. Can I say Brian Anderson sucks? Kickflip frontside bluntslide down a small double-sided cement rail! Damn!

After a few hours, looking like a bunch of lobsters, we searched for food. We discovered a hotel with a pool conveniently located in front of the restaurant where we ate. F–k it! We went for a quick swim while the people in the restaurant got to see us change almost to our bare asses in the parking lot. It was too funny watching Ed walk around in his boxers with his gut hanging out–pure white trash. The next demo was in Cedar City, Utah. A six-hour drive was ahead of us. Great.

Day Six We did the usual–woke up, skated at a demo in 100-degree heat, then premiered the video, again. On our way out of Cedar City, Senn was saying how good it’d be if we could swim in a lake. Fifteen minutes later, we spotted one alongside the highway. As we drove off the highway onto a dirt road, we happened across a fifteen-foot-deep ditch that slowly downgraded to six feet. “Forget the swim, let’s skate this thing!”

It took us about twenty minutes to hike down the mountain to it. Once there, Ed lofted some nice frontside ollies over a little hip, while Mike was doing 360 kickflips on the steeper bank. And Senn destroyed it, as usual. Senn, Ed, and Brian, amped on the ditch, skated into the night.

After a while, we hiked back up to the van. Our stomachs were churning for food, so we stopped off in a town called St. George, Utah. Too tired to continue driving, we ended up staying the night there.

Day Seven In the morning, we searched St. George, because it looked like it might have something to offer. We had some luck at a nearby college, where we shot some photos and then were out. Toy Machine had two days off from demos, so Ed decided to take us to Zion National Park. The park was a good way for us to relax from the past six days of exhaustion.

As we drove up the mountains, we stopped off to climb a steep rock hill. With my camera in one hand and only a small crack to hold myself up, I decided not go any higher. Mike was right behind me, and he also turned back for the better.

We drove further and hiked a trail to check out some natural springs. Ed thought he was a National Geographic photographer, lurking in and out of trees to get a good shot of deer, while the rest of us watched 1,000 frogs mate in a pond.

Later that day, we headed for Las Vegas. Senn had never been there before, and I was dreading it. We got a hotel in the money- hungriest city in the world. Ed, Senn, and Brian went to walk the strip. “You gonna come with us?” Ed asked. I said “Hells no! There’s no way I’m going to walk the strip after we hiked up one of the highest mountains in Utah.” Goodnight! Elissa, Mike, and I went to sleep.

Day Eight We went to a shop not too far from downtown Vegas where Ed got directions to an outdoor skatepark. We were still tired from the day before, but why not check it out? It might be fun. We got to the park–we weren’t stoked. It was smaller than the Huntington Beach Park. Ed felt right at home, so he skated it for an hour while we sat in the van. Mike was playing skate a.k.a. horse with the locals in the parking lot. Elissa was complaining, as usual. Brian was in his own world. Senn and I were reading.

Next thing I knew, a police car rolled up, and minutes later Senn, Elissa, and I were cuffed against the car. “What the hell is going on?” I said. The officer didn’t say anything ’til he was done frisking us. “We had a call that kids in a white van were smokin’ weed,” the officer said. “Not us!” we replied. So he searched through the van and found nothing.

“Code four negative B subjects,” he splurted out into his little radio. “Thank you for your cooperation,” he said. Dickhead. Doesn’t anyone think twice before calling the police? Seriously! “Let’s get out of here, Ed,” we all said.

Later on we found a better place to skate without any hassles. Goodbye, Las Vegas! In a few hours we were in L.A. We ended up staying at Ed’s house that night, ’cause we had a demo not far from there the next day.

Day Nine Simi Valley Skatepark was the last demo. When we got there, I was a little confused, because a company called Renaissance was putting on their own demo. They threw stickers and shirts out to kids, while Senn skated through them. But everyone was having fun, ’cause the park was so good.

After the two combined demos were over, we had to rush Senn to the airport. The next day was the X-Games, so he had to fly up to San Francisco to get his son Anakin, and then fly back down to San Diego. Ed had to get back to pack as well. We dropped off Mike and Elissa. Brian and I drove down to our good ol’ buddy Swift’s house to finish an interview. Tour over, hallelujah!

This was the first time in nine days Brian and I had a stretched-out, relaxing drive.

out of trees to get a good shot of deer, while the rest of us watched 1,000 frogs mate in a pond.

Later that day, we headed for Las Vegas. Senn had never been there before, and I was dreading it. We got a hotel in the money- hungriest city in the world. Ed, Senn, and Brian went to walk the strip. “You gonna come with us?” Ed asked. I said “Hells no! There’s no way I’m going to walk the strip after we hiked up one of the highest mountains in Utah.” Goodnight! Elissa, Mike, and I went to sleep.

Day Eight We went to a shop not too far from downtown Vegas where Ed got directions to an outdoor skatepark. We were still tired from the day before, but why not check it out? It might be fun. We got to the park–we weren’t stoked. It was smaller than the Huntington Beach Park. Ed felt right at home, so he skated it for an hour while we sat in the van. Mike was playing skate a.k.a. horse with the locals in the parking lot. Elissa was complaining, as usual. Brian was in his own world. Senn and I were reading.

Next thing I knew, a police car rolled up, and minutes later Senn, Elissa, and I were cuffed against the car. “What the hell is going on?” I said. The officer didn’t say anything ’til he was done frisking us. “We had a call that kids in a white van were smokin’ weed,” the officer said. “Not us!” we replied. So he searched through the van and found nothing.

“Code four negative B subjects,” he splurted out into his little radio. “Thank you for your cooperation,” he said. Dickhead. Doesn’t anyone think twice before calling the police? Seriously! “Let’s get out of here, Ed,” we all said.

Later on we found a better place to skate without any hassles. Goodbye, Las Vegas! In a few hours we were in L.A. We ended up staying at Ed’s house that night, ’cause we had a demo not far from there the next day.

Day Nine Simi Valley Skatepark was the last demo. When we got there, I was a little confused, because a company called Renaissance was putting on their own demo. They threw stickers and shirts out to kids, while Senn skated through them. But everyone was having fun, ’cause the park was so good.

After the two combined demos were over, we had to rush Senn to the airport. The next day was the X-Games, so he had to fly up to San Francisco to get his son Anakin, and then fly back down to San Diego. Ed had to get back to pack as well. We dropped off Mike and Elissa. Brian and I drove down to our good ol’ buddy Swift’s house to finish an interview. Tour over, hallelujah!

This was the first time in nine days Brian and I had a stretched-out, relaxing drive.