On October first I set sail on a two-week mission of road trips. The first trip was another footage-collection trip that Ty put together for the newest video, The Reason. It was a little weird to leave this late in the fall, but we were only going to San Jose and San Francisco. I gathered up half the posse, which was Danny Montoya, Gershon Mosley, and Jon Holland. We met Ty at LAX, where he’d just picked up Moses Itkonen and Paul Machnau, and then my brother Ako swindled his way in to catch a free ride to see his girl–our posse was complete.
Of course we had to leave L.A. on a Friday in rush-hour traffic, but as soon as we made it to the valley, Ty came up with the first spot. It was a gap to ledge that went off six stairs. Within minutes the generator was out, and everyone attacked the ledge. We skated for about an hour, then broke out.
Once on the road north everyone seemed to still have energy, so Ty knew of a good spot in Santa Barbara that we could all cash in on. When we got there it was pretty late, I think 12:00 a.m., but everyone was psyched when we set our eyes on the most perfect mellow flat rails off three long stairs. Everyone was going crazy–like it was the last rail on Earth. Within a half hour everyone came up on some footage, but by then a cop rolled up, and the session was cut a little short. For some reason the cop was cool; he just told us to leave.
On our way out we figured we’d go to the famous San Marcos rails, while we were close, and once again it was on. Within minutes the generator was running, Moses was skating the rail, and Montoya was working the ledge. We lasted for about a half hour, and then the cops rolled up. To our surprise, they didn’t freak out; it must’ve been something in the donuts, because the cops were kinda cool. By the time we got to San Jose it was like 4:00 a.m., and the bed was the only spot to hit.
The next couple of days we stayed in San Jose. We skated a school that had good handrails, which Paul got his on. We also checked out some spots Gershon knew about; there was some good stuff, but of course we got the boot. On our last night in San Jose, we skated the downtown area and found a gnarly ledge downstairs that Moses and Machnau served a Canadian beat-down on. After that we checked out this double set, and Paul (who still wasn’t finished after the ledge) tried to switch flip the double set. While he was trying, he stepped off his board wrong and broke his ankle. This sucked because he was killing it on the trip. He was on the next flight home to Canada.
The next day I had to fly back to L.A. just for the day, but that was a whole other story. Ty took everyone else to San Francisco, and they hooked up with Pete Thompson. That night I got back to S.F. and we just kicked at the hotel, and the next day it was back to business. We went to this crazy ledge down a double-set, and Reese Forbes was already there skating it. Within minutes Reese had tailslid it, and right after that Moses had half-Cab noseslid it and 180 nosegrinded it. After that we went to the pier and saw Brian Anderson, Brad Staba, and Gabe Morford. Then we went to Pier Seven and witnessed one of the techest manual sessions ever, performed by Danny Gonzalez and Rob Welsh.
Our next spot on the San Francisco list, the Presidio rails. The craziest thing was we rolled up to find Andrew Reynolds, Jeff Lenoce, Dustin Dollin, and Colin McKay skating the rails. Reynolds told me he’d filmed a couple tricks on the rails already, so I talked him into a instant replay for a sequence, and within a couple rolls it was a done deal.
The next day we only really hit one spot, a bump-over bar. Gershon took care of it with a backside 180 heelflip. Right after that, Ty raced me to the airport to catch a red-eye flight to Toronto to hop on a Girl and Chocolate tour.
Eight Hours Awayby Atiba Jefferson
After the worst night of missed flights, crying babies, and an extended route to Toronto, I finnally arrived to meet up with the Girl and Chocolate team, only to find my luggage was missing and I’d lost the claim numbers … so I kissed all of it goodbye. I got to the hotel by 8:00 a.m., and everyone was still asleep. I called all the rooms, and the only room awake was the media room with Gio Reda and R.B. Umali, so I went and kicked it in their room.
I’d just missed out on seeing Gino, Keenen, Bobbie, and Tony getting transferred by the police to another hotel after a night of raging. After everyone woke up, we headed to a skatepark a hour outside Toronto. Once there, we found a small street course and a mini ramp with about 300 kids waiting around. There were so many people in the park it was hard to skate, so not too much went down.
The next day we were to leave Toronto, so those who were awake early went and skated the downtown area one last time. It was pretty good. The only thing that sucked was by skating there during the week, we got kicked out of most places. We got enough for Rick to break off a ledge off stairs, though.
After getting some veggie dogs from a street vendor, we loaded up the vans to head for Niagara Falls. The one thing I noticed was we pretty much kept the same roster in the vans when on the road. In the good van we had Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Jeron Wilson, Rudy Johnson, Gino Iannucci, R.B. Umali, Jason Calloway, and myself. In the evil van was Tim Dowling, Robbie McKinley, Stevie Williams, Mike York, Daniel Castio, Keenan Milton, and Tony Ferguson. The way the vans got their names, good and evil, had to do with their cleanliness and the music selection. DJ Keenan was running the evil van’s music which consisted of Marilyn Manson or Guns N’ Roses, and any van with that playing in it can only be up to no good.
After Niagara Falls we headed to Dayton, Ohio, one of many eight-hour drives. Once we got there it was pouring rain, so the demo was moved inside to the shop mini ramp and a small street course that was set up like a banked mini ramp. During the demo, Keenan, Tony, Jeron, Mike, Stevie, and Robbie had a battle on the banks going back and forth doing every flip trick known to man. Because the weather forecast for Ohio was rain, rain, and more rain, we headed to Chicago–which was another eight hours away.
We hit Chicago for the weekend, and the weather wasn’t bad; it looked good for taking care of business. We skated downtown on the first day, which was fun. We just cruised around from spot to spot. We either stopped for a while or got kicked out fast because our posse was so deep. The second day ended up a little less productive, because we drove around and that took us forever. We hit a college that had a big bank you could do tricks into, and Stevie killed it doing a grip of tricks into it. After that we hit downtown and got one last photo of Keenen, and then we hopped in the van for another eight-hour drive to Minneapolis.
Once we hit Minneapolis we had a demo at Third Lair skatepark. The park is indoors and has a good street course, and along with that we had a sold-out crowd to watch the show. This demo showed that if you have a good spot for the team, you’ll get a good demo, because the whole team killed it. On one side of the park Carroll and Rick were in the zone, while the rest of the team took care of the other half of the park. The crowd definitely got their money’s worth on this one.
The next day I had a flight out at 7:00 p.m. back home to San Diego, so we hit St. Paul during the day and pretty much got kicked out of every spot we looked at. After the day was over I said good-bye to everyone on tour and the eight-hour drives that came with it.