Six Skaters, One Van

California –Six skateboarders have been placed in van that is incapable of being described as comfortable. Pete Thompson offered five of us–Rob Welsh, Chet Childress, Jon Holland, and Jake Rupp, and me–a chance to travel. We all got together in San Francisco.

Colorado –Opting not to have a mapped out exploration, Denver was our first stop. We were stalked by three twelve-year-old girls. The scene happened at La Quinta hotel. The three girls left us a phone message, “Meet us at the swimming pool at 9:30. We want you really bad.” To lie would be to say the six of us obliged by going to the pool. Go figure.

Lennie Byrd lives in Crested Butte.

Washington D.C. –Washington D.C. posed as a low point on the tour. Parking the crapmobile in front of six marble stairs was wondrous for the cops. Fortunately, we tried to make the best of things and proceeded to focus our boards.

Weird Animal Show –Between here and on the way to there, we stopped to see what had been advertised for some time as the world’s largest prairie dog. Too bad the signs didn’t mention that we’d be paying four dollars to see a wooden prairie dog statue the size of our comfortable mini-van. If that wasn’t well worth it, we got to see two jackelopes. Too bad they were stuffed, right? The only living oddities were two cows–one with six legs and one with five. Next time you eat a hamburger, think of all the hormones farmers inject into cows and how unnatural that is.

Pennsylvania –Woodward attracts many young skaters who undoubtedly read, see, and examine skate magazines. One question for those examiners: how do you guys remember 411 so damn well?

North Carolina –When we got to Raleigh, Pete showed us some bushes he’d run into in the past while driving, and somehow he ended up running into them again. At least they reminded me of the bushes he showed us.

The Return Trip to Cali –It was time to head back to San Francisco. Getting people together in a speedy and orderly fashion has got to be one of the hugest jokes of the century.

Nevada –I’m sure Jon Holland would like to thank United Airlines along with Ford, as we all would. Since the two “organized” companies made the “smooth” exit from here possible. Reno must have had some loose slots, because Rupp hit the jackpot by rolling away from his nollie big spin down a double-set via one broken board.

Ohio –In Columbus, Welsh ran into some friends from Maine and had to remember things of the past. To say the least, there wasn’t too much celebrating the following day. Chet was funny and probably wishes he could have hooked up with J.D. at Endless Grind. Arguments Equal Relationships –Typically, a tour article consists of words about spots and cities skated, spars of asphalt crossed, and run-ins with various people. Often overlooked are the verbal arguments between the people cooped up in the sardine tin on wheels–keep in mind that such arguments are a major element in any relationship. Even before this trip, a fire was apparent between Rob, Pete, and I. The only ingredient missing was the kerosene. Rob and I located that fuel somewhere outside of Denver, Colorado where we exchanged various obscene comments with each other. We both overreacted about something as meaningless as the way I was drawing in the van. In order for arguments with establish a better friendship though, the parties involved must honor skills of forgiving and forgetting. Rob and I were quite capable of doing so.

Philadelphia –The arguments died down, until Pete rekindled the fire with a bit of constructive criticism. Rob was overcoming a minor foot injury obtained prior to the trip, therefore he was skating with a bit of frustration. See, a photographer wants photos, so if he’s not getting them he becomes antsy. Things were warm until we reached Philly. Pete couldn’t deal withh not taking photos of Rob and decided to hit the release valve. He took it upon himself to recap the days gone by. Pete unleashed his thoughts to Rob, while Chet, Jon, Jake, and I observed in silence. Time passed and with some determination, Rob overcame the heat, the hurt, and the criticism in order to have his soul stolen by the camera a few times. Forgiven and forgotten, the three of us are better friends.

The End –Since I’ve neglected to reflect on the doings of the other three members of the tour, a conclusion isn’t possible. But let me say that Jake, Chet, and Jon were the calm ones who balanced out the trip. I’m positive that this is a fine example of how a tour is a learning experience, aside from simply traveling to new places. We traveled about 20,000 miles together and now we all have slots in our memories of “the trip.” By the way, the slot was also filled with twelve-year-old girls stalking us in Denver.