Road Trip Part 1 Oregon & Colorado October 26, 2002
Okay, so it has been well over a year since we've returned from the first of 50-50's ongoing annual road trips to seek out and ride the best skateparks in the world. Strangely enough, this article is being posted months after our 2nd annual road trip to Oregon and Washington in 2002 - The reason? We have none, but we like to blame the fact that we didn't bring along a computer on this first adventure. You see, transcribing all the scribblings from our little paperback journal has taken millions of hours to complete. For those patient enough to read through this entire beast - there is a nice long 21MB movie on the bottom of the page for your viewing pleasure.
The question is, how do you skate 26 of the world's best skate parks in 14 days? Well this was our plan, and in late April 2001 we made it happen.
The following is a pretty long and drawn-out journal, one that only those that have ever involved themselves in a life-long Mecca of this proportion could ever truly appreciate. The beginning of our journey would start in late 2000, after news spread of a concrete skate park boom happening in the Northwest United States. After seeing these concrete beauties in skateboarding magazines and on the internet, we knew that eventually we were going to have to leave our home in paradise in quest of the ultimate terrain. It wasn't going to just come to us, we had to seek it out ourselves. After a long debate about the itinerary of our trip, we eventually narrowed it down to two destinations, Oregon and Colorado. Our traveling entourage consisted of 4 skaters: Primal D, Big B, Robot and the Islander. After returning home safely with all the great memories and stories to tell, it's a guaranteed that we'll be traveling again next year.
Journal by: Robot
April 27 & 28, 2001
Due to poor vacation planning, the Islander had to work, missing the first two days of our travels. Fortunately, this makes him the perfect candidate to taxi the rest of us to the airport. Foreseeing an end to his herbal dietary supplement, Big B has packed a brownie for our flight to Oregon. We get on the plane and arrive to a rainy Portland at about 10 am Oregon time.
Avoiding any and all circumstances that may in somehow taint our dream of perfect weather and perfect parks, we change our plans immediately and decide to make the long drive down to Southern Oregon first. No sleep, a six-hour flight, a stop at Denny's, and then a five-hour drive later we end up in the parking lot of the largest of the Southern Oregon skate parks, Medford. Glistening in the moonlight, the alien curves of Medford skate park are enough to keep anyone from getting any sort of sleep. Against our will, we cram into the car and Big B begins snoring like a motherfucking mad man. Because of the close quarters, it becomes apparent that we may want to think about finding some lodging for the night (sleeping in the car also takes it's toll on the body, especially on a long skate trip). Unfortunately, as we pull into a local lodging facility at 4 am Oregon time, we discover that our hopes of sleeping in a bed that night is not possible. After what seemed to be a few minutes rest, we emerge from the car, zombified. Looking for some kind of quick fix, we scour the town of Medford for some fresh vegetable juice. We soon realize that Medford has a really crappy selection of health food stores. Soon the rain begins to fall, quickly spoiling our chances of skating the park when it opens.
Considering how wet the Medford skate park was, it dried rather quickly and we were soon skating the uncrowded park at about noon. If you like gnarly big ass bowls, then Medford is the park for you. The large bowl comes complete with blue tile, pool coping, and 11 ft/4 ft/7 ft sections. Big B was hell-bent; tossing up big frontside airs in the big bowl in this big park, and subsequently threw out his big back doing so (this would become a reoccurring problem for B on the rest of the trip). I told him that maybe he should chill since this was only the first park on the first day, then didnt take my own words to wisdom as I stupidly attempted padless eggplants in the rain. The park was a little bumpy, though (at least it wasn't big bumpy). Aside from the bowl, the rest of the park has metal coping with a lot of mellow hips and some fun free-formed trannies and curves. There is also a large Burnside-esque vert pillar in this other section of the park. Instead of spending our time properly documenting/skating the park, we decided we weren't going to let the precious Oregon sun go to waste so we hit the road once again in quest of another park.
The 4 skate parks of Southern Oregon are all within an hour drive of one another. We were determined to skate all 4 parks on the first day. Next stop, Ashland.
Ashland is closest skate park to the California/Oregon border. When we arrive at the park, we find a full-on Think demo/session happening complete with skate park locals with white tanktops and perky nipples. Perhaps the demo was just winding down, since the park was pretty much a free for all at this point, but it was kind of funny to see Hawaii transplants Sean Payne and Poncho Moler congregating at this crazy little park in Southern Oregon. Ashland has a fun little layout that is a little more street-oriented, with pyramids, a rail and some hips. It's all enclosed rather nicely. There's also a 4-ft square bowl with a spine, a snake run, and a clover bowl with 4/5/7ft (8.5-ft extension) sections and really nice blue pool coping. After an hour of skating/documenting, it was time for me to go back to the car and get a little shut-eye. When I wake up we are in the parking lot of another skate park.
Talent skate park is one of Oregon's older parks. The first thing I noticed about the park were the fun little pump bumps the park had. There was also an 8-foot square bowl with 9-foot extension with yellow pool coping in some sections. This bowl also connected via a spine to a really crappy 6-foot kidney bowl that was on a downhill grade. Not really sure why the whole kidney bowl was painted an ugly hue of green, but I suppose it was to warn you to stay away from it. The kidney bowl we came to find out was the first thing built at the park. The rest of the park consists of various hips, banks and pyramids. Some of the hips jutted out like loveseats so you could ride right over them. The park locals we saw were wearing these terrible orange t-shirts. There was a punk-rock girl skater that was kind of into herself and a pumpkin-head guy we saw at Ashland earlier. He swept out the debris from the bowl for us and I believe confessed a desire to 'stick me' too. Whatever that means, Primal D said it was a compliment. We start to take a few spills later in the day. Big B takes himself out in one of the tight bowls. Maybe we should think about pacing ourselves since it's only the first day. So much 'crete to ride. Anyway, time to get in the car and on to another park.
Grant's Pass would be the last skate park we'd hit up on this long, adventurous day. There was a lot of flow to this park; perhaps this was the best park we skated this day. The street area was very well designed. Grant's Pass has a snake run that goes from 5ft to 6ft to a round 8ft bowl, and ends in a huge 11ft square bowl. There were also these three round mound/nipple things in the corner. Pretty cool. The only crappy thing about this park was the use of aluminum coping. It didn't grind worth a shit. However, the trannies were nice and smooth. When we first arrived at the park, we saw a police officer issuing tickets to some kids for not wearing their helmets. We kind of knew about the helmet laws around here, but had yet to see them enforced. The fine?? $250. Ouch!!
As it started to get dark, we decide to look for something to eat and find some accommodations for the night. We sleep well.
Sean Payne: Ashland
Grant's Pass, Oregon
Grant's Pass, Oregon
April 29, 2001
Southern Oregon-->Central Oregon-->Wilsonville
We wake up the next morning and the weather is just horrible. We decide that since we've ridden so many parks already, that perhaps we should do a little early morning sightseeing. We look on our map and find a national park called Crater Lake, which is supposedly like the deepest lake in the world, well, maybe. So we drive up there and the weather goes from rain to snow to fog. We actually pay $10 to go up to the lake, but when we actually get there, there's like 50-foot visibility because of the fog. Can't see shit. It kind of sucks. As D puts it, "it's like going on a date without having any sex". Even though we weren't expecting too much because of the weather, we decide to drive to Roseburg to look at the next skate park.
As we approach the town of Roseburg, we realize that although it may be overcast, everything is dry. We ask a gas station attendant where the skate park is. He not only tells us where it is, but that his band played a fundraising concert to help get it built. We find out that the Roseburg skate park was actually constructed by a general contractor who makes floors for stores. All things considered, he didn't do too badly of a job.
Roseburg is kind of lame, and while skating around the park, it just kind of seems half completed. Everything is spaced really far apart with too much flat bottom. The aluminum coping is terrible, the snake run is a bit modular and doesn't flow very well, and the deep end of the bowl doesn't feel steep enough (maybe 8-ft deep with a 9-ft tranny). One of the best parts of the park is actually a big quarter pipe that's about 9 ft tall. Also the flyouts out of the bowled section were pretty fun. We got a little caught up doing this, so did a lot of the park locals.
Big B & D give me hell for wanting to drive all the way to Eugene to find a decent park to skate for the day. We take about two hours to get there, but after arriving in Eugene, we were pleasantly surprised by the park we were about to skate.
There are couple of skate parks in Eugene, but the park we ended up going to was called Churchill skate park, because it was located by the Churchill high school. We went to this park, because we heard this was the better park. After skating this park, we decided it was so good we didn't even think of skating the other more street-oriented park. The Churchill park is great: all curves, no pyramids, no rails no ledges. Churchill has a 5 ft mini section with a spine & Marseille-type island, a snake run with 5 ft bowls leading into a 9 ft square bowl, and a bunch of large lumps kind of strewn about the park. The only bad things about the park is it had really crappy aluminum coping, there's a long dead-end side with a fence, and the trannies were a little lumpy. Other than that, a very nice park.
After the skate in Eugene we would go to our new favorite Italian restaurant, Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria for some fine dining. At that restaurant, we also met Primal Ds new favorite waitress. We're not really sure what her name is, but Primal D calls her 'head-lights tail-lights' cause you could see her coming towards you and going.
Since the Islander would be coming in sometime tomorrow, we decide to drive North toward Portland and spend the night up there. We find a place in a town called Wilsonville, the Snooze Inn. For some reason when we left the motel's name and phone number with the Islander's Dad he thought it was really funny. Well, so far, so good: 6 parks in 2 days.
Journal by:The Islander April 30, 2001
I'm picked up by the crew at one of the at one of the smaller of the podunk airports, Eugene. I suppose the runway can't be that small, though, because a 737 landed there, while it was pissing rain. Ahhh, it feels great to be in Oregon. It's cold, it's raining; why the hell are all the best free concrete parks over here anyway (in a place where it rains like 300 days out of the year)? As I get in the car, a weird, fat, spotted bird runs by the tires. Not really sure what the hell it was, but I thought birds (and cockroaches) are supposed to be able to fly (WTF???).
We decide to stop at the gas station as we leave the airport to get ready for the long drive ahead of us. Since we were trading off paying for the gas, Robot gets out and decides he's going to pump the gas. He ends up squirting gas all over the fucking place. After we pay for the gas, the gas station attendant informs us that pumping your own gas in Oregon is illegal (and obviously dangerous too!). Fucking tourists.
We start driving and looking for any breaks in the clouds. The area that looks driest to us is out on the coastline, so we end up on the interstate 20 going westbound, heading out to the parks of Newport and Lincoln City. As we are at the junction of interstates 20 and 99, we pass through this town of Corvallis. I remember this town not necessarily because it's a great town or anything, but because my college roommate during freshman year was from there. He used to play baseball, and when he was drunk he would piss himself too. One night, he got up and pissed in his own closet on his shoes and clothes and then went back to bed. He had mistaken his own closet for the bathroom.
As we drive through Corvallis looking for the turnoff to get on the 20, off our right is a skate park located under the freeway overpass. We decide that we should check out this park anyway, not necessarily because it looked like the greatest park ever, but it was a pleasant surprise just to find this concrete park on the side of the road in the middle of this small Oregon town (which incidentally, if we had anything like this in Hawaii, we'd have probably thought it was the greatest park ever, but since we were in Oregon, well....). The Corvallis park was pretty wet because of the rain, but the rains had stopped for the moment and the park was starting to dry out. So we began to sop up puddles of water from some of the better-looking parts of the park, such as the small square bowl, and the quarterpipe hips. It took us about 20 minutes of work in the freezing cold to get the park in decent skatetable shape, and after our hard labor, we were able to get a little session in. Robot and me were really starting to get into this park after about 10 minutes of warm-up skating, and we began considering drying out some of the other quirky, fun-looking parts of the park, but soon found ourselves skating alone. Primal D and Big B had since gotten in to the car and were honking the horn, ready to leave. They assured us that there was plenty more quality concrete to be skated that day and we shouldn't be wasting the dry weather and the daylight skating this park. Reluctantly, we got in the car and were on our way to Newport skate park.
The road to Newport, Interstate 20, takes you up over the hills and through a bunch of foresty areas, but on this day, it also seemed to take us toward the darkest patch of rain clouds ahead. The driving conditions deteriorated, the skies opened up, and our hopes of finding a dry spot to skate for the day diminished. As we got to the coast, where the town of Newport is located, the clouds began to let up once again and the sun finally came out.
Newport is a beach town, but I wouldn't necessarily call it 'Newport Beach'. It's a lot different than Newport Beach. The air and water are clean, the grass is green, and there are a ton more country folk living in Newport, Oregon. There is also a fun little free concrete park located in Newport.
The Newport skate park is located on a dirt road, yet the dirt road doesn't even have a sign to tell you what the road's name is. The skate park is also located on what looks like a small vacant lot, in the middle of a residential district, and across the street from a bunch of houses. When we got to the park, it was still a little wet from the rains, but since the sun was now beating down on us fiercely and wasn't about to let up anytime soon, out came the shirts, sweatshirts, shoes, cardboard pieces, and whatever else we could conjure up out of the back of our hatchback to help dry off the park. What was also amazing, especially since it was early in the afternoon, was that we were the only ones there. So, instead of waiting around for the park to be completely dry, against my better judgement, I decided to take a couple of runs to help expedite the drying process with my skateboard wheels. After a bit of skating, I walk over to the back wall, next to the cinder block extension and drop in. Before I know it, I'm body surfing the wet concrete on my stomach and hands and have already torn a hole in my pants. I guess it was just Newport's way of welcoming me to Oregon. I though I was just being stupid at the time, but later found an invisible kink at the bottom of the wall, which I'm sure has lead to the demise of many an unaware skater. We all skated Newport for about 10 minutes alone, and then some BMX kids show up. Then some skaters show up. Then some more. I guess if you live long enough in Oregon, you probably know the exact length, down to the minute, from when the rain officially stops and the local skate park becomes completely dry. That's some vital information. Either that, or maybe school just let out. Regardless, the session soon became heated. There was this one kid who took about the hardest slam I've ever seen on a 5-foot wall. He came down from a backside ollie and just went straight down to his elbow. Ahhhh... concrete. There was a thud that sounded like somebody just dropped a sack of meat. That kid was out for the duration. There was also this little Ronnie Bertino-looking kid who skated around the park backwards and did the weirdest tricks. Pulled everything, even if it was all sketchy. Early grabs to roast beef, and a bunch of crazy shuvit to pivot shit.
After skating at Newport for a while, we decided it was time to hit the road again and get something to eat. On our way North up the coast to Lincoln City, the drive was truly incredible. Not quite Hawaii, and I'm sure the water was cold as hell, but the beaches were some of the most scenic I've ever seen. And the massive mountains of whitewater offshore, were testament that the waves out there weren't too shabby either. While skating at Newport, we met quite a few surfers who lived out there. Usually in Oregon, when anybody told us that they were a surfer, usually we went, "What are you crazy??". We were cold enough out there skating everyday in sweatshirts during the spring; nobody needed to throw freezing cold water in the equation. Right outside of Lincoln City, we found a nice little fish & chips restaurant, which also happened to be a bar as well. The diet soon became de riguer for the trip. After becoming fascinated by the numbers flashing on the TV screen in the bar, and contemplating trying my hand at Oregon Keno, we decide we have to slip in a little skate session at Lincoln City before nightfall.
Whereas Newport was warm, basking under a midday sun, Lincoln City was a completely different story. Lincoln City was colder than a witch's butthair after the sun started to set. On top of that, there was this strong polar wind blowing off the ocean. Lincoln City is also a balls-out skate park, and probably one that at our age, should require a short warming-up period, so already sore muscles don't get torn, and limbs don't get damaged. But, no time for that today, straight down the downhill snake run into the 9 foot bowl with the 12 foot extension, and back for more. Big B's back was too messed up already to even get out of the car. The Lincoln City skate park is located in the middle of a public park, and has lights, so sessions there can go on well into the night. It also has a barbecue grill and a water fountain. The only thing the park doesn't have is a bathroom facility, so it has a nasty port-a-potty. The port-a-potty got even nastier after somebody left a little tiny present on the rim. One for the chronic hand-washer. Ok, the little kids at Lincoln City rip. There were two of them, just gnarly, flying around the place. One of them was named Charlie, he was 14 years old, and did these sick airs and stylish 5-0 grinds around the corner of the 9-foot deep end, and he's only been skating for a couple of years. The story as it goes, I guess, is this kid has some type of Attention Deficit Disorder, so his Mom makes him smoke pot everyday because Ritalin is too expensive. The way this kid skates, it sounds like a great diagnosis to me. Lincoln City was a great concrete park, unfortunately we were only able to skate it once.
After we were done skating Lincoln City, we drove around looking for a place to spend the night, hopefully somewhere close to the Newberg skate park, where we were going to skate the next morning. We ended up in a tiny town called Tigard, and found a place to rest for the night. Let the snore olympics begin.
An unexpected find...
Fish and Chips?
Lincoln City, Oregon
Lincoln City, Oregon
Islander: Lincoln City
Charlie: Lincoln City
May 1, 2001
The next morning our bodies were jacked. So we spent a little while doing some yoga stretches that Big B saw on TV. We tried to do some of this every morning. After we check out of the hotel, Primal D remembered he left his walkman in the room, which he used to get to sleep when the snorefest began. We returned to the hotel a week later, no walkman. A gift for the cleaning ladies.
After we found the park of Newberg, and saw only one person skating it (a rarity we were soon to find out), we decided to get something to eat and come back to the park. When we got back to the park, we found a lot more than just one person skating it. We soon found out why.
The park in Newberg is, well, perfect. The concrete work is perfect, the trannies are perfect, the coping is perfect, and the park has flow. Design-wise, the park is amazing. There are endless lines. That's all I can and should say about it. Make it a point in your lifetime to skate Newberg someday.
When we first got there, we realized there were just as many girls there skating as there were guys. And the girls in Oregon, well they have some sack. It's the same in Colorado. They come to the park to skate. They know how to carve, they ride fast, they ride the biggest trannies, and basically they just go nuts. It just goes to show that skaters, with good terrain to ride, no matter who they are, will find a way to rip it. One guy we met there, just moved to Oregon from Colorado, so we called him Team Colorado. He had obvious vert skills and flew big airs all over the place. It was his first time riding the Newberg park, so he probably rules the park now. He clued us in on some of the parks to hit up while we were up in Colorado. Right before we left it looked like he sacked himself on the big slider rail that extends between the concrete mounds, but he said he was alright and that he had just bruised the inside of his leg. Another kid did a grind on the snake rail and we took some video of him. Later he split his shin open on the same rail.
Before we left, I called Big B a pussy for not skating much because he was injured. My justification was that we came all this way to skate, and that he'd regret not skating more when we got back to Hawaii. I then proceeded to take out my other knee by pounding my kneecap into the hard concrete, while coming down from something. Bad juju.
Once again we hopped into the car for another drive. Destination Aumsville. Because I was sitting in the back seat of the car for a couple of hours, my knee was stuck in the bent position. When I got out of the car and tried to straighten my leg, it was still stuck in the bent position. My session at Aumsville had started out as a difficult and painful one, and it was only day 2!! (Well, for me it was only day 2, but you can just imagine what day 4 or 5 must have felt like for everyone else). Rule number one: While on a long skatetrip, take it easy, and don't burn yourself out the first couple of days.
Why there's a skate park in Aumsville, I'm not really sure. It's one of the smallest towns I've ever seen. As we drove into town, there was a sign that said, "Aumsville population 3045", I'm kind of surprised it didn't have a chalkboard next to it. I figure that's probably pretty accurate. If somebody died or gave birth in the town of Aumsville, they'd probably know. All I know is those 3045 people are some of the luckiest people on the planet. While not quite as expansive as the skate park we just skated in Newberg, the concrete-work at Aumsville was just as good, if not better. The coping was also perfect. Most of the skaters at the park that day were the Aumsville locals, but none of them were from Aumsville. Some of them lived as far away as Portland, too. Being nomads ourselves, we felt right at home.
When you first walk (or limp) up to the park, all you see is a big mound of wood chips. The Aumsville park, for the most part, is built completely above ground level. Once you hike up to the top of wood chip pile, you realize you're standing on the deck of an expansive snake run, that ranges anywhere from 4 to 10 feet, with hips, corners, and spines galore. We watched this one character, with a pencil-thin fandango/goatee, speeding around the park and hitting the coping and all the speed pockets, usually with his back-foot toes pointed toward the nose of his board. Truly amazing (really how he got up to grinds and manuals, by shifting his feet back into position, is beyond me, but believe me, you've got to see his style to truly appreciate it). Every once in a while, he would bust out with a one-foot carve grind or something, and leave you dumbfounded. We talked to him for a little while and found out that his name was Sam, and he knew a lot about the skate parks in the state of Oregon, and runs a website www.skateoregon.com. Little did he know that his website was a big reason why we decided to make the trip out to Oregon in the first place. It truly is a small world. Sam told us that they were actually pushing for a no-helmet rule in Oregon (since all parks we skated in Oregon were unsupervised with a no-pad rule, but had some sort of helmet rule), because the park becomes more liable for not enforcing it's own rules when somebody cracks their head open, then it does for not even having the rule in the first place. Makes perfect sense to me, in this world overrun by lawsuits and lawyers.
Another Aumsville local was this guy named AJ (everyone calls him Junior), and he was the most hyper and animated of the bunch. Junior was skinny and had really springy legs, probably because he was only 17 years old. When he took a hard drop flying over the 9-foot hip, he'd spring back up for more. We figure he must be at Aumsville almost every day, because he was there both times we went back and called us 'Hawaii 5-0'.
It started to get on into the afternoon hours, and because we had a lot more parks to check out, we decided to head back down South to Eugene for dinner and try the Albany Skate park along the way (at this point in the trip, we were on a strict 3 park a day policy).
We once again headed south on I-5, and ended up in the town of Albany at about 5 o'clock or 5:30. The Albany skate park didn't look that bad, but there were a lot of neighborhood kids/bladers/razors rolling around the place, and at this point in the trip, we had gotten so spoiled from all the concrete parks that we've ridden already, that our standards were so high. The worst thing about the park was that there was more of a back to back flow to the park, and the coping was sticky. We only stayed at the park for about 10 or 15 minutes and decided to move on. When I first got to the park, I thought I'd take a couple of runs on my still sore knee, so I dropped in and headed for the circular bowl in the far right corner of the park. As I rolled through the channel, I looked down and almost had a heart attack. The whole bowl was filled with trash and leaves and broken glass, and the concrete had a large gouge out of it. It definitely didn't feel very good on the knee to be jumping off my board like that. As the story goes, or from what the kids at the park told us, "The gangstas" had a party at the skate park and threw a burning tire into the bowl and that's what ended up basically trashing the concrete like that. I guess the kids that go to the park, at that point, don't even think about cleaning up the trash or repairing the damage. Oh well, it's a shame. After skating around a bit and doing a few hip transfers, we got some video of a kid repeatedly killing himself by attempting benihana flyouts to the deck. At that point, we were pretty much over the Albany skate park and got back on the I-5 to Eugene.
We got to Eugene right before sunset and hit up the Churchill skate park for one more session (it was my first time there and everybody's second). I'm not going to say too much about the park, except that when we got there it was freezing cold, and there were about a million bikers there, flying over the hips. When that park gets crowded it's really a dangerous scene. There is really no place for little kids to hang out when they ride this park. I could just see the terror in their parent's faces as these little kids on rollerblades and razors just kind of loped around on the flat bottom, while these huge guys on BMX bikes launched over the hips and had to swerve out of the way so they wouldn't collide with them. Not for the weak of heart. One parent who really didn't care, was this bozo redneck dad that kept going up to the coping and standing on his tail about to drop in. He was way out of his league, because he couldn't even kickturn. We didn't care to watch and he never really tried it, but he kept putting his tail up on the coping, and bumming everybody out. It was a catastrophe waiting to happen. A lot of his kids were the ones milling about on the flat bottom.
We ended up heading back to our favorite Italian restaurant in Eugene and 'head-lights, tail-lights' was there, but not our waitress. We started on our way back North to Portland to spend the night and ended up stayed at a Holiday Inn, which we soon found out from the lady at the front desk, was only a couple of blocks from Burnside. It was also a little up the road from our soon to be new favorite dining establishment, the Acropolis.
Team Colorado: Newberg
'D' is for Dance
May 2, 2001
May 2nd started out kind of early for us. We woke up and went over to the mall, which was in close proximity of the hotel, to find ourselves a food court where we could get something to eat. We found a Jamba Juice, and headed out to Burnside. When we got to Burnside, located under the east side of the Burnside Bridge, there was a little session going on already. For the most part, people seemed to just climb out of the woodwork, quite literally actually, because they would just climb out of crevices in the wall or hop over fences, with board in hand. This was my first time to Burnside, but first impression to me was that it fit in a lot smaller area than I thought it was. Burnside is definitely a park that every nook and cranny is filled in, and you actually should watch the locals ride it a little bit to understand why the park is constructed the way it is. You need to have a little imagination when you first ride the park. Another funny thing about the park is that all the people standing on the main quarter pipe/corner, all have to bend over and look because the overhanging beam that goes across the park pretty much blocks the view of the other side of the park. Before you drop in it's best to duck down and take a look at who's over on the other side of the park, because the lines and directions are pretty random. A couple of the locals at the park were this guy JP, and this little ripping bald boy, who everybody called Rat. He has definitely skated the park before. When he bailed, he would get really pissed off, though. Unfortunately for us, the session got really heated, because around noon a Skateboarder Magazine and a World Industries Tour Van showed up, and tons of skaters-photographers-video jocks infiltrated the scene. We saw this one guy, with a Rodney Mullen/Vince Krause haircut, bounce his melon on the concrete. He was alright though. Before we hopped back in the Subaru Outback, we were able to finagle a couple of back issues of Skateboarder Magazine and miscellaneous product for the subsequent ride.
We decided the next park we should check out was called St. Helens, and that was a little North of Portland off of the 30. While driving on the 30, we saw a little skate park off of our right side and went to check it out. It was in the town of Scappoose, but should be called Suck-A-Poo. It basically was shit, but we skated it for a little while. The concrete work was bad, and all the trannies were kinked. It did have a somewhat cool three level boardslide. The skate park's also located next to the Police Station of Scappoose. The funny thing is, later that day on the way back to Portland, the park was about as full as Makiki usually is. It's truly sad, but in this day and age: popular with the kids=shit skate park.
When we found the park of St. Helens, initially we were rather disappointed with it. But, the weather was so nice that day (whereas it was pretty freezing cold under the bridge at Burnside), that we were convinced we'd get a good skate session going. The skate park of St. Helens can really grow on you, especially after a while of skating it. Sure, the park doesn't have much flow (it actually just flows downhill, then you need to walk back up), the coping isn't good, and some of the concrete work is sub-par (especially the lumpy 8 foot bowl), the Wallows hips really grew on us, and so did the crappy taco at the bottom of the hill. School kids designed this park as a school project and the project was subsequently implemented by some random concrete contractors and students. All things considered I'd say they did a fairly good job. Not saying that this park is up anything to the caliber of Lincoln City or Newberg or Aumsville, but we had some fun at this park, and we probably would have had a little more fun at a park like Albany if we stayed there a little longer and the weather was good. The St. Helens park has it's locals, but most of them appear to be schoolkids from the area. Many of them have never skated Burnside or Newberg before. If you hang out at the park long enough, you'll see all kinds of crazy white-trash, full-Jerry Springer action. One was this foul-mouthed chick whose breasts looked like utters. Another kid has this entertaining 'pussy-song", which apparently he copied from the movie "From Dusk til Dawn".
After we got back to the hotel from St. Helens, we hit this hellacious rush-hour traffic. This traffic actually prevented us from hitting up the park at Oregon City, which Team Colorado had told us was worth checking out. Anyway, we ended up going back to the hotel.
That night, we decided to check-out some of the gentlemen's clubs of the area. One of them really caught our eye, with it's circus tents and flashing lights. It was called the Acropolis, and the signs outside said nothing of nude dancing. It appeared to be a regular dining establishment on the outside. Quite honestly, the food there was good and really cheap too. And the beer selection was huge, there were like 40 of them. It seemed kind of strange going into a restaurant where they charge you a cover, but this place was worth it. From what the hostess said there, a lot of regulars come mainly for the food. We can believe that, although the women there were top-notch, and also took everything off. We have a very high opinion on the gentlemen's clubs of Oregon. As opposed to the Korean-run variety we have in Hawaii, Oregon dancers wait until after the song is over to collect their tips. In Hawaii, if you sit in front of the dancer, they'll try to milk you for $4 or $5 per song, especially if you are the only one sitting in front of them. You can pay the dancers in Oregon as much as you want per song, but you never feel pressured to tip them, because they aren't constantly lifting their garters looking for dollars. It's a much more relaxing atmosphere, and they are very appreciative of any and all tips that they collect. The Oregon dancers each have their own patented moves, instead of the sorry dancers in Hawaii, who basically just sit down and writhe on their pillows. Some of them were really flexible, some did pole tricks, some did tricks with their piercings, and some did tricks with their boob muscles. It was amazing. We made it a point to stop by the Acropolis a couple more times and sit through the full rotation of dancers when we made our way back to Oregon. The next morning we were on our way to Colorado.
Primal D: Burnside
St. Helens, Oregon
Big B: St. Helens
St. Helens, Oregon
Fine dining: the Acropolis
May 3, 2001
We woke up early in the morning to catch our flight to Colorado: another state where free concrete skate parks are popping up all over the place. For the whole week while in Oregon, we'd watch the Weather Channel on TV, and Colorado's weather couldn't have been better. In fact, certain days where it rained a lot, wed see the weather in Colorado and wish we were there (the weather was steadily about 80 degrees and sunny). The day we arrived in Colorado the weather took a drastic turn for the worse. We first realized the weather wasn't very good when we got on the ground in Denver. It was snowing. The ground crew at Denver airport were seriously breathing steam out of their noses and mouths. It looks like one of those flu remedy commercials. I'm not really sure why it's like that, but Colorado weather is really Jeckyll and Hyde. Since we really didn't think of snow as good skate weather, we begin to wonder whether we're going to be able to skate at all.
After we pick up our rental car, a brown Dodge Neon, we get on the road and start heading to the town of Boulder. We soon get a crash course in Colorado Driving 101. First of all, Colorado roads suck! I think they're constantly working on all of them. A lot of the time, there are no painted lines. They usually don't even have reflectors, or the reflectors are recessed into the ground. You kind of make up your own lanes as you go along. We were told later that they usually repaint the roads once a year just after winter (so I guess the month of May must not count as 'just after winter'). Sometimes the roads just change randomly from two lanes, back to one, then back to two. But, I'd have to say the overall worst thing about Colorado driving are the street signs, or lack of street signs. The signs which tell you which exit to take usually come after the turnoff you were supposed to take. So you always end up missing them. Sometimes (here's the twist), there's no sign at all. I can't tell you how many turnoffs we missed or how many times we got lost while we were in Colorado. One episode involved Big B navigating a crazy U-turn by first driving the wrong way on a highway into oncoming traffic so that we could make a turnoff, which he'd once again go the wrong direction on, so he could make the loop back around. Sometimes drastic conditions take drastic measures.
After arriving in Boulder, we look around for a place to eat and call one of our high school buddies Matt, who resides in Boulder. We end up eating at some random Thai restaurant. We talk to the waitress for a while and she informs us that if we're looking for skate parks, the skate park of Boulder is in the vicinity. Matt gives us a call back on the cell phone and asks us which Thai restaurant we're at. He tells us that the skate park of Boulder is actually diagonally across the street from where we're eating (the corner of Arapahoe & 30th Street). After finishing our food, we hook up with Matt and he gives us a tour of the skate park. The park is pretty expansive and looks fun, but it's completely drenched in rain and snow, and it's very cold, so no skating. Instead of drowning in our sorrows and moping around the skate park, we decide to take in a little bit of the town of Boulder. Since Primal D and Big B didn't bring jackets on the trip, especially ones for heavy-duty Colorado weather, we ask Matt where apparel like this could be purchased. He directs us to a surplus store and so we follow his car in our Neon. He decides hes going to point out his residence along the side of the road. Mistakenly, we pull over and park in the parking spot he was pointing at. We thought, ' Wow man, this really must be an underground surplus store, in the back of some guy's house and shit'. Eventually, we find our way back on the road and make our way to the real surplus store. We spend the next hour or so trying stuff on and going, "Hey bro, check me out. Deeeeesh." D & B decide on a couple of very similar black jackets, Robot gets a beanie, B also gets a pocket knife, and we're ready to rock & roll. Since we had just been introduced to the wonderful world of Acropolis while in Oregon, we look for a similar place in Boulder. Most conveniently we find a Holiday Inn Express right next door to a place called the Bustop, which happens to be a topless bar. Get it... Bustop?? We decide it is in our best interest of everyone involved to take up residence at this very Holiday Inn Express, and in our spare time check out the Bustop as well. Unfortunately for us, we did make our way over to the Bustop later that night. Topless means topless and that's all it means. We learn the hard way that strip bars in Colorado are a lot different than the ones in Oregon. The garter belt rules were in effect over there. Hawaii strip clubs might even be better than the ones in Colorado, because the bottoms at least come off. Even though we were staying next door, we decided this would be our first and only time we would head out to a shitty place like the Bustop.
All through the day the snow just kept coming down. There was no end in sight. We decided to stay in and order a movie in the room that evening. We also did our laundry. We took a lot of trips down to the lobby to raid the popcorn machine and talk to the cool redheaded lady at the front desk. We decided to call it a night and got up early the next morning.
Arriving at Colorado
Lost in Colorado
May 4, 2001
After checking out the Weather Channel for most of the morning, the only clear spot on the radar map appeared to be by Aspen (at this point we were actually getting pretty good at predicting weather patterns). We checked out of our hotel room in Boulder and hit the road once again.
Our drive started out in pretty cold and overcast conditions, but really no heavy snow or rain. We took this as a positive sign that we might actually get some skating in after our one-day hiatus. Along the way, D decides he's going to take a leak on the side of the road. We get some good video of the flowing stream from between the backside of his legs. After viewing it a couple of times, he gets a little gun-shy about it and makes us tape over it because his testicles were showing. Oh well.
We decide to check out the skate park in town of Silverthorne first, and while in the vicinity, we realize that the roads are completely bone dry. We pull up to the skate park and find that the park is equally as dry and people are skating. The park is more of a street-course type of park (there are no real deep bowls or anything), but looks pretty cool, because the concrete work is good and the park is set up pretty well. There are some good speed lines if you can find them. We skate around for a bit, but realize that it's fucking freezing. I felt like an icicle, and my ears and face were red and felt like they were frostbitten. There was one guy at the park with bleached blond hair skating around in a T-shirt. He definitely wasn't freezing. His name was Kurt and he was a local from Vail (about 30 minutes away). He was all warmed up and ripping the place doing huge backside ollies and airs. There was a girl's soccer team practicing on the field next to the skate park. They didn't seem to be affected by the weather either. I guess in Colorado it's pretty normal for people to function outside even while they're freezing cold. I guess it's pretty normal for people from Hawaii that go to Colorado in the middle of blizzard week to feel like a bunch of sorry-ass popsicles.
After a while, it actually started snowing a bit. This was our first taste of skating in the snow on this trip. Skating in the snow is pretty crazy. The snow doesn't really drench your clothes, it just kind of collects on your clothes. The snow doesn't drip in your eyes while skating; it just merely pelts you in the face. The weirdest thing about skating in the snow is you can skate for a pretty long time before the snow actually renders the park unskateable, especially if it snows rather sparsely. We skated for a while in the snow flurry, but after our wheels started making tracks and it got slippery, it seemed as if the session was over. All the locals began to leave. We thought that just might be the end of skating for the day, so we just kind of sat around for a while, since we were really in no rush to go anywhere. After about 10 minutes, the snow stopped again. Another 10 minutes passed, and the park was dry enough to skate. Crazy. We skated alone for the next 30 minutes, and then the locals started showing up again. A police officer came over and told us we'd have to wear helmets, because the fine is $50. We went back to the car, got our helmets, and played the stupid tourist role. Works every time. We skated for another 30 minutes and the snow started coming down again. We also started doing the same stupid line to snowboard launch over and over again. It was time to leave.
Because of our good fortune at Silverthorne, we decided it would be a good idea to drive all the way down South to the skate park in Salida and try our luck. Bad bad bad bad mistake. Unbeknownst to us, Salida would have 4 feet of snow that day. It would snow hard the whole drive to Salida. These crazy ground dwelling birds by the side of the road would commit suicide by repeatedly jumping in front of our car out of these little holes in the snow. When we actually got to Salida, it looked like winter wonderland. The town of Salida was actually featured on the Weather Channel the next day representative of the freak Colorado weather. The whole place was covered in snow, cars were covered, restaurants were closed. In fact, the whole town just kind of shut down for the day. We weren't even sure where the skate park actually was, so we drove by a couple of parks (parking lots??) looking for it, but there were nothing but fields of snow. Figuring that the skate park was at the park we were at and just covered by snow, I trudged through thigh-high snow to get a picture. It wasn't the right park. I think I probably walked through the snow just to get a picture of a soccer field. We eventually found the skate park, but the whole bowl was almost completely filled with snow. Ahhhh...Snow-lida.
The drive from Salida to Aspen was long. Afternoon turned into evening and then turned into night. Driving in the snow at night is almost surreal. It's like living in one of those liquid-filled glass shake-up balls with the white flakes for snow. It appears as if the snow is just flying right at your face, illuminated by your headlights. We drove on some pretty gnarly roads through the mountains with reckless abandon (I'd hate to go back and be able to look over the railings and see some of the drops we might have taken if we slid off of the road). We eventually made it to Aspen at about 10 or 11 at night and looked for a place to stay. We had really no idea where we were going to stay for the night, so we ask a pedestrian by the side of the road. They tell us to stay at the 'Limelite Lodge' and that became home base for the next couple of nights, because of the senior citizen discount rate we asked for. We ended up eating at this pizza joint where all these drunken Colorado rednecks had taken up residence. Because the service was rude and the pizza sucked, and then one of the drunk guys started yelling how hockey was better than basketball because basketball was "nigger ping-pong", we knew it was time to get the hell out of there.
Late night driving
May 5, 2001
It's still snowing. We decide to go check out the skate park of Aspen even though we're sure it's unskateable. We go outside to the car and find it covered in a thick layer of snow. The mountains behind our lodge are just amazing. It looks as if an avalanche might start at any minute. We really had no idea when we got there the night before that our lodge was surrounded by all these huge and beautiful mountains. When we pull up to the skate park of Aspen, we realize that the Aspen skate park is similarly huge and vast.
Aspen skate park is another very nice park and a must ride if you ever go to Colorado. There is a very large triple-clover bowl and a vast street-type area, with hits, hips and spines, escalators, pool coping, whatever. Lines galore. Also the park's concrete work was very good; they mixed this brown dirt in with the concrete to give it a unique appearance. When we got to Aspen, we saw a notice on one of the public television channels that they needed help landscaping the skate park at ten that morning (since the skate park was just completed in the past year, I guess they hadn't gotten around to finishing up park renovations). Not as if we were going to help out anyway, but we arrived at the park a little after ten and found ourselves the only true landscapers of the park. We decided we were going to have to landscape some of the snow out of the bowls later that afternoon. When we got to the park, all of the bowls had a little layer of snow on the flatbottom, but the walls were dry. After our experience with snow in Silverthorne, we figured if the snow stopped anytime soon, it looked promising that we might be able to skate later. We dorked around for a while, threw snowballs at Robot's back, then decide to try our hand at snow sculpting. A tiny mouse was stuck on the flatbottom of the large clover bowl, but couldn't get out. Some kids that got there when we were leaving fed him some McDonald's food. The mouse was dead by the time we got back to the park.
We end up looking for a place to eat, while we wait for the snow to stop. Finding a place to eat in Aspen is hard in the off-season, because a lot of places close down for the summer. At least some of the places that are open have discount off-season prices. It just doesn't seem like an off-season to us, because it's always an on-season with a skate park in town like Aspen. After spending a couple of hours just kind of wasting time at the burger joint we were at, we decided to check out the skate park once again.
It had stopped snowing a couple hours earlier and the snow was melting all over. The clover bowl had only small patches of snow on the flatbottom, so we decided to get to work on that first. We started out first sweeping the snow with a brush from our rental car that you're supposed to get the ice and snow off of the windshield in the morning. That was lame. Then, we started using our feet. A good technique to liquefy snow is to stomp on it, then kick the slush over to the drain. We did that for a while, and then dried the ground with an old sweatshirt. The clover bowl was ready to skate in about half an hour and we started skating around 2 pm.
The bowl was rad, although the coping is a little soft and sticky. After skating for a while by ourselves an outlaw named Wrex showed up. Wrex is a ruler of the Aspen park and apparently of all the Colorado parks. Airs, inverts, grinds, transfers, ollies... you name it, Wrex had it wired. He said that he's ridden the Oregon parks, and although Aspen is good, Newberg is better. After skating for a while Wrex busted out a can of lacquer from his backpack. He sprayed the shit on the coping and it became grindable. Trick of the trade. Wrex told us that there are some pretty hardcore locals at Aspen who even skate in the winter when they have to shovel the snow out of the bowl.
While we were skating the bowl, some kid showed up with his Dad, who acted sort of like a caretaker of the park. He began to sweep the snow and leaves, etc., out of the streetcourse area and that was skatetable in about an hour. The skate park of Aspen was definitely open for us to take care of business after that. We had the park all to ourselves, and it was even a Saturday. The Aspen streetcourse is a great design for achieving speed, even when you're rolling through a wide, expansive area. Aspen skate park turned out to be one of our best sessions of the trip and we skated there well into the evening.
After grabbing some Italian food to eat, we decided to call it an early night. We were exhausted from our skate session that day, and we decided we should get an early start and hit the road again the next morning to see what else Colorado had to offer when it's not snowing.
May 6, 2001
We left Aspen in the morning, and headed to the Breckenridge skate park. The snow finally cleared up, and all we saw were clear blue skies. We got to the skate park around midday and the session was in full effect. Millions of little kids were riding around the street course, which is actually a pretty tiny area. The street course consists of wood-constructed pyramids and banks covered in steel. They were total crap, but of course the kids were rolling around on them anyway. The best part of Breckenridge was of course the bowl/snakerun, although it wasn't the best design ever. It appears that the bowl/snakerun had to be stuck in kind of a small, skinny area, between a football field and a driveway. The small area seemed constraining design-wise. The deep end also incorporated a big round wall on the left-hand side that doesn't really work. It's sort of a speed drain. Not to dwell on the negative, but the concrete finishing wasn't as smooth as Aspen or Newberg (the deep end was lumpy), and the coping was rather inconsistent.
When we first got out of the car there in Breckenridge, I thought I was freezing my testicles off. It was mostly sunny while we were there, but a freezing arctic wind whipped down the adjacent mountains, and skating became an unbearable proposition. The air in Breckenridge is rather thin because of the elevation and this was perhaps the first time on the trip so far that after skating a little while we felt we were gasping for air.
There were a bunch of really good skaters in Breckenridge including the girls. One of them did a frontside grind carve around the corner in the deep end of the bowl, while another one did rock fakies in the deep end. A couple of Australian guys were having it in the bowl with huge-ass vert tricks. While talking to them about wooden bowls, they mentioned that they've heard about the bowl we made at the Hickam Hangar, but they hadn't skated there yet. They also mentioned that we should probably check out Montrose (a smaller, brushed concrete park) and Crusty Butt (rad, deep & gnarly concrete), during our stay in Colorado. Unfortunately, we were never able to check out Montrose.
There were also a bunch of other characters skating the park. One was this Grinch-looking guy who brought a walkie-talkie with him in his helmet, just in case he got called in to work. Another was a pair of fat, old-school skaters, who looked like they might actually be older than us. Occasionally, some of the kids from the street course would run over to the bowl and stand on the little teardrop island and drop-in one after another, preventing anybody else from riding the bowl, until they were threatened with physical harm. One of the old school guys said, "Well, at least they're not on scooters!"
After our skate at Breckenridge, we returned back to Aspen for an evening session at the skate park over there. The park wasn't even crowded and we skated until we were exhausted once again. We slept well that night.
Limelite Lodge: Colorado
Primal D: Aspen
Primal D: Breckenridge
May 7, 2001
The next morning we decided to checkout of our lodge in Aspen and skate the park in Crested Butte. While driving to the park, we thought we'd get cheeky and try to take a shortcut through the mountains that would cut down our driving time by at least an hour. Initially, we ended up taking the wrong road, though we amused ourselves by looking at the rear ends of the flock of sheep by the side of the road. When we found the correct road that would take us to Crested Butte, we were warned by signs that said, "Road Closed" or "Cosed for the season". We figured that since there was no sign of snow anywhere and that Crested Butte was only like 25 miles up the road, the signs would not apply to us. We were wrong. After driving our way up a windy hill for a good 20 miles on a completely dry, nicely paved road, the conditions drastically changed. All of a sudden, we were driving on a snowy patch of road with tire tracks in it. We figured somebody else must have made it up the hill, so we followed those tracks for another mile. It was getting exciting. We then reached a snowy patch of road where the tire tracks abruptly stopped and turned around. We drove about 10 feet more and chickened out. Fortunately, we were able to back up the car so Big B threw the car in reverse, but we veered off of our original tracks, and our car became really stuck in the snow. After laughing hysterically because of the funny sound our car was making and the smell of burning rubber, we got out of the car to inspect the situation. The front tires of our Neon had dug their own holes in the foot deep snow and were just spinning around. Big B decided to to shovel some of the snow out, so at least we could get some grip under the tires. I suggested we get some twigs to stick under the tires. After considering a few survival methods for living out in the forest and different ways to nullify our rental agreement, D got behind the wheel and threw it into reverse. By gunning the car's engine a couple of times, he eventually was able to extricate the car from out of the snow and tapped the car's horn a couple of times. In the excitement of the moment, he also decided he also needed to extricate a turd from his inner bowels to leave in the forest. Subsequently, D got behind the wheel and we started backtracking down the hill. Disappointed, but not deterred, the adventure to Crusty Booty was just beginning.
Instead of the 25-mile drive we thought we had before the so-called 'shortcut', it turned into a 160-mile drive (or 160+20). Our 40-minute drive also turned into a 2+ hour drive. I drifted in and out of consciousness a couple of times, and woke up briefly to see B & D debating whether we should stop at a nearby gas station, because by that time our car was running on empty. D said, 'Don't worry, there should be another gas station a little bit up the road". I went back to sleep. When I woke up, our car was not stopped at a gas station, but was winding through some pretty crazy hills. Assuming I might have slept through our stop at the gas station, I checked the tank. Still running on empty. D popped his tape in the radio and we listened to the power song. D & B weren't doing much talking at this point. The power song started to turn into a song of agonizing anticipation and torture, as our car continued to wind through the hills. D decided to take it easy on the accelerator pedal and we started letting other cars pass us from behind. We considered hitchhiking and selling Robot off as a prostitute. After an agonizing 60 miles running on empty, we found a gas station and rolled up to the pump. There was a sign in the window, "Closed for the season". Our collective blood pressure went through the roof at that point, because there was no way we were going to make it. We were toast. The next town was 15 miles up the road. Every mile was an eternity. After driving a total of 75 miles on empty, we rolled up to another gas station. This one looked like it was empty too. Luckily for us, there was a lady in the convenience store, and we were able to fill up the tank. D assured us this was all part of his plan. Bottom line: Dodge Neon=small slow crappy car=good gas mileage.
We arrived in the town of Crested Butte, who Robot says has a Nike hiking shoe named after it. As we drove into the town we looked off to the right side and see what we think is a small skate park with a streetcourse. It turns out to just be a construction site. We follow the directions we have and find the park. The skate park of Crusty Butt is actually big and gnarly. From the top, the design of the bowl looks a lot like a man bending over and spreading his ass cheeks. Crested Butte, as usually is the case, has a small banked street-course area on the side. It's not especially exciting. The concrete work reminded us of some fucked up Hawaii ditch like Pipeline Bowls or Wallows, a little bit lumpy and rough, but fun as long as you don't fall. Not necessarily hazardous, but if you go down sliding, you will definitely be missing some skin. The 10-foot deep end also has this gnarly and sticky pool coping that sticks out like a real pool. The locals have repaired it with an epoxy/sand combo so that it isn't all jagged, but it was still very difficult to grind. The locals at Crested Butte are as gnarly as their skate park. This one crazy guy named Brent did lipslides in the deep end and kept offering everybody around Pabst Blue Ribbon and shots of Crown Royal. I think the fact that his face was all red wasn't attributed to sunburn. Brent said his goal by the end of the summer was to break some bone in his body. He was trying his hardest. Robot almost broke a few when he tried to get sassy with a frontside smith in the deep. His board stuck, and he did a little dance on the pool coping before falling back into the bowl and going down hard on his knee. He was out for the next day or two.
After abusing ourselves for a while at Crested Butte, we decide to make a return visit to the skate park of Salida, since we never got to ride it before when it was covered in snow. We made the 2-hour drive, and arrived at the park right around dusk, expecting to see a little skate session happening. There was nothing happening, it appeared as if everybody went home for the night. We soon were to find out why.
Although the snow had clearly stopped for a good day and a half, there was still a big mound of residual snow in the deep end. I'm not really sure if the skaters of Salida are not too hardcore, or just plain lazy, but it looked like only about 20 minutes of work with some shovels. No love. Since daylight was running out, we decided to try and skate the parts we could skate, which included the shallow end and the mid-sized bowl. Salida has no real street course, but it has a wide bank and a couple of banked obstacles on the perimeter of the course. We didn't have time to ride those much however. Big B decided he was going to try to carve around the snow rolling on the perimeter of the 10-foot deep end. He made it a couple times and inspired me to try it too. The third time he tried it full speed from the shallow end and hit a small pebble on the way to the deep end. He went flying off of his board and slammed on his elbow. On top of that, his wheel also got a flat spot. It started to get too dark to skate around then, so we hopped back in the Neon and drive back to Boulder. Our opinion of Salida was that it was a pretty good bowl, except we didn't get to skate it much, the aluminum pipe coping was too sticky, and the design of the deep-end was pretty lame (it's actually a carbon copy of the deep-end design at Breckenridge 2 corners and a single round wall). Besides that, the surface probably needs a good sweeping down after it snows.
The drive to Boulder was pretty fucked. We got on this two-lane highway in almost pitch black conditions that took us through these wide expansive fields. The reason why the fields looked so expansive was because there were no fences along the side of the road. The cars driving the opposite direction keep flashing their high beams at us. We weren't quite sure what the hell was going on, but there are these set of eyes looking at us from the middle of the road. We get a little bit closer and see this deer just standing there, motionless, mesmerized by our headlights. We swerve out of the way only to see 3 more of his buddies standing by the side of the the road. For about the next 15 miles it was like this. It's not a real self-assuring feeling to be driving around in a rental car at 50 miles per hour down a pitch black road, hoping that you don't end it all by plowing the grill of your car up some deer's ass or swerving into oncoming traffic. Driving at night in Colorado is hazardous enough, you don't need deer standing in the middle of the road too. Sometimes the deer would be so stupid that they'd see us from the side of the road and then run out in front of the car. Luckily, we made it back to Denver unscathed.
While driving around Denver, we realized some of the spots around town were rather ghetto. We tried to find a place to eat, so we asked a couple of really nice homosexual men by the side of the road where they would go at that time of night. They mentioned something like Village Square, or Village people, something like that. It was like a Denny's, but supposedly better. We found the spot, which actually wasn't too bad. We then tried to find a place to stay for the night that was reasonable, so we asked the waitress. After driving to a couple of the motels which she recommended in the area, we realized that every one of them was either full, or trying to rip us off. The people behind the counter looked at us funny when we asked for a room. No customer service. I guess the prostitutes were all in for the night and they were paying top dollar. So instead of spending the night in Denver as we had originally planned, we made the drive back up to Boulder and spent our last night in Colorado at the same Bustop Holiday Inn Express.
May 8, 2001
The weather was beautiful all morning. It was warm and sunny about 80 degrees. So unlike the weather we had in the past week. Unfortunately, this was the day we were leaving. In the morning we stopped by this skateshop called Brothers Boards or something like that, so that Big B could get a new set of wheels. The skateshop had this non-skater looking Euro-dude behind the counter, wearing a tight black turtleneck shirt. We checked out the Thrasher with Alan Peterson on the cover, that had the crappy written article on Hawaii and the interview of Kale in it. Amusing. The best part was the small picture in the Natural Koncept ad where they made Kale look like a caveman. We were soon off to skate the Boulder Park and met up with our friend Matt. It was so hot Matt skated around shirtless, just like old times skating Wallos and Pipeline Bowls. There were 4 chicks skating around the park, including the one we saw skating Breckenridge that did rock to fakies in the deep end. They all wore the punk rock belts with silver studs on them. Just like the kind Robot was going to get, because he is a chick. Robot was out of commission for the day from his mishap at Crusty Butt, so he took pictures and some video. There was this street skater named Aaron who asked Robot if he would video him. We thought he was going to do a trick from the top of a banked transition, but proceeded to destroy himself and his knees by repeatedly ollieing from the deck of the bank over the transition and on to the flatbottom. All his friends were stoked for him, though.
The skate park of Boulder is decent, the concrete work was slightly bumpy, but the park does cover a rather large area. It had good coping, but it didn't stick out right. Most of the transitions were fairly deep, but a little too mellow; it made you feel like a pussy (9-foot w/ 11-foot transitions). The street course was actually more fun then the bowl. There were a lot of mellow hips for transfers and stuff like that. One of the signature trademarks of this park were these weird-ass box extension things they had all over the park. They weren't really that functional. It was as if standing on the deck of the quaterpipes, you couldn't really roll into the transitions because there were these small little concrete boxes blocking you. All over the park. I could see having one or two of them, but all over the park is silly, it just ruins the flow from deck to transition. What are we supposed to do? Ride around the deck of the park and do little noseslides and crooks on these boxes?
There are a lot of skaters in Boulder. After school let out, they were all over the park crowding up the place. Boulder Skate park becomes a scene. The kids weren't really busting out as much either. After some of the hardcore characters we met at other parks around Colorado, Boulder didn't really have the same scene. Maybe it was just the day we were there, but the scene had more of a park-type recreational aspect to it. There was no real park ruler, well at least on that day. Matt had to go back to work, so we said goodbye to him and headed back to Denver so we could catch our afternoon flight back to Portland.
Forget about the signs...
Shortcut to Crusted Butt?
Stuck in the snow
Stuck in the snow
Closed for the Season!??
Crested Butte, Colorado
Brent: Crested Butte
Big B: Crested Butte
Primal D: Salida
Big B: Boulder
May 8, 2001
It was nice to be back in Portland again, we arrived sometime in the evening. This time we had a 4-door white midsize Toyota something or another. The car had a CD player. We were stoked on the change in music, since we were pretty much burned out on the Kitaro power song, songwriters of the 70s, and the Subhumans. It was all about Iron Maiden now, well at least until we got sick of this too.
We made a return visit to the Holiday Inn in Portland and spent most of the night at the Acropolis, dining and relaxing our bones. Most of the dancers there were the same ones as before, but there were some new ones in the rotation.
May 9, 2001
The next morning we headed to the same mall down the road from the Holiday Inn to hit up the food court. The mall had an ice skating rink in the middle of it. Not that many people were skating around, but there was this one really femme guy was skating back and forth around the rink and making grandiose hand gestures. From then on, he was just officially dubbed on the trip as "Robots's buddy".
We headed back to Newberg for another skate. The session was happening, the concrete was sweet. When we got to the park that morning, we were greeted by a, "I've been waiting for you guys to get here." It was Primal's buddy Andy, who we had just seen in Hawaii a couple months earlier. It was totally unplanned that he was there, but to be expected since he is quite the nomad. Great minds think alike and they also skate the same spots. There was this vert guy rolling around the park with an Orange Hawaiian shirt and green shorts. I forgot what his name was, but he flew some gigantic Indy Airs and knew the lines. There was a guy wearing a "maiden oregon" shirt. He was then known as Iron Maiden, even when he was wearing other shirts. Everyone was skating but Robot, who was still injured from his Crusted Booty affair. So he took a bunch of pictures. He took a really nice shot of Big B that day, which was designated the 'best picture of the trip' (a shot of an invert in the vert section). Since we had another day to spend in Oregon, we decided to make a return visit to Aumsville as well.
Upon arrival at Aumsville, we recognized a lot of the same locals that were there last time we skated. There were also a bunch of guys from Portland, some of them we recogniz ed from Burnside. There was this one stocky cannonball of a guy charging around the place. He was burly. When he went down, he went down hard. He was so blood-covered on his knees and elbows, he looked like a scab on wheels. Junior was also there again and wanted us to get pictures of him hurling himself high over the spine to frontside power drop transfer. I thought his ankles were going to explode. He went down really hard one time and all you could hear was the sound of his body packing on the concrete. Junior was done for the day. There was also this one fat old man goon in a tank-top snaking everybody. He had his girlfriend getting video of all the tricks he tried to make. When he came remotely close to pulling anything, he asked his girlfriend, 'Did you get that??' or 'Don't worry about that, we can edit just the good parts together'. Can't wait for that video to come out.
May 10, 2001
We skate Newberg for the final time. This day had more of a family-atmosphere thing going on. It was a beautiful day, and there were a lot of kids at the park. Robot decided that even if his knees were jacked-up, he needed to skate around since it was our last day of the trip and our last day skating any of these awesome concrete parks probably for a year. One little kid came up to us and said, "What's up, dog?". He asked us when Tony Hawk would be showing up at the park. He proceeded to put his tail up on the coping to drop in and without hesitation tried to roll down the transition, but kept falling backwards. He looked like he was going to get hurt. Feeling sorry for him and his health, we told him that he needed to put a little more of his weight forward, or he was going to go down hard everytime. He tried it a few more times, but kept falling and got more and more frustrated that and eventually he gave up and got overwhelmingly depressed. We found out later from his mother that it was his first day skating. First day ever. Crazy. Stupid.
Sam the skateoregon.com guy was riding around the park in his unique way. Just the way he rides around the park is so rad, because he's in his own little world, has his own style, and just enjoys himself. He transcends decades of skating and represents the true spirit of skateboarding. That and that pencil-thin fandango/goatee make Sam rad.
After skating for a couple of hours, we see another one of our old friends just kind of randomly show up at the skate park. Our friend Steve from LA shows up and tells us, 'well I had a job interview up here and I heard you guys were up here too, so I decided to just show up at the skate park and see if you guys were skating.' Even when you're thousands of miles away from home, and not even sure where you are or what town you're in, you will always see familiar faces, even ones you haven't skated with for months or years. With a park like Newberg around, your ability to find your skate friends is even better than calling them on a cell phone.
After skating well into the evening, we decide to go somewhere good to eat before we head home. Steve follows us in his car. We head down to a small town called Mcminville and find a little Japanese restaurant one of Robot's co-workers in Hawaii had recommended. It had been almost a couple of weeks since we had actually eaten rice, and we needed to acclimate ourselves back to a local-type of diet. The town of Mcminville is a tough town to get lost in. We find this out after we actually stopped at a store to ask for directions. They looked at us funny. The town is like a large square block. All the streets are in alphabetical/numerical order according to their names (ex. Burton Street, Charles Avenue, Davis Street, etc.) or their numbers (ex. 1st street, 2nd street, etc.). What a concept.
After we finish eating, we say goodbye to Steve and head back to our hotel in Portland to get some sleep and pack for the long trip home.
May 11, 2001
We wake up at an ungodly hour in the morning to catch our flight back to Honolulu. It's truly cold outside, but it's really tough for us to leave this place we have become so fond of. We are already planning our itinerary for the trip next year. Thanks to all the people we met on the trip and the wonderful places we had to skate. We'll be back soon.