Road Trip Part 2 Oregon & Washington August 26, 2002
This is actually the second part in an annual skate trip series; for varying reasons the first part wasn't put up on the site last year. We should have that up shortly. After a bit of a discussion on the general itinerary, we decided to check out the states of Oregon and Washington in search of the perfect concrete park. That's pretty much the whole itinerary there. The rest we figured out while we were on the road. The skate contingency consisted of three individuals: The Islander, The Captain, and Primal. This is a journal of our experiences.
August 8, 2002: Seattle, WA We arrive at the airport in Seattle at about 10pm local time. I remember actually getting up at 6 am Hawaii time to get all my stuff ready for the trip. What happened to the day?? It's about 12am before we deplane, get our bags and procure a vehicle. This time a CD player was mandatory, or we weren't going. The car rental company tried to pass us off a piece of shit Dodge with a tape player. We didn't have any tapes. We settled on a scratched up Nissan. Tom Jones in the rotation. After about the second song TJ starts to skip on us. Shitty rental. We stop at a 24 hour Italian place and a drive-in called Dick's. At Dick's a smooth operator comes up to the girls in the line in front of us with the approach of a lawn dart. 'So how's your evening coming girls??','Oh you just got off work?? Are you a waitress or something?','Alright, have a good night'. Pure crash and burn comedy. The CD player begins skipping through Iron Maiden.
August 9, 2002 Our first destination on the trip is Orcas Island, which is a remote island about an hour and a half drive North. To get there, you need to catch a ferry, so we wait in line for the ferry at about 2:30 am. Cars actually start lining up, so we think that a late night ferry may be leaving soon (we didn't have time to actually refer to any sort of schedule). The ferry doesn't leave until about 5:30 am, so we sit in our uncomfortable car for 3 hours and try to get some shut eye. We get absolutely none.
A word to the wise: for out of towners, the ferry is kind of a rip-off. It ended up being $50 for the three of us. If you want to save a little money, I may suggest hiding people in the trunk or under blankets as you go through the gate. If you have a van, you can probably hide like 8 people, or so I've heard. Either that or say you're all under 19 years old. The ferry ride was very scenic and serene. It takes less than an hour to get to Orcas Island, and the ferry comes well equipped with a cafeteria and restrooms. Not enough time for sleep though. We meet up with the Bruiser mid-ferry.
Once we arrive at Orcas Island, we make a bee-line to the skate park. It's actually about a nine-mile drive to get to the skate park, however we really didn't have an adequate map, so we randomly started driving around. During the drive we went by a restaurant that had a sign out front. The sign said "Herpes ass pie $5.99". We all read it, but didn't really talk about it until another mile up the road and all busted out laughing. Herpes ass pies can't really be too good for business. Maybe they're popular out here on Orcas.
We arrive at the skate park a little after 6:30 am. We are so surprised to see about 7 or 8 people actually riding the park. There are actually some people camping out in certain sections of the park. Hardcore. Actually, considering some of the specimens skating at the time, I couldn't really tell if they were skaters or just vagrants. We slowly warmed up, then sessioned the park for the next 3 hours. Orcas Island skate park has an awesome layout. It has a massive center bowl with an island in the middle, a love seat, a monster death box and a roll-in bridge, all with pool coping. The bowl has various transitions ranging in height from about 5 feet to 12 feet. There's also a race track snake-run sans-coping that runs along the perimeter with various humps, bumps, launches, and over-vert sections. The park is really fun; just about every nook and cranny is filled with some type of obstacle to skate, it doesn't matter which direction you turn. This park was also made to grind, and make loud noises while you're grinding. At around 10 am the lack of sleep/dehydration really starts to get to us, and I start to speak with slurred speech that probably sounds like gibberish. It's time to get something to eat.
After we find a restaurant to eat at, we secure some type of accommodations to sleep for the night. Our waitress at the restaurant refers us to Vern, an elderly gentleman who is renting out his guest house for a bargain price of $150 for the night. Now, normally this would seem like we were getting pretty screwed on the whole deal, but the fact is because of the Scott Stamnes Memorial Skate park dedication ceremony (which was taking place tomorrow), along with the Native American canoe race and the Librarian fair, the whole island of Orcas was in a tizzy. Accommodations were scarce, not to mention Orcas Island is not unlike a nature jock resort-type area. Everthing's expensive. Considering the consequences of sleeping in the car another night, we decided we were just going to have to cough up the money.
We decide to take a explorative drive around the island. We find a little park with a swimming hole. The Captain lies down in the sun on the grass. Boom, he's out. Me and Primal head back for the hot car. We pass out, and in the process sweat off about 5 pounds. After waking up and realizing our grave mistake, we pull the car off into the shade under a tree. The Captain's continues to snooze in the sun. After our foray into the dream world, we continue with our tour of the island. We drive off into the Moran State Park/Camp ground. The view up in the hills is breathtaking, but enough relaxing, it's time we head back to the skate park.
A lot of the people skating the park were the same people skating in the morning session. Some of the builders of the park were skating now, including Hubbard, Shaggy and crew. They were ripping. We talked with some of the contractors/community people involved in the project. We talked to surf/snowboard film master Warren Miller. These people have their shit together, and it's good to see. A 15,000 square foot park all built for under $200,000 is pretty impressive, especially on a remote island such as Orcas. The community donated some free labor, especially in the early stages (digging holes, moving shit around), but the park was constructed mainly through the blood, sweat and tears of the Dreamland/Grindline crew. Some of them were actually camping at the park or sleeping in their trucks until the project was completed. Pure dedication.
We skated for a while more, but we were exhausted. My legs started to give out and I began throwing my body into the opposite side transition. It was time to get some rest. We grabbed some food and passed out at Vern's almost as soon as we got there. I started to take a bath and realized Vern had forgotten to turn on the hot water. I felt my head begin to pulse when I washed my hair. The captain went outside and tried to wake up a sleeping Vern passed out in front of his TV by yelling at him through his window. Vern just might be a little deaf. Captain had a cold shower himself. We passed out for the night.
August 10, 2002 The next morning, after our first real night of sleep we felt awfully refreshed. It was nice to be able to sleep again. We drove out to the skate park once again for the Scott Stamnes Memorial park dedication. This time the park was a little more crowded. We weren't allowed to park anywhere near the skate park, so we had to park about a quarter mile down the road from the park and just skate there. This was a little more difficult than we imagined, being that the gravel they use in the asphalt is so course. You'd push with your foot, move about 2 feet and stop. We ended up walking to the park with gear in tow.
When we got to the park, there were actually a lot of people there, but not a whole lot of people skating. All the skaters, especially the ones skating the bowl were in a demo/contest mentality. Everybody dropped in on each other and collisions were quite common. We actually were pretty glad we were able to skate the park as much as we wanted the day before, because things started to get crazy. At around 1pm we decided to pack it up and leave the island. The first event they had scheduled at the skate park was a contest for the kids that was starting at 2 pm. We didn't really feel we had the patience to sit through that, so decided that the day might be better spent skating somewhere else.
We caught the ferry and drove South toward Seattle, our next stop was the Ballard Bowl.
Ball-lard is a small skate park. Actually, if you drive on the road right next to it, you might not even know it's there. There wasn't anybody skating the bowl when we got there. The bowl has a 9 foot square deep end/ 5 foot square shallow end shape with a small hip. The deep end is separated from the shallow by a skinny penninsula that sticks out. The bowl is also all pool coping, another beauty made by the Dreamland/Grindline crew. This bowl is not for the feint of heart. If your feet sketch off your board while grinding, you will fall. A few precarious gaps in the pool coping make grinding a really risky proposition. The park is located in a back alley behind a QFC grocery store, with a garbage compactor that stinks like hell. It's a tight area, but they were able to squeeze in the bowl back there for about $35,000. The rest of the park is a prefabricated street course and mini-ramp made out of skatelite that cost over $200,000. It's a travesty. Can't tell you much about the other stuff in the park, because we didn't even ride them. A few of the locals began showing up after we skated the park for a while. We talked to a guy named Lincoln, who we saw at Orcas Island the past couple of days. He actually came up from Fresno to help out construction at Orcas and will probably be helping out on some future Grindline projects, maybe in Idaho.
That night we spent at a friend's house in Georgetown, right next to the infamous skatable Hat & Boot. The hat is a large sombrero made out of sketchy concrete with the edges curled up. Perfect transitions for skating. It however was in a state of restoration and large chunks of concrete were missing in parts. One miscalculated move and you may fall 15 feet to the ground, so we decided against the late night session.
August 11, 2002 After waking up around 10 o'clock with aching bodies, we decide to take a mellow skate at one of the community parks around town called Burien to get warmed up. It was a really tiny park with tiny mellow transitions and crappy small galvanized coping. But, it was fun nonetheless just to get the skate legs warmed up for where we were about to skate next.
Backyard pools are fairly rare in Seattle, since most houses don't have them, especially in the backyard. The pool we'd heard about we'd call the Blackberry bowl, not because it was it's name or anything, but because of all the wild edible blackberrys located around the pool. It was next to a random run-down house in the middle of an industrial district that was pretty dilapidated. If was a definite no-bust situation as there weren't any neighbors or anything within blocks of the house. Blackberry is a pristine 9-foot deep square pool with nice transitions and rough but workable round pool coping. The stairs, the light, the deathbox, and the 3-foot shallow end were all in play. We were able to abuse ourselves for quite a while even though the mid-day sun was really beginning to beat us down.
Famished and slightly dehydrated, we got something to eat at a Mexican restaurant and once again hit the road. A couple hours later we were in Portland. We just kept on driving through town and had a little twilight skate at Newberg. From the last time we skated Newberg about a year ago, I noticed a big change in the way the kids there were riding it this time. There were millions of them there, but most of them knew how to hit all the little pockets around the park and were just flying around. They used to just stand off to the side and just try to drop in from everywhere. I guess having a quality park like Newberg around probably helps. Completely exhausted we checked in at the Holiday Inn in Portland for the night.
August 12, 2002 We woke up late today. It seems as if we just keep getting up later and later. It's a hot day temperatures in the 90s. We drive South to a small town named Donald, population 750. Last time we went through Aumsville the population there was 3045, which puts things in perspective. These small towns are just getting the sickest parks. In the blink of an eye we actually drove through the whole town of Donald and didn't even realize it. We did a quick U-Turn and were able to find the skate park.
There's not much at Dongald besides a sick left-hand kidney pool, complete with pool coping and stairs, and a small mini-halfpipe with a pump bump running through the middle. There are not many parks that make as good of a use of a small area like Donald does.
Mark Hubbard : Orcas Island
El Capitain : Orcas Island
Primal : Orcas Island
Plaque at Orcas Island
Mark Hubbard : Orcas Island
Deep end : Orcas Island
Deathbox : Orcas Island
Frontside air : Orcas Island
Primal : Ballard Bowl
Captian : Ballard Bowl
Hat & Boot
Primal : Blackberry Pool
Captain : Blackberry Pool
Captain : Blackberry Pool
Captain : Donald
Donald was constructed by the Dreamland crew for a little under $35,000. The pool was just like a real empty pool, except if it wasn't located in a skate park, this would be the pool find of your dreams. The pool's coping had just been redone so it was just about perfect. The saddest thing about the the park was that someone had spray painted some fresh graffiti in the deep end of the pool. It said something like "Skater fags eat cock". That's some disrespectful shit. The kids there said some of the BMX kids did it. I think in Donald a lot of the locals aren't really feeling skateboarding. As we were skating, a car drove by with a guy yelling out the window, "Yeah, woo-hooo, Tony Hawk!!" (At least they don't say, 'Skate or Die!!' anymore). After a while of skating in the hot sun, a Donald local shows up riding a messed up long-board/skinny hybrid with soft wheels. He drops in the kidney, carves the stairs and starts trying some rock and rolls. Then he leaves for a while comes back on a regular board and goes over the stairs frontside does his rock and roll, and then does so rock fakies and fakie rocks back and forth in the super tight shallow end. I guess he might have ridden that pool there before (one of those lucky 750 Donald residents).
After Donald, we were pretty much wiped out. The 90 degree heat will definitely do it to you. We were considering jumping into a river somewhere, but instead headed back to the hotel for a shower and a little r & r.
After recuperating, we got a bite to eat and headed out for some evening activities. Before we knew it, it was the witching hour and we were heading down the road to Aumsville.
August 13, 2002 Talk about freedom; we arrive at Aumsville a little after midnight and skate until 2:30 in the morning. Aumsville has lights now, which makes skating a 24 hour activity if you're up for it. Every town should have one. No neighbors, no cops, no hassles. Imagine rolling up to a park of concrete perfection like Aumsville glistening in the lights, perfect skating temperature, having the park all to yourself, it doesn't get much better than that. After about an hour of skating, a car pulls up in the parking lot, and a couple of guys get out and they start trying to be friendly. Then the question comes, 'you mind if we ride our bikes around the park??'. Now normally if this was one of our local parks, we'd tell them to beat it. Not that we have necessarily anything against bikes, but there are certain parks they are not supposed to be riding, especially Dreamland parks. They don't need to be damaging the perfect concrete work at Aumsville with their pegs and their tires can handle less than perfect concrete work. Hell, their tires can handle riding around in bumpy dirt. So we let them know it wasn't necessarily cool, but it also wasn't our job to be patrolling skate parks on our trip. They ended up riding anyway and really pissed us off by nagging us, 'Can I ride?? I won't grind the coping if you don't want me to.' I really hate when people look for your approval on things you don't necessarily approve of in the first place. Well, besides bumming us out anytime they tried to talk to us, they actually didn't ride around the park too much, and we got a nice skate session in.
After waking a little before noon, we decided it was time to head down South toward the coast. Supposedly the temperature today was going to be in the hundreds, so we weren't really going to attempt a mid-day skate. We decided to migrate during this time. Driving through some of the fields out there, we had the air conditioning on full cold and max and still barely got a whisp of cool air coming out of the vents. Our drive took us also took us through some foresty areas as well and in a little less than 5 hours we were in Port Orifice.
Port Orford is another small town, but this one is on the coast. It rivals Donald in overall size, but actually is a little bit bigger. The skate park is located in this wooded off to the side of a little dirt road. Not a whole lot of money went into the park (about $35,000), but it's another Dreamland beauty. It's a 10-foot deep square bowl with a hip connecting it to a 5-foot shallow square/rounded hybrid, all with steel coping. The design feature which makes this park incredible is the 12-foot over-vert, half-ball cradle section, which make over-vert carves a reality without the full pipe. Dreamland had previously incorporated this design in it's Austrian cradle park, and now the design finally migrated to the US. It's unbelievable. This park is definitely burly, but all about the speed lines. When we pulled up to the park, we had been in the car for so long, we expected to jump out into 100 degree raging heat. It was a huge shock when we stepped out the car to be greeted with temperatures probably closer to 50 degrees. Within less than an hour's drive there was a 50 degree change in temperature. Only in Oregon I guess. It took a while to get warmed up after the long drive. I didn't really want to do anything but carve around real fast and see how pitched I could get in the cradle. That's what Orford is all about. It's addicting. A couple of Port Orford residents were there who had helped out building the park. They were stoked. They wanted to take a road trip out to Orcas after we told them of our experiences out at that park. A little after 8 o'clock we decided we should hit the road once again because all the stores would soon be closing for the night and we needed something to eat. At 8:55 we strolled into a pizza joint that was closing at 9 o'clock, hoping none of the cooks would spit in the pizza.
It began to get really foggy about now. Driving became really risky. We decided to look for some accommodations in Brookings, a coast town located on the Oregon/California border. The first motel we drove by was called the Bonn Inn, but the sign looked like it said Bonx Inn so that's what we called it. The Bonx was a pretty ghetto scene: skid marks on the bedspreads, blood stains, jizz stains, you name it, all with this funky red carpet. I slept with all my clothes on. However, the Bonx had probably the last rooms in town because about six cars pulled up after us looking for rooms. I guess we were pretty fortunate in that respect. The Bonx advertises that it has HBO. It didn't have any fucking HBO. It does have a really old ass TV with no remote. We tried to fall asleep to this Dennis Leary special on Comedy Central just to cover up the sound of the Captain's snores. He started singing this song about how he was an asshole. He wasn't an asshole as much as he was extremely annoying. Hearing someone talk jacked up on coffee and cigarettes is not really soothing. We had to turn it off after a while.
August 14, 2002 We got out of the Bonx as early in the morning as possible to get breakfast. After that we rolled right up to the Brookings skate park. There were six little kids already riding there.
The Brookings skate park has a special layout. The whole park is basically built around a central triple bowl with pool coping. Very unique. The outside part of the park winds around like a snake run with steel coping. The concrete work of the whole park was very smooth. This was another Dreamland project. It was pretty much cold and foggy all morning, but we didn't really mind because the park was so fun. There was this guy at the park extreme filming a kid with a palmcorder. I say extreme because it was funny how he would lie on his back on the flat while filming and do like a breakdance backspin as the kid would go up the wall above him. We talked to the guy for a while about skate parks, and he offered us a place to stay next time we were in the town of Brookings. Much better than the Bonx, I assume. I can assure you we will be skating this park much more on the next Oregon trip.
Cradle : Port Orford
...and even more?
Orford's Port Orifice
Primordial grind : Brookings
Primal : Brookings
After we grabbed lunch, we decided we should make a return visit to the skate parks of Grant's Pass and Medford before we'd make the journey back North to Portland. We arrived at Grant's Pass to find the park almost empty, except for a couple of bootera and skaters. Once again it was hot: 108 degrees. Unfortunately, we have an update to the condition status of Grant's Pass. When Grant's Pass was originally built, there was sort of a dry wasteland area located along side of it. That wasteland area has since become a tiny lake full of water. Not really quite sure how it happened, but because of the lake, water is seeping through concrete in the walls of the bowls and snake run. The concrete is also cracking in those areas. Unfortunately, it seems that if nothing is done about the lake, the park may be completely ruined in a short time.
On our way to Medford we noticed a raging wildfire up in the hills. The smoke was wild. One of the signs on the side of the road said something like, 'Firemen are heroes with hoes'. Not really quite sure what that all means.
The drive back to Portland was long. Over 4 hours. It was nice to be back, but the drive pretty much wore us out for the night. We slept well that night.
August 15, 2002 We needed to take a break from skating on this day, and that's just what we did. The closest we came to skating was a little street skating action on the way to check out Burnside.
There was nothing really going on at Burnside except for a heated session by the locals. I took a little video of them riding. Burnside is presently in really nice condition.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing over at a friend's house sitting in a jacuzzi, and doing laundry, because our clothes were beginning to get a little rank.
August 16, 2002 We woke up in the morning and decided we were going to get some serious skating in for the day. The only decision we had to make was whether we wanted to go to Astoria or Lincoln City to skate. We decided to go to Astoria. Good choice. After driving a couple hours out of Portland we arrive in Astoria. Astoria is a coast town so far North it almost sits right on the Oregon/Washington border. When we got to the skate park there were only a couple of skater kids, and a couple of booters/razor riders rolling around. Basically, we got to the skate park at around 2:30 pm and didn't leave until a little after 8 pm; skating run after run after run, until we were exhausted.
Astoria skate park is one of the newer Dreamland parks and is another high quality piece of work.
The park was converted from a former Olympic size swimming pool, and some of the perimeter retains the same basic shape. The deep end is burly, something like 12 feet with 2 feet of vert, 2 square corners (a rounded corner, and a standard tight backyard pool corner, both pool and steel coping), a square peninsula, a 6 foot mid-sized pocket, and a 4 foot shallow end with all the humps, bumps, corners, escalators, and over-vert pockets you can handle. The finish work on the park is just perfectly polished, textbook Dreamland. Astoria is a wide open set-up, but there are speed lines to be had. It took us a while to figure them out ourselves, though, because of the absence of local riders. There are not that many locals in the area, and most of them drive to Astoria from other towns. One of the kids there said the maximum heated session the place ever had was probably about 8 people.
After completely exhausting ourselves, we headed back to Portland, hit the town for a while and then turned in early.
August 17, 2002 After another late rise, we decided to drive out to Lincoln City for a skate. Since it was a Saturday, we knew there would be a bunch of people hanging out there skating.
There were a bunch of little kids there, but they knew how to take the park apart. We skated there for a little while remembering how rad it was, and how good the steel coping grinded there, and then we hit the road again, bound for another skate at Newberg.
Newberg was good, only a couple of people there actually riding the park. The evening weather was perfect and we skated until dark.
August 18, 2002 Winding down on the last few days of our trip, we decided to take it a little easy on the skating today, woke up late, and did some sightseeing. We drove up to Mount Saint Helens to check out the remains of the volcanic crater and all the ash it blew everywhere. 22 years ago! I can't believe if's been that long, because I remember the time vividly. I feel old even writing this.
The rest of the evening was spent skating Newberg once again in perfect weather. You didn't think we were going to spend another whole day off our boards.
August 19, 2002 We decided on this day to head back to Seattle for the last two days of our trip. On our way North, we stopped at the Sumner skate park.
Sumner is the last Grindline/Dreamland skate park we rode on our trip. The skate park is located in a community park somewhere smack in the middle of suburban hell. It was actually a pretty popular park if you wanted to be part of the Sumner scene. One kid who lived across the street would fit skateboarding runs in between his drum practice sessions. High school kids would pull up in the parking lot to hang out. Groups of 12 to 14-year old girls would sit around the perimeter of the park talking about boys and who had the tightest butt. The park, although I wouldn't rate it the best Grindline creation we rode on the trip, definitely meant business.
The park consists of an 8-foot bowl and a street section all complete with (as is the case with all Grindline parks in Washington) pool coping. The more I rode the park, the more I got used to it and the more I liked it. The whole thing is slightly quirky, but you just gotta love all the pool coping. Every time, good pool coping just makes the park that much better. The sound of it always gives instant gratification. What can you say?? I wish I lived across the street from this park.
After skating Sumner for a couple of hours, and getting in a flatground battle with some of the locals there, we headed back to Seattle and shacked up in Georgetown once again for the night.
August 20, 2002 The morning started with an attempt to skate the Hat & Boot. We got through the fence, and we're attempting to scale this sketchy rope with a single foothold, but were unable to scale it before some do-gooder in a van stopped of by the start of the road and started yelling at me to get down. I don't think I would have been able to get up on the hat with just that janky rope anyway. After I climbed down the rope and started walking out the fence, the bastard took off. Didn't even have the balls to stick around. Fuck that guy and fuck that rope and the stupid hat that kept taunting us to skate it! Mission not accomplished.
Winding down on our trip, we decide to check out the Seask8 park, located right by the Space Needle in downtown Seattle. The street course on this park is kind of dinky, but the snake run and bowl are gnarly. The deep bowl is kind of kinked in the tranny, so it's a rough ride and the bowl definitely won't hesitate to throw you on your ass. It was a fun park, but it wasn't that great. Prime location to have a skate park though. Wish it was a little better.
August 21, 2002 We didn't get much if any sleep last night. I can remember just putting my head down, and the next thing I know it's 5:45 am, time to catch our flight back to Honolulu. Wish we didn't have to go quite yet, but it's nice going home after subjecting yourself to the harshness of life on the road for any stint of time. It's basically nice to have your own pot to piss in. There's always next year. I'm sure by this time next year there will be some new parks to ride. So little time and so much to skate. We hope be back next year, so hold the fort down for us while we're gone.