The trip actually started with our (Steve and I) desire to skate some of the best that California has to offer. California is the birthplace of skateboarding and we wanted to get back to our roots! Back to where it all started in empty swimming pools! So, we planned a 10-day trip, and the plans started to snowball. I purchased the Persuader (a 1977 24 foot Motor Home), and made some modifications to it, so it would sleep 7, and keep 5 teenagers busy with video games (read 3 TVs and two game systems). Max (14 year old) from Ballard wanted to go. My son and his buddy "Coop" wanted to go. And Steve and his two kids were in. So, with the Motor Home serviced, and ready, we were ready or so I thought. Jeremy (my son) wanted to skate before the trip; I think it was three days before we left. I told him to skate easy if he's going to skate. He ends up injuring his ankle, so much that he's unable to skate. So, I had to tell him about life (I'm the dad after all, that's my job). I said, son, there's the easy way to learn things, and the hard way.

Saturday Night August 9th 2003:
We loaded up the Persuader and headed out of Renton at 10:30 pm. Next stop, Burnside. Steve had made plans to meet "Q" at Burnside to get him on board, or get some info on some pools. So, we were off. Q was nowhere to be found at Burnside, so we were going to have to find some pools on our own. So we pressed on to Tigard and went to sleep at about 2 AM, our first night in the Persuader, at the Tigard Middle School. It was difficult to get to sleep. Not because of the rain (which it did), but because of how exited we all were about our trip.
Sunday August 10th 2003:
Off to Lincoln City, some of us hadn't skated the newly finished covered section, so our trip started with a quick detour down the Oregon Coast. To be honest, the Oregon coast is a trip all in itself. So, in essence we were taking two trips. This was just the first one, HA! We are so spoiled here in the Northwest! We arrive in Lincoln City around noon, and skate for a couple hours. The new part of Lincoln City's skatepark is probably the best concrete work I've ever skated. Smooth and fast, just incredible. The cradle is a main feature, and I was thinking it should be renamed, "The Hammer" because if you don't skate it correctly, you get pounded.

After a couple of hours, we wanted to stay here for two weeks, but pools were calling our names, so we pressed on. But, not too quickly. We were in that vehicle that you don't want to follow and you're always trying to pass. We were a tad bit slow, to say the least. Next stop, Waldport. I had seen Waldport, but hadn't skated it. Its main feature is this huge Taco shaped over vertical section. Which I can honestly say was unique. Air speed made this park, and they definitely made one that will keep their kids attention for quite a while. What I really liked about the park was the "imprinted concrete" made to look like bricks or rocks. Very fun to skate, and creative.

We skated until 4:30 PM had lunch, and pressed on to Port Orford. Now, along the way is Reedsport, Oregon. Airspeed is building a park there, as I write this (I think he said October '03 it will be finished). So, we stopped in to check it out. One of the main features is what they are calling a "Funnel Tunnel", which is basically a full pipe that is large on one end, and smaller on the other. Geth Noble, the owner of Airspeed, just happened to be working late Sunday night, getting ready for a pour on Monday morning. We talked with him for a few minutes, and he explained how the concrete "imprinting" was done at Waldport and Reedsport. Reedsport will have a pool replica with "imprinted" tile and a death box. This appears to be another skatepark that I will have to get back to and skate!

Now, normally I have all my safety gear on when I skate, and I look like a Roman Gladiator, which I'm fine with, my gear keeps me skating even after I slam. However, I had forgotten my hip pads. I skated Lincoln City, and Waldport without hip pads. I hate forgetting stuff, and even worse, while skating Waldport, with it's unusual lay out, I hit my hip. Not real hard, but hard enough to remind me that I needed hip pads. So, we stopped at the next Fred Meyer's and I'm checking out all sorts of material, that I could fabricate into hip pads. I finally happen to find a Coleman camping pad. It's dense foam, and looks like it would work so I purchase one. I cut it to fit and sew some Velcro in, and Wa La! I'm wearing hip pads once again. We rolled into Port Orford around 8:45 PM just light enough for Max to get a couple of runs in before dinner and bedtime. Max says, "This place is fun!"

Monday August 11th 2003:
I heard rustling in the bushes. It was around 7am. I couldn't sleep. Too excited still, I guess, so I was busily removing the pen mark that ran the length of the Persuader that someone at Burnside so graciously gave us. I thought it was just a dog or something. But, I looked up and it was a small deer, running away from a German Shepard. The Shepard wasn't having much luck catching the thing (it was pretty funny, deer are fast dude!). We had a good night in Port Orford. The place is quite, and dark. Not much going on at night to wake a guy up. Very nice. Oh, the park is killer too! Neither Steve nor Max had skated this park before, so they were stoked. Nice bowl with a cradle and true vert. Since they had seen the park in the Northwest Video, they were already thinking of some lines. Steve was getting nice burt slides on the backside of the cradle, and Max was getting some good airs out of the bowl. His comment was, "I kind of wish Ballard was this deep" (10 foot, about a 2 feet deeper than Ballard).

We skated until 10:30 AM and headed to Brookings. It's always more fun to skate with friends. Last time I was here, I skated the bowl by myself, and that's always hard to do. This time I was finally able to grind the shallow end in the bowl. We all had fun, pool coping doesn't disappoint, ever! One thing that struck me, was how much the locals have improved, there were some that were really ripping the place up! After a stop at the Library, Fred Meyer's and the gas station, we headed up the hill for Grants Pass at about 6:30 PM. The library was a great way keep access to email, and to post updates on In addition, Steve was finishing his on-line math class. We arrived in Grants Pass at 9:30 PM, had Ravioli for Dinner, and parked the Persuader in the parking lot of the Skatepark and bedded down. It was warm (95 or so), so Steve and three others decided to bed down on the warm concrete, in the bowl. The deep bowl has a perpetual leak, so they had to sleep in the shallow area.

Tuesday August 12th 2003:
"Knock, Knock, Knock..." I hear on the door, it's 6:04 AM. I know the door isn't locked, so I wasn't sure why anyone would be knocking. Then Coop says, "Dan, a cop is standing outside". "Knock, Knock, Knock...(more like "Bang, bang, bang, bang...). An impatient cop, I'm thinking. I open the door, half awake. He asks me what I'm doing there? "Uh...sleeping." He asks why? (I don't understand why cops ask these type questions) "Uh...I was tired." He sees my knee is scraped and thinks that I've been skating (He probably didn't care to know that it was actually a softball injury). He tells me in no uncertain terms that the Park is closed from dusk to dawn and that we are to leave. (Again I don't quite understand why he waited until 6 AM to tell me this, but I didn't ask.) While backing the Persuader out, I noticed, in my rear view mirror, the cop stopped and started walking toward the bowl. He must have seen.... I hear a loud whistle...yup; he saw Steve and the boys. The cop blew his whistle and said, "Boys, this is your wake up call!". Basically, we could have put our helmets on and skated, because the sun had come up. However, we went to McDonalds to wake up and get some food. We came back to the park, and skated for an hour or so. During that time, another cop pulled up and told a local kid to either leave or pay a fine (250 bucks) for not wearing a helmet (Dang, these Grants Pass cops are a little uptight!). The park was OK. We had fun skating here. We were doing slides on the banks, and skating fast in the deep end. We even did a couple of trains, following Max. It's a lot like Seaskate, only a little deeper, and a lot bigger.  
We headed for Medford around 11 AM. It was getting hot. However, this would be our last stop before heading down to California, so we skated for an hour or so. The kids liked Medford. Steve commented that the bowl had too much flat to keep your speed in.  
We headed to California, and not having the Q link up, we were flying blind. Max had the fever; he was looking for pools as we traveled. One time he saw a good one, and as I was going slow for him to look, he jumps out, and takes a closer look. He didn't even tell me he was jumping out (Where's MAX? "Oh, he jumped out, he's checking out he pool"). So, I stopped and waited for this pool crazy kid. That one wasn't a "go". No pools were found, so we stopped at the skatepark in Ripon, CA and ripped it up for the night session. Overall, the Ripon skatepark is fun. Big trannies, with a tiny bit of vert. Very fast and fun to roll over all. It was kind of funny. The place was really busy and I was a bit intimidated trying to figure out where to drop in and not get run over. Steve is already on his third or fourth run. And I noticed that every time he drops in, people just get out of his way. If you haven't seen Steve skate, you'll have to imagine. Here's this guy who skates at top speed, all the time. So, he drops in and starts speeding around the whole park. Almost killing anyone who gets in his way. By his fourth run, the whole park pretty much stops and gets out of his way when he's coming. So, I'm thinking, this might be a good way to get some runs in, just follow Steve, and that worked, I got a few good runs in before it got too dark to skate. We met an older skater named John from Sacramento who had a line on some pools and things. He told us to call him when we come back through. I put his number in my cell phone.
John also mentioned that the Glory Hole ran over for the 1st time in 48 years, which meant that the elbow could be wet, which is what Steve said is the best part of the whole thing. So, we weren't sure if we'd hit that, since it could be wet. We planned on calling John back to find out for sure.  
Tim Hayes called, he told Steve that he wanted to skate with us, so he was driving solo down to meet us; he was in Eugene at the time. We left Ripon, and headed for Fresno, where the reputed Vagabond Hotel the one that is abandoned, and everyone skates the empty pool. We made it into Fresno about 10 PM, and we decided to look for the pool. We had directions, but they were bogus. They led us to an already fully functioning Vagabond Hotel. Not what we were looking for. Joke was on us. We hit the road. Steve seemed to think that he could remember where it might be; we drove for a couple of hours, and pretty much wasted our time looking for pools that weren't there. The Persuader was making a clicking sound that stops when the brakes were pressed. This made it difficult to be in a stealth mode, which is important when looking for pools (Stealth mode with a 24 foot motor home? Yeah right!). We decide to bag the search, and hit it again in the morning.
We heard before we left, that RV's can stay over night for free at the Walmart parking lots, so we bed down at the nearest Walmart. The Fresno skatepark wasn't too far away, so we planned to hit that first thing in the morning.

Wednesday August 13th 2003:

The monitor (some California skateparks have monitors) told us no water was allowed in the park, which was funny. It was already 90 degrees out, and it was only 10 in the morning! We were each drinking about a gallon of water a day. The Fresno skatepark was actually rather big, a lot of concrete. But no real vertical terrain to speak of. Which is a shame that a city would put so much money out for so much concrete and not have at least one good deep bowl. So we did a couple of burt slides and headed out in search of the Vagabond bowl.

Having no idea where it was, we decided to canvas the downtown area. Now, after about an hour of this, Steve decides he has a better idea. He starts asking everyone and anyone he sees on the road. "Dan, hey, pull over, I'm going to ask this guy..." Finally he asked some homeless guy, who knew exactly where it was. I was happy that Steve was with me on this trip. I'm more of a plan your trip, and stick to the itinerary type of guy. More shy, not really one to go up and ask strangers where the bowl is. He's just the opposite. He'll ask anyone, talk to anyone at anytime. He's the man, when it comes to finding these places. So we drive right up to the abandoned, run down hotel. We were stoked; we all jump out and check it out (Did you notice the irony? Only skaters would be jumping for joy as they pull up at a run down, stinky, abandoned Hotel, just thought I'd point that out). The pool is in a courtyard of this old hotel. I heard that the City purchased the land, and lets people skate there. Definitely not a bust situation. A full go, in skate terms (NASA also).

We skated there all morning. Around 2pm it was getting down right hot. 98 plus degrees. We headed for the Library, where Steve had some homework to do, for his on line class. All of us felt better sitting in the library, either checking email, or just reading the newspaper in the air conditioning (This was after we cleaned up a little in their restroom, can you imagine, seven sweaty guys all hitting the library? Not a pretty sight). Tim calls and I tell him to meet us at the Fresno library. No problem. He's there. After cooling off, and checking our email we all head back to the Vagabond Bowl. Tim skates with us at the Vagabond until dark, the sunset was so awesome, it made the scene just epic. Max was hitting frontside airs out of the pool. Steve was just killing it like usual. Tim was killing it also with some laybacks and bert reverts, and grinding over the light. There was even some locals that just ripped! Too much fun! When it got too dark to skate, we headed out, the trip was already a success, we skated the Vegabond!

We were going to hit a bunch of pools in along Hwy 99, but we were just running out of time. So, we headed for Upland. We stayed the night at a rest stop on what's called the grapevine, just before dropping into LA. As we pulled in, my phone was sitting in my lap. I was looking for a level spot for the Persuader, and I hopped out to look around, hopped back in, I didn't realize at the time, but my phone had fallen out onto the ground. I parked the Persuader, and started setting up camp. A few minutes later, Jake says that he's found a cell phone, "Guys, look what I've found!" I take a look at it, and it's mine. But, it's completely crushed. Flattened. It had been run over. All those numbers, gone too (sorry John). I now had to rely on the numbers I had written down. Oh brother, I was thinking, being too dependent on electrical technology can be bad. Well, like I told my son. There's the easy way and the hard way.

Thursday August 14th 2003:
We woke up and hit the road, headed for Upland. Arrived around 11 AM. Steve and all the crew were stoked. They couldn't believe their eyes. A huge pipe, built for just skateboarding. We all skated, and learned the terrain. We noticed the stickers in the pipe and some were really high, and wondered how high we could get. So, we stuck some of our own stickers, and we surprised ourselves by sticking some pretty high, around 10:30 in the pipe. Pretty respectable for out-of-towners like ourselves. So we were satisfied that we'd accomplished something. We all skated until we just couldn't take the heat anymore. It was 104 degrees, at around 1 PM. We had the roof top air conditioning in the Persuader, and that was a lifesaver, we all stood under the cool air and decided to head out to the nearest mall and hang there to get cooled off. .  
We found the Ontario Van's Skatepark in the Mall, and checked it out. But it wasn't worth the 12 bucks a session, so we just watched, and stayed cool. Steve had to finish his test and fax it in tomorrow, so he was working hard on it. He had two problems left, and was stumped, well, he was just burnt out more than anything. So, I asked him what the problem was. He said this guy Ryan, he has this problem, he's needs to know his net income (It's some math story problem.) So, I said, well let's take a look. Steve says, you know what I think? This is not Math, this is Ryan's problem not mine. So, we all sat there in the cool air of the mall and worked out Ryan's problem. Steve was happy to be done with his homework. Now all he had to do was fax it to his teacher. .  
At about 5 PM we drove up to Baldy, the Persuader was complaining. Sputtering from the heat, I suppose. We arrived, and Mrs. Baldy was giving us the eye. She lives right next to the entrance, and she hates skaters. She was just waiting for us to jump the fence so she could call the rangers. So, we got spooked, and left for the night session at Upland. We cooked dinner (Ravioli) and hit the pipe. This time the lights came on, and so did a couple of local rippers. This was a fun session at Upland. However, we didn't see Salba, they said he usually comes out on Friday night. We skated right up to closing time, 10 PM. This was the best night skating we had experienced ever. Epic was the word that kept coming to mind. Had the trip ended here, it would have been worth it. Upland, all by itself was worth the trip. It's so fun, the deep end is 11 feet deep with perfect concrete. The Pipe, 20 feet in diameter, it just doesn't get much better. Now normally on a skate trip, a guy has to pace himself (especially when you're as old as me), because there's always more stuff to skate the next day. But, Steve kept skating hard, and I couldn't stop either. We both skated so hard, we were just beat. Dead tired. .  
We bedded down at the Walmart in Fontana. We had heard that the Fontana skatepark was worth checking out. So, that was the plan for the next morning.
Friday August 15th 2003:

We made it to the Fontana skatepark, and the first guy we meet is a local guy named John. He asked us if we were interested in skating a real back yard swimming pool? (Duh!). So, we skated an hour or so at Fontana. It was certainly no Upland, but it was fun to roll around and do a couple grinds, but not something I'd travel to skate. Upland is a place that I'd would (and did) travel to, just to skate it, and it was fully worth the effort.

After Fontana, we followed John to this gnarly square pool. It was getting hot, but we didn't care, we just drank more water, and hosed ourselves off more. This pool was in Fontana, at an abandoned house. John called it the blue patch bowl, because of the patchwork of paint in the pool. The bowl was one of the tightest trannies I've ever tried to skate. The best we could do was get a grind on the love seat. It was difficult, but that just made it that much more fun. We skated hard for about an hour, and called it good. We thanked John, and headed for LA. .

In my planning of our trip (I tried to plan), I noticed that the X-Games were happening at the same time we would be rolling through town. So, I purchased 7 tickets for Friday night, the vert final competition. Tim wasn't really interested so he took off and planned to head back up hwy 101. It was great to have Tim along, we all really enjoyed his company, and sharing the experience with him. Driving through downtown LA is bad enough. Trying to park in downtown LA is even worse. And then trying to do this with a 24 foot Pursuader is next to impossible. At first I was thinking I would park in a park and ride, and catch the bus downtown. Then I had second thoughts, based on how much electronic equipment we were carrying. So, I decided, I would pay the extra couple of bucks to park downtown. I pulled up to no fewer than 5 parking lots, only to have them tell me to leave, because they couldn't handle a 24-foot Persuader. I was more than a little frustrated. Finally, as I came up on a parking lot I just pulled all the way in, because I could see they had room. So all the while they were waving me to get out, I was pulling up. I said, "Hey, I'm down here from Seattle, and I need to park this somewhere, don't you have room to fit me in (I could see they did)?" Lots of parking lot people talking in Spanish and on radios...Finally they let me park (we persuaded them). The X-Games. Well, it was fun. Reminded me of a skateboard sidewalk fair. Everywhere you look there were booths by different manufacturers, and cell phone companies with little give-a-ways of stickers and tech decks and things. The kids just ate it up. They were grabbing all they could, I think Max and Jake had something like two bags full of free stuff! The highlight for Steve and I was the vert competition. We found some seats and watched some of these guys we'd only seen on TV before. Jake Brown doing 10-foot backside airs. Sandro Dias doing 540 body jars. Bob Burnquist doing tricks that no one even thinks about doing. Bucky Lasic walked away with the event, being very consistent, and very good. This event was a highlight for Jeremy, being limited to skating very gingerly, he had a lot of fun watching these pros do their thing. I was glad he was able to have fun with the rest of us. The X-games was a complete success, just something you don't see everyday. I think the kids enjoyed it too. Even though Steve would boo at the skaters for selling out to marketing mini-ramps (Andy Mac).

We left downtown LA around 10PM, and headed for Orange, and stayed at a Walmart. When I parked, I noticed that one of my tires was hissing loudly. It was a rear, one of the duals. I figured we'd have to deal with it in the morning.

Saturday August 16th 2003:
I couldn't sleep real well, due to my worrying about the flat tire. I woke up around 6 AM and walked around looking for a phone book, to look for a tire shop near by. In my walking, I noticed that Walmart, where we were staying, had a shop. Hmmm... how convenient. So, I limped the Persuader over to the shop entrance, which opened at 8 AM. So, they tried, but they couldn't even lift the Persuader up. Oh Brother, I was thinking. They put the jack under the axel, and couldn't even lift the back tire off the ground. I thought this was a tire shop. So we went to a place they recommended. And they couldn't do it; they said they didn't have the right sized wrenches (something about an employee had stolen them). We then ended up at a place called "Just Tires". I pulled up, and the desk guy asked Carlos if he could do it. He said, "yup, no problem." Even though Carlos said no problem, the owner/manager came out and looked. He was skeptical, and lots of discussion ensued in Spanish. He finally told me that they would try, but couldn't make any guarantees. Hmm...Ok, I thought, I don't have any other options. Max asked if he could borrow my video camera, and all the kids went in the waiting room and took over the TV in there. This happened quite frequently. Whenever we would stop, these kids would take over, and usually terrorize or skate and destroy something (what did I expect, I was traveling with five teen age boys!), I was worried that would happen again, and we'd get kicked out. They hooked the video camera to the TV in there, and watched our video footage of the day before for about an hour, while the tire was being fixed. Some other people sat down, it was the waiting room after all, and Steve would explain our trip, and how we love to skate pools (They were watching the video from us skating the pool). One guy said, he had a pool, but he intended on keeping it filled with water, as he grabbed a magazine. Carlos was the man. He had no doubts from start to finish, and had it dialed. He fixed us up, and we had no more problems with that tire. I thanked Carlos personally in what little Spanish I learned in school, and we were on our way (Via con Dios!).  
Next stop, the Combi bowl in the Vans skatepark in Orange. We were lucky enough to find a parking spot, and hit the park. I had downloaded release forms that had to be notarized by the parents of kids who weren't there, before hand, so we were ready. The Combi bowl replica is a little smaller than the original, but it was supper fun. It has about 8 inches of one-inch ceramic tile at the top, just like a real pool. And what I noticed is that not only was it fun to ride, but it was also an indicator of speed. The combi bowl is a square bowl, and a round bowl, that is connected together (hence the name). Two perfectly shaped bowls. And when you hit the square corners with speed (actually they are rounded courners), the wheels running over the tiles makes a sound at different frequencies, such that you can hear the differences in speed (dud, dud, dud, DaDaDaDaD ). Very cool! Steve and Max were figuring out the lines. Getting airs, and long grinds. I was trying to get a couple of carve grinds in both bowls. We met a couple of cool locals. One guy (Matt?) said that he recognized us from and one time while I was riding he said, "Do a one footer!" Which, I was more than happy to try. I was able to get a couple, before slipping out and almost falling. I was so tired. I skated myself out (again), it was just too much fun. I could have stayed here for the whole week and been happy, that combi bowl is nearly perfect. Just another page in our epic journey.  
We left there so tired, we headed for the beach! Huntington Beach that is. We had a connection to the Basic bowl, but I forgot to get an address, and so we were unable to make that connection. We made it to the beach and had fun anyway. There was even some sort of Beach Volley Ball event going on while we were there. We went from 104 degrees the day before, to about 74 degrees, on the beach in Huntington. It was just too good to be true. The kids had fun in the water, and took showers, and got generally all cleaned up for the trip back up north. We were running out of time. But, it was lots of fun, no doubt. Steve and I decided to do driving in shifts and head back up north. Next stop, the Strawberry bowl. We drove through the night, filled up on gas, and kept going. I drove, and he napped, and when he drove, I napped.




Sunday August 17th 2003:

We pulled into the Strawberry Lodge around 10 AM at about 6,000 feet in elevation. The lady at the desk said that the bowl isn't usually open until noon, due to the sun. We're like, hey we don't care about the sun, we just want to skate. We pay our 10 bucks, and sign waivers, and then Steve made pancakes, and then we skated until around 4 PM (after eating we had to wait an hour before going into the pool, ha! Just kidding). It's a fun bowl, built in the 1940's I think. And for a bowl that old, it's quite good. Definitely worth the trip to skate it. It has a death "slot" and light to go over. Max was going over the stairs in the shallow. Just too much fun once again. This was probably one of the best venues for a skatepark I've ever seen. Not that this bowl is a skatepark, but that's what it felt like. There were mountains, trees, blue sky, and a creek that runs right next to the bowl. If you got too hot, just take a dip. It was just perfect. Of course the creek was deathly cold, so be prepared for that icy run off. We filled two buckets with creek water, and kept our shirts wet using the water from the buckets. This kept us plenty cool as we skated.

We heard from some of the locals, that Reno's skatepark was worth hitting, and that the route was better than heading back down to Sacramento, if we were going to Klamath Falls. So, we headed out at around 4 PM for Reno's skatepark. While going through Lake Tahoe. Max with his keen eye for pools, sees two of them. Both of them had a little water, and garbage in them. Steve was wondering where the local skaters were, and how come they aren't out there keeping those pools clean? We roll into Reno around 6 PM, and hit the skatepark. It's an interesting park. Lots of different terrain. Not one that I would necessary travel to, but interesting non-the-less. The main feature for Steve and I was the bowl, with pool tile, but pipe coping. It was fun to ride, about 9 feet deep with a few kinks. The main one kink was the spillway, from the shallow to the deep. If you hit it at speed, all of the sudden you had an up close look at the ground. We decided to get something to eat. So, Steve says, hey there are always cheap places to eat at the casinos. So, we drive around and find very little, except we find another pool, which is empty but had some water and debris in it (Guess who jumped out before I stopped to scope it out?). We head back to the park. Skate until around 10 PM under the lights, and head out, while Steve was doing the cooking, I'm driving. We had the system dialed by this point. Steve took over driving around midnight or so.

Monday August 18th 2003:

"Bang, bang, bang, bang" I hear as we're slowing down rapidly. I've just woken up, and I'm not sure what's happening. Steve says, he doesn't know what's going on. It's 3 AM and he's pulling over, because he thinks a fan belt has broken, but isn't sure. So, he pulls over. It's a beautiful night. You can see every star God has created, the milkyway, Mars, everything was out. Air was fresh and clean. Steve and I looked, and there were no broken belts. Hmmm...we were stumped. I started the motor, it sounded like it was running on 4 cylinders instead of 8. We went to bed, and decided to deal with it in the morning. Before we left on the trip, I did two things. One was spend a bunch of money to get the Persuader fixed up, to try and prevent a break down. And two, I signed up for the RV sized AAA, just incase. And so, I was on the (new) cell phone at 8 AM (and felt lucky to get a signal) with AAA, we were about 40 miles south of Klamath Falls, on hwy 139, in California. The California AAA lady didn't know where we were exactly so she forwarded my call to the Oregon folks. Who knew, and told me it would be about an hour. Then they called me back. They asked, "How many people do you have with you again?" Seven I said. Hmm...Two trucks were sent out. One truck took Steve and four kids directly to the Skatepark. And another truck took Jeremy and I and the Persuader to the repair shop.

The shop was right across the street from the Walmart, which in a previous journey, I had taken my film to this very Walmart to get developed, and they ruined a whole roll of film. I was told that they wouldn't be able to look at the Persuader for about an hour. So, Jeremy and I went to Walmart to hang out. I went to the photo dept. I had another roll of film that needed to be developed. I looked deep into their eyes, and I could see that they didn't have a clue, so I resisted the temptation, and kept my roll of film in my pocket. I figured we'd be home soon, so I'd just get it developed later. The shop tells me that the Persuader threw a rod (I was wondering why), and that it would take at least a week to get it up and running. In shock. I'm standing there not sure what to do. I guess I need to rent a van or something. After calling all the rental agencies in Klamath Falls, the best I can find is a Taurus sedan. I'm thinking, 4 kids in the back and three people in the front. Ok, if that's the best we can do, we'll have to make it work. We decided to make the best of it. I picked up the car, and hit the skatepark. Steve had skated to the Fred Myers. He purchased a shaver, and Chicken. He figured he'd have better luck hitching a ride back to the skatepark, if he was clean-shaven. So, he shaves in the bathroom. And sure enough, he catches a ride back to the skatepark. We all pile in the Taurus and go back to the Persuader, and load only the necessities for the trip home. Let's see, Skate gear, Chips and water. Yup, that's about it. We say good-bye to the Persuader, and hit the skatepark for the night session, before heading home. Klamath is a fun park. It has a variety of terrain, and we just had fun. Skating was tharuaputic for me, I was able to just skate, and not worry about anything. We skated with another Steve who owns a shop in town. Steve's daughter is a pretty good skater. And I hear Max muttering something about, having to get his backside airs higher now, that a girl can do them higher than him. After skating for a couple of hours, the sun was going down, we decided it was time to go. While we were packing up the car, there were these two guys trying to hit their buddy with a soccer ball in the butt, while he was bending over making himself a target. We were laughing so hard, because, they couldn't even hit him. I guess this is what non-skaters do for fun in Klamath Falls.

Once again, Steve and I decided to do shifts, and drive through the night. This car was a little faster than the Persuader, but boy was it tight. We couldn't even close the trunk, things were held in by a liberal use of bungee cords. As it got dark, we would get high beamed by on coming drivers. Our car was so over loaded, that our lights were aimed right up in peoples eyes (sorry about that), making people think that we were driving with our high beams on. Add to that, the cramped condition in the passenger compartment. It was basically a tough ending to a wonderful trip. But, it wasn't over.
Tuesday August 19th 2003:

At 1 AM we pulled into Aumsville which has lights. Steve was skeptical. "Those lights probably go out at 11 PM", he said. We pull up and no one's riding, and it's a full go, lights are a blazing. We pile out of the Taurus, and skate, some locals show up and ask where we all came from, since there's only one car in the parking lot. Skating Aumsville at night is a lot of fun. Nothing like having cool air to cool you off, while skating in the summer. We skated for about 2 hours. Aumsville is still one of my favorite parks, it's deep, and the concrete is perfectly smooth, and there are lots of hips to jump. We left around 3 AM and headed for home. Rolled into Renton around 7 AM. It was a pretty good trip over all. In recounting, we skated 18 different locations, in three states, in 10 days and total of 2500 miles. No one was badly hurt, and we all had lots of fun, and most of all, we skated things we'd previously only seen in magazines or on TV. It made for some great memories, just too much fun, once again.



Dan Hughes has been skating longer then just about any of us. you can find him in our forum or check out his gallery HERE.

This was originally published on I tried to keep the original formatting that Bobcat used.

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