Wednesday, May 04, 2011

American and Back: II

the pics I took of crop circles from the plane window didn't come out so here we are at Sunset Junction. great army surplus shop!

stopped in for a quick hello at Dave and Stacey's bbq. horrible views.

I hadn't seen Dax in well over a year. we picked up right where we left off with a game of "drop the slobbery ball on my foot repeatedly until I throw it".

fuck yeah!

Keg Master Eli

this was just before a fascinating discussion on monasticism took place. "I recommend it."

goodnight LA

Day 1: Los Angeles to Mingus Mountain, AZ - 410 miles

a red letter day for sure!

we ditched the highway whenever possible

towns like Hope, Salome, Yarnell and Congress were the only signs of life (sort of)

all I kept picturing was this scene

ascending the Black Hills. good thing pizza was after this stretch of road.

Nightmare on Mingus!

Day 2: Mingus Mountain, AZ to Bluewater, NM - 319 miles

leaving camp, looking back over what we drove the night before

I had been through the town of Jerome years ago on a skate trip but it definitely warranted another drive through. It's built on the side of Cleopatra Hill and its switchbacks are something to be experienced.

(as always, click to enlarge)

Sedona was just down the road

one for mom

if you had your windows down you probably heard me

farther on down the road we stopped to check out some authentic, native american indian dwellings.

"please bite my finger if these blankets are infected with small pox"

"please catch my dream of not getting small pox"

next stop, the Petrified Forest. here's the Painted Desert

the roads you have to drive to get to the different sections of the park are almost as cool as the designated attraction areas

there was a part called Newspaper Rock that had petroglyphs you could see through viewing glasses. I realize in 2011 you can find images of pretty much anything you want online but I gotta admit I had a "moment" when I focused in on some of the engravings that were made up to 2,000 years ago. I wonder if future generations will experience the same emotion when they see this.

I took about 3 million photos of the Rainbow Forest. here are a few of my faves

this whole area felt like a movie set. Star Wars+El Topo+Dune+Tremors+Quest for Fire. the petrified logs are really pretty amazing up close. I had another "moment" where I pondered how rad it would be if in another 2,000 years, more cool kids (skaters and punks) could still view places like this and appreciate their history like I did that day (honestly)

there used to be way more pieces of petrified wood all over the park but apparently way back when, workers on the Santa Fe Railroad would steal tons (literally) of pieces. here's me contemplating a federal offense

Bluewater Lake, NM. what you can't see in this picture is how insanely windy it was. no joke, it was NONSTOP gale force winds the entire night. I'm talking like a 9 on the Beaufort.

this night was the maiden voyage for my newest camping toy

woefully, I was forced to break my own "one match" rule trying to light the charcoal. it just wasn't possible with the wind.

the rocks were placed behind the grill in hopes of preventing a gust from blowing a spark and igniting the dry grass surrounding the sight. it worked...kinda.

Day 3: Bluewater, NM to Hutchinson, KS - 668 miles

woke up just in time. a full on snow squall erupted as the tent was being dismantled.

reenacting the man from my nightmare in Mingus

onward and eastward to Albuquerque (and that means skate day!!!)

I was organizing the drop off/pick up game plan a good 60 miles before we even reached the city limits. "You're cool with sitting in a Cracker Barrel parking lot 'til I get to the bottom right? If you get bored just walk in and pull up a barrel." (slight exaggeration but not really)

8:00 am, 2 hour drive, about 3.5 hours of quality sleep thanks to the relentless wind against the tent, handful of pretzels for breakfast...what better warm up spot than "the Bear"?

this was easily the scariest thing I've ever rolled in on

it feels like you're going twice as fast coming off the first wall. my eyes were watering trying to spot any rocks on the face wall or the flat that might send me flying. thank god I opted for the cruiser set up at the last minute before I left philly.

the bear keeps going on a slight downhill grade (as they all do in ABQ) but I had nothing to offer there besides a few carves so after a few runs it was off to the next spot. there's a lot of footage of this spot online. seeing dudes rolling in on it in '76 on homemade boards made me feel like a pussy. local legend says when Alva was in town during his heyday, he stood on top but wouldn't roll in.

the last time I was out here I only got to skate Indian School but after a little pre-trip, online sleuthing I got in touch with K-Lee who hooked me up with all the info I needed to find and enjoy some of Albuquerque's finest ditches. thanks again K-Lee. next up was Harper's.

again, I took a lot of pics at these spots but at the end of the day it's just a picture of a drainage ditch. if you're a skater you should really try to get to ABQ at some point to hit some of their ditches. they are truly incredible.

lots of fun pop-in/pop-out spots

Indian School bro (from the top this time!)

just step on your board and you can cover over 2 miles without a single push (much more if you don't get picked up at Juan Tabo). I'd be lying if I said it didn't make it a little harder to get stoked on some of our local ditches.

back on the road and continuing eastward with only the essentials

drove through Logan, NM again which meant cookies at Subway and Ute Lake! then through the very northwest corners of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

hmmm...any suggestions Bill? Cameron? girl Chris thought was hot in college?

all we could do was prepare ourselves as best as we could

we sat it out for 20 minutes then continued on.

all I kept thinking of

oops, the old west connection definitely warranted the sepia setting

we drove until well after dark. towns were few and far between on this stretch but the monolithic, silhouetted grain silos on the horizon would call out the pockets of civilization a few miles before we sped through them. the weather turned and forced us indoors for the evening. couldn't wait to break my fast continentally!

Day 4: Hutchinson, KS to Evansville, IN - 637 miles

this day was pocked by off and on rain so just putting some miles behind us was the only real game plan. we were set to cross the Missouri River which i've kinda been fascinated with ever since I first heard of Louis and Clark. if i find myself in the vicinity of a location that was significant to their expedition, I'll make it a point to stop and check it out. needless to say I wanted to cross the mighty river on my preferred mode of transportation.

visions of manifest density

trying to get to the arch in pouring rain at rush!

made it!

once last look since I don't see myself returning to Old Missou anytime in the near future

"see where it says Rib Tips? well fuck that you don't wanna go that way anyway?"

Day 5: Evansville, IN to Weston, WV - 500 miles

finally woke up to blue skies. reminded me of the trips we took to "the Big Lake" in college

apparently my film camera shit the bed somewhere back in Kansas so this is the only pic to give you some idea of the flooding. notice how the road is continued on the other side. this is pretty much how the roads looked for the first hour or so of the morning

took the scenic route the whole way to Louisville.

I've been to the Louisville park a few times already but never when it was this empty. the 3 bikers left before i even got on my board and then it was just a hippy, some fall out boy looking kid and me.

Bourbon Country

made a wrong turn outside Charleston, WV and ended up taking "the back way" to get back to the highway. none of my LOMO shots made it and this phone pic really doesn't do it justice but Route 60 through Fayette and Kanawha Counties proved to be one of my favorite stretches of road the entire trip.

Day 6: Weston, WV to Philadelphia, PA - 382 miles

woke up at Stonewall Jackson (or as Andy would've called it, Samuel L. Jackson) State Park. (That Gettysburg trip was quite memorable as well)

the last supper

and here are just a couple pics from last weekend. Aaron was in town from Myrtle Beach, great session at Kings! It's not a picture unless Andy is mid shaka.

I, for one, welcome the resurrection

lastly, hate to end on a bummer but, Rye,...


Dormi bene. You will be missed.