Its funny how things happen. As I dropped Ruben Alcantara off at the airport after the last Backyard Jam in Coventry at the beginning of August, he suggested that we put together a rode trip from the Vancouver Metro Jam back down to Los Angeles. When he said "we", he actually meant me, mind you, but I donҒt care. A few calls were made, some flights re-arranged and the trip was on. The crew consisted of basically the T1 World Tour crew--Joe Rich, Garrett Byrnes and Ruben Alcantara minus Nate Wessel--with the addition of S&M Bikes / etnies shredder Adam Baker.
The only stipulation was that we had to have Adam back to Los Angeles on September 8 to fly out to the Gravity Games in Cleveland. This gave us about seven solid days to hit as many spots as we could, with sufficient time at each for Jeff Zielinski to click photos for a Ride BMX article and also for us to shoot some video.
With the Metro Jam all wrapped-up in Vancouver, it was time to hit the road. As the crew assembled, we all decided it would be a good idea to hit some of the parks around Vancouver. Seeing as how they had all recently been swamped with guys in town for the comp, we couldnt have picked a better time. The Hastings Park is basically one huge snake-like bowl starting at around four feet deep, going on down and around to about eleven feet deep. There is also a small street course of sorts that actually is pretty fun.
All the guys had no problem shredding this place--especially Garrett, with hyper fast lines around the whole bowl and blasting huge airs all over the place. Ruben taught that place a lesson, too, despite the airline losing his bike and having to ride a new one he had just put together the day before. Smoooooooth, pretty much sums it up.
Joe was blasting huge airs on this one quarterpipe part of the bowl with big tables and clicked turn downs. He was also destroying the hip, airing it both ways with ease. The rookie on the trip, Adam Baker, was aiming to please and didnҒt disappoint. After only the first day of riding with some of the biggest names in the sport, Adam definitely made his mark, tailwhipping over the hip both ways--one way regular, the other downside. Jeff Zeilinski had a field day shooting him. During the later part of the day, we headed over to Seylynn, where there is not really a park, but just a huge old-school '70s snake run. We heard stories of some of the locals and some other super-pros from the area killing this thing. It has a super-steep downhill run into an open round bowl at the end.
Sandy Carson was in town from the Metro Jam (he stayed up in Vancouver this past summer filming for the Federal video) so he kinda had this place down--he was hauling ass! It was a pretty chill session for all the guys. Joe did get a little squirrelly one time and took it to the shoulder in the deep end when his hand popped off.
Tuesday night, we drove down to Seattle and met-up with Sandy Carson again and rode a small concrete skatepark in the city that apparently wasnt too bike-friendly, but we had no hassles. Joe killed the wild shaped bowl there with Sandy. I think the rest of the guys were pretty whooped from a full day of riding and driving.
So, we chilled in Seattle for the evening, woke up the next day and headed out to some trails that you have to catch a ferry to get to (I could tell you the location, but then I would have to kill you--you know how it is.) The trails are in a super-nice, shaded, wooded area that is quite pleasant--considering how freaking hot it was. Ruben and Joe rode for a bit, but they werenҒt feeling it. Joe nearly slammed a couple of times, so he decided to sit this one out. Today belonged to Adam Baker--trails are his thing, you know. He taught this place a lesson, even though he had never been here before. The whole place was set up on a hill in the woods and Baker was fully shredding this one set of doubles that I honestly would be stoked to just clear. To top it off, the set was on quite a downhill grade. He was whipping it, 360ing it and three-whipping it with ease. Once again, J.Z. had a field day shooting Adam, and the locals shredded this place. The trail session pretty much consumed the whole day, what with just getting there and then driving down to Portland in the evening.
Everyone woke up pretty early the next day and headed down to some trails in Salem. Once again, this place was in the woods, but for some reason, it seemed way more humid than the day before. Once again, Baker was in training for the upcoming Gravity Games. He loved this place and it showed. All of the usual: trucks, whips and big turndowns. Joe, Garrett and Ruben seemed to have a
good time here, as well. Etnies / Fit Bikes rider Justin Inman showed-up and impressed everyone with his awesome, smooth, flowing style and snappy tables. Everyone had a really had good time, the locals were super-cool and the trails ruled.
J.Z. got shut down on taking pictures by the trail boss due to some other previous photographers abusing their picture-taking privileges. On our drive down to Southern Oregon, we went and checked out a park in Aumsville at about 11:00 p.m. We heard that if you show up late enough, it is sometimes possible to get a session in there. We also heard some crazy stories about local skaters wielding shovels to scare the crap out of bikers to keep them out. We showed-up and there was a session in full swing, which didnt look like it was going to be slowing down any time soon. This park looked soooooo good. We checked it out for a while then bailed and headed to Grant's Pass.
We got up bright and early (well, early for these guys) and headed to the Grant's Pass skatepark, which is actually a bikes-allowed park--something not too many bikers get to experience. This allowed the guys to have a chill session. It was pretty hot today and this park isnҒt in the shade. Joe shot some pocket airs with J.Z. in the deepest bowl. Ruben flowed smooth lines around the whole park. Same with Garrett, even though he bowed out early in search of some shade. Adam was right there with him. Since he had been killing it the whole time, it was cool he took a day off.
We then headed to Ashland, once again another bike-friendly park. Adam and Garrett woke-up enough to shred this place. Joe went to work here also, and Ruben was just Ruben. After feeding, we headed to Talent, since it was getting pretty late. Talent looks like it was pretty much one of the first concrete parks built up in Oregon--a little rough around the edges, so to speak, but definitely fun for all the guys. Everyone made easy work of everything there, and we rode till the sun went down.
The evening was spent driving through the Red Woods of Oregon. Even though we really couldn't see too much, we could feel the enormousness of the trees. The winding roads consume you and wont allow you to fall asleep at the wheel. We were heading for Brookings on the coast at the Southern most point of Oregon--almost on the border of California. We had all seen pictures on the internet and in magazines of a park featuring a bowl there with
a jump over it, which just seemed to be screaming for a biker to come and conquer it. We rolled in around midnight, and Joe, Garrett and I went and found the park to save time in the morning. The plan was to wake up about 6:00 a.m., get over there, get the job done, then head out.
The only problem was, being on the coast, it was really foggy when we woke up and everything was wet. We figured we would wait an hour then check it out again. Same thing--wet! Repeat every hour until nearly 11:00 a.m. We thought for sure that skaters would be there by then, but much to our surprise, there was not a soul around. It was on. Just as we pulled our bikes out of the van, a sheriff rolled-up. Like so many times before, we assumed that we were going to get shut down before we even started. To our surprise, the sheriff just wanted to know if we were with some guys called the Crank Crew. We all looked at each other a little bewildered and responded, ғSorry, no. Then he just headed out, wishing us a good day.
IT WAS ON. The sheriff even came back later to watch the guys ride and shoot the breeze. Both Ruben and Garrett rolled straight in and jumped the bowl. ItԒs pretty easy, they both concluded. Garrett was going high over it and doing big turndowns. Ruben was having issues with himself for not being able to bring himself to whip it. Once again, Baker was killing it with opposite 360 lookbacks over it, regular threes and three-whips to shut the session down. J.Z.s shutter finger was pretty happy the whole time.
Sacramento was the final destination of the West Coast destruction tour. Once again, we didnҒt get into town 'til late. We woke up Earl and hooked-up with the Solid guys and sessioned an abandoned pool.
This sesh went off! Joe killed it, airing the crap out of this pool, which honestly shouldnt have been airable. Ruben had some original lines, making riding look easy, as he always does. For once, Baker looked like he might be having trouble riding a spot. Garrett shredded some really good lines. Once the pool session was over, we headed over to a man-made concrete quarterpipe that the Solid guys had built a few months back. Ruben rode this more than the rest of the guys. It looked like he was having a good time doing tabled nose wheelies to airs.
For the final stop before we headed down to LA, the Solid guys took us to some local trails, which put a smile on Baker's face. There were jumps as far as the eye could see, and when we showed up, X Games Gold medalist Brandon Meadows was shredding, so all the guys knew they had to make some kind of an impression, and they did exactly that--jumping everything from the small stuff all the way up to the biggest sets there. It was definitely a session to end all sessions and a great final day to the trip down from Vancouver. The drive on down to LA was a very sleepy one, except this one thing that did happen--but thatҒs another story in itself.