Don't Mess With Texas or New MexicoŅor Arizonaor California!
When writing a trip story, itŒs so easy to offer a day-to-day account of what happened, like, Day 1. We went here, we went there,Ӕ but that can become very boring for the reader. So I've just
decided to write one big, never-ending good time. I'll cover some key stops along the way and let you in on some good spots just to keep things brief and not so mind-numbing.
Honestly, there was never any real, solid plan starting out, but plans never end-up being fun anyway, and if things had gone as previously planned, I would be writing about Mexico. That never happened. Instead, we hung-out in Austin for a week. You would think Austin would be one of the coolest places to be for a week, now wouldn't you? Hanging with the likes of Taj Mihelich, Joe Rich and Sandy Carson, plus Ryan Corrigan, and Kevin Porter were in town, as well as a crapload of other local and visiting riders.
The one thing we didnt count on was some of the worst weather Austin's ever had. It rained for five days straight and actually snowed one evening, Yes, snow! We did get some indoor riding done at some local parks and a couple of hours on the T1 ramp one day. Taj and Joe are so good on this ramp, they have to be seen to be believed. That was about it as far as riding goes.
A somewhat loose plan was formulated, so Joe Rich, Sandy Carson and a good friend from the East Coast, Jay Lonegron, and myself headed out in the direction of California. First, we headed-up to Abilene, Texas, where they have a really nice, bike-friendly concrete park. Joe didnҒt mess around, jumping straight into the session, killing the spine and every hip in sight and showing no sign of ever having an injury. Keep in mind that Joe has only been back on his bike for short while. Sandy wasnt really feeling up to riding, so he sat this one out and shot photos. Due to his trail background, Jay-Bone shredded the bowl corners and treated the park like a BMX racetrack.
We drove that evening to New Mexico. The Albuquerque park was the destination of choice, so we stopped for the night and had a full day planned for the next day. First on the agenda was the park so we could avoid the crowds before they got out of school. Joe again destroyed the place.
The bowls there didnҒt stand a chance, and Sandy wasnt too shabby himself, either. Jay-Bone hauled ass around the place once again and enjoyed jumping the big nipple thing in the middle.
We also went to an awesome school in town with some really fun banks and rails. Both Sandy and Joe shot plenty of pictures here. The evening wrapped-up with three of us bombing down an awesome riverbed, carving back and forth all the way down. It took about ten minutes to get to the bottom, and by the time we did, everyone was beat. Sandy sessioned the bottom section, which featured some Jersey barriers, doing fufҒs and tailwhip footplants.
We stayed in Albuquerque for the evening, cruising around looking for empty pools for hours. Some kids had told us about an L-shaped Olympic-size pool nearby, so that was our destination for the next day. After we awoke and grabbed some food, we headed for the pool. Joe taught
that place a lesson once again, ice picking the deep end, airing the deep end and carving all over the place. Sandy rode some, but couldnt pass the opportunity to take some pics. Jay carved the pool high and fast--lots of fun!
Some calls were made and it was arranged that fellow etnies rider Adam Baker would meet us at the Flagstaff, Arizona park. This is kinda his local concrete park, even though he lives an hour away in Prescott. This park is not bike-friendly at all, and we had heard of some pretty gnarly horror stories about the local cops being d-cks to riders, so we were sort of hesitant
to jump the fence. We went for it anyway. Adam rolled-up about forty-five minutes after we got there and wasted no time letting everyone know how to ride the place. There were even some cool skaters who were down with us being in there (or at least thatҒs how they acted).
Joe blasted some Euro-style one-footers over this one hip in the three leaf clover bowl and blasted airs out of the deep end. Sandy finds some of the best lines in any park he goes to and always makes it look like hes a local. The same goes for Lonegren. He found some fun, fast lines in that place as well. From there, we headed up to Sedona, a small town in the mountains of Arizona that we heard has an awesome new park. Adam said that he had ridden there when they were building it, when there werenҒt even decks
on any of the bowls. He said it was amazing! But to our dismay, it was fenced, closed, no one was riding / skating or anything, and to top it off, there were huge NO TRESPASSING signs hanging around.
We would have just jumped the fence and rode if it werent for the No Trespassing signs, because a guy who was working at the youth center next to the park would have actually been pretty cool about bikes if the park had been open, but there was nothing he could do to let us ride. Off to the coffee shop we went to watch a beautiful Sedona sunset over the mountains. After chilling for a while, we took off to Phoenix to hit-up Free Ride, a BMX-only park. This place seems amazing to me, just because itҒs such a strange concept. Were soooo used to seeing skateboard-only parks. Hopefully things will work
out for Free Ride. Kelly Kendal runs the place, and you couldnҒt find a nicer guy. He hooked-up all of us on the trip and let us ride for free and gave out free T-shirts to some of us. In exchange, Joe traded the shirt off his back.
The park is wooden with a killer, fun, flowing layout and lots of good lines that Sandy, Joe, Adam and Jay-Bone made short work of. The sesh riding with the locals lasted into the late hours of the evening. We stayed in Phoenix for the night to hang with some locals the next day. They took us to an under-renovation water park that was more fun than you can imagine. Youll be seeing pictures of this place, for sure.
ThereҒs a monster wall ride there that, from what I understand, EVERYONE is talking about doing, but up until now no one has done. Maybe someone will make it, but its definitely a "do or die" situation.
We also rode some small full pipes pretty close to the water park, which the locals had wired. They were blasting! We also went to another skatepark. When we rolled-up, it was packed. Mark Gonzales, the skateboarder, was there (I
have to mention that he owns a BMX bike that he got from Rooftop). Sandy was in awe and took some snaps of him skating. Joe and some locals made a BҖline for the bowls. Adam casually rolled toward the bowl and, out of nowhere, came this little fifteen year-old girl, who walked up to him and asked, Excuse me, can you do me a favor?Ӕ Adam replied, Sure.Ӕ The girl, without hesitation said, Would you mind getting the f**k out of my park?Ӕ
Adam, as well as the rest of us, were blown away. Etnies rider KC Badger just let her have it. Go back to playing with your Barbies!Ӕ You cant even skate!Ҕ (which she couldnt.) Throw a few
more swear words in there and you get the picture. It ended-up with her calling the cops and getting us kicked out. It was funny seeing the cops faces not knowing what to do when Sandy and Joe pulled out their skateboards. What could they do? Nothing. The little girl thought she had the last word, but KC laid into her again for the last few minutes. Then we left her so she could try to impress the little boys she was hanging around with. We then headed for California.
The only thing we had planned for this day was a visit to the Salton Sea. This place used to consist of vast salt flats that were flooded by the Colorado River, forming a huge body of water. At one time, it was a thriving vacation spot that brought in people by the thousands year after year. Since the lake became contaminated with chemicals and salt over the decades,
however, the area has turned into a run-down hell hole in the middle of nowhere. Now the place looks like a ghost town with abandoned houses, hotels, boat clubs and pools.
Guess what we were here for? Yep, the pools. Sandy had been dreaming of this place for a long time. Even though it initially appears to be a crap hole, itҒs a photographers dream. We found a couple of
pools that were good to ride, but we spent most of our time at this one pool that Joe, Sandy and Jay enjoyed. It was hard to do airs in for everyone other than Joe, who was getting a good six feet. Everyone else was stoked to just get over coping.
After that, we spent the remainder of the day taking pictures of the desolation. Theres a beach there that has been abandoned, not to mention cars and houses that look like they are melting into the ground, being eaten away by the salt. ItҒs amazing to see (check the pictures). The evening was spent driving back to Los Angeles, where Joe and Sandy flew out the next day. We did drive by the Borrego Springs park, but it was raining, preventing us from jumping another fence.