Skirting a path that practically traced the US/Mexico border, the van and all her precious cargo were fully committed to sending it westward. Behind us we were leaving the gold mine that is California and all of our homies and shredventures that we had experienced during our time there but our horizon was bright with many promises of epic sessions soon to come. As the glare from on coming head lights beamed in through the windshield and the clock ticked later and later into the night, the universal question from all the passengers was the same, “How long until we get to Santa Fe?”.
The first official destination we had planned was to meet up with community cornerstone and skateboarding legend Joe Lehm at his Skate School located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With the only distractions along the way being an overnight rest break followed by a good morning skate at a local park in Sedona AZ, we arrived at Skate School ready to get after it at Joe’s indoor skate park facility. After getting our fix on top our wheelie boards, lines were cast out to some of our local homies down in the neighboring city of Albuquerque to solidify plans pertaining to hanging out with some dirty ditches over the next couple of days of our trip.
There are many drainage canals and spillways throughout the world but nowhere on earth is there such a heavy concentration of pipeline perfection as it pertains to skateboarding as there is in Albuquerque. Our crew spent two days sessioning endless offerings of wall rides and slappy blocks as we pumped our way down various ditch walls. We had a set of the most radical local guides taking care of us as they made sure we were always safe as they took us to some iconic spots that they are lucky enough to call their back yard. We spent our only evening in town hosting a BBQ at Haven Skate Shop before we hoped across Central Ave for a UNM campus crushing session. After two great days of epic ditch skating we said our good byes the best way possible, over some Blake’s Lotta Burger. The #BustinFam hoped back in the “Futon Fortress” ready to go get hella chilly with Willie down in good ole Texas.
The old saying is true, everything is actually bigger in Texas which became apparent as we drove across an endless expanse of epic proportions in route to San Antonio. We arrived at Insanity Board Shop where we were met by the local crew who was ready to unveil their gems for our skating pleasure. We were not disappointed as we were able to kick out a few powerslides on a local classic before poaching runs on an adjacent golf course. We closed out our time out at The Alamo with pizza peace offerings shared with our new homies as we refueled for the quick hop up to Austin and our adventures with our next host’s, the Texas Baked Crew.
We instantly found Willie at the Baked House the moment we walked into the mid-session backyard ramp jam that was pushing the time limit on the town noise ordinance to get in last runs. For all of the next day, an epic mini ramp complete with multiple extensions as well as an oversized Willie Nelson mural in the flat became our home base as we lurked and recovered from nearly two previous weeks straight of skating and driving. Our hosts made it possible for us to eat tacos three times a day in between push missions to spill way spots that unfortunately ended up being soaked beyond salvage. As a consultation of sorts to missing out on these spots, we were able to make it out to the Bomb for Booze hosted by Josh Davis which is a rad annual race through the streets of Austin. Bill Rice ended up taking home the win and with it the prize bottle of booze. In a true community committed fashion, Will ended up sharing all his victory grog with the over aged crew members present until the last drop was gone.
The next day had us rising with the sun again as we had an appointment with a hill that was playing host to the sixth annual Wham Bam Slide Jam deep in the cut of Texas ranch country. We spent the better part of the day getting super slideways with a crew of Lone Star locals who knew how to keep the fun flowing and stoke levels high. As Wham Bam began to wrap up, the Bustin Crew rallied up and said our good byes before charging straight to Carve Skate Shop in Houston to squad up for a scheduled Team NoBull garage session that night. Looking back on it, this was perhaps one of the most epic days we experienced on the road as we spent all day destroying wheels and all night bombing man made hills.
We wrapped up our garage barging in the wee hours of the following morning giving us a great excuse to snag a few extra hours of sleep before beginning to explore the other shreddables Houston had to offer. We were taken a secret surf spot whose steel full pipe allowed for some serious slottage time for all who survived the drop in. After getting our fill of stand up barrels, we paddled to a few more well known ditch DIY spots found within the city limits before making it to Spring Skate Park, the largest public park in the country. Houston had treated us well but all good things must come to an end to as we reached our allotted time for this stop forcing us to chase Will out of the park and back into the van. It was time to get back on the road continuing eastward toward our next stop of New Orleans.
None of us had ever stepped foot in the metropolis of New Orleans but it was one stop that had each of us eager to experience for our own personal reasons. After spending the morning pushing through the French Quarter, we entered full blown tourist mode and toured all the outdoor markets and side streets lined with illuminated neon signs that adorned the traditional southern colonial architecture. These intricate buildings were only rivaled in beauty by the infrastructure found at the Parasite DIY skate park that we were fortunate enough to get a quick session at before the darkness forced us to retire for the night.
When the van began the trek out of the Bayou the only real destination left on the trip was Orlando where Will would be hoping out of the van straight onto a flight headed to Columbia. As we continued east we were ahead of schedule enough to allow us to stop at a crusty little DIY originally built a few years back by Will and a couple other local homies in Tallahassee, FL. With this serving as the Farewell Session of sorts, we each got our tricks out before beginning the methodical re-packing of the van necessary to get back on the road. It had been nearly three weeks and almost three thousand miles with each one holding its own unique aspect that we were fortunate enough to have experienced together. We were just a group of skateboarders looking to get rad and get connected with other like minded skate rats which is exactly what we were able to do. Seeing such a wide variety of terrain as we made our way back home brought a great sense of clarity to the reason why we encourage such diversity of riding styles because if you actually Skate Everything, then you are truly free to go anywhere.
Joe Lehm, James West, James Tracey, Sean Stratmeyer, Sebastian Jackson, Sam Clark, Ross Porter, Emilia Goldfarb, Ehren Mohammadi, Jargh Hammons, Ted Skiles, Eric Roiz, James Mufasa Jones, Greg Noble for linking us up with everybody in Texas, Scotty at Carve, DeeJay Damen, and Mr. and Mrs. Kienzle.