Nick calls me – I miss the call. I call him back a few minutes later. We chat for a bit about Nick’s summer in VA and plans for the winter. He mentions that he’s going to drive from Virginia to Lake Tahoe in a couple of weeks and stay there for the winter. Nick mentions that he’s done the drive many times, but never solo.
Interest peaked – I mention that I’d be down, I just have to clear it with Colleen (my wife) and find an affordable one-way ticket back home.
We go on to discuss route options hitting skate parks along the way.
Nick sounds psyched, but I think that he’s maybe not convinced that I’m serious. We agree to chat tomorrow and discuss again after I’ve searched for my return ticket and talked with Colleen.
October 10th I approach Colleen mid-morning while she’s working on her school work and after she’s had a cup of coffee. I said, “hey babe, my buddy Nick is going to drive across country in a week or so and I was thinking about going with him, uhh. What do you think?” Not my best sales pitch ever, but she replied. “sounds fun, do it.” And she returned her focus to her school work. That was way easier that I thought…
Hurdle one clear, now on to the return flight. I searched for tickets from Reno, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Denver. It was not looking good price wise – the best deals that I could find were all crazy long layovers (16 hrs+). Things were not looking good and I was beginning to mentally bail on the trip.
We connect on the phone to discuss the plan in a little more detail.
I tell Nick that I’m having trouble finding a reasonable ticket home, he asks if I looked at the Salt Lake Airport. I had not. I pull it up while we are talking. $89 bucks on JetBlue awesome – oh wait, 22hrs and a half a day layover in LA – NO THANKS! Wait, $110.00 redeye on the 23rd with one connection in Boston (just a 2hr layover) – SOLD (I spend the extra $50 for the exit row seat for the first leg of the flight – I’m tall, regular coach is brutal on my knees for long flights).
With that out of the way we go on to discuss other trip logistics.
I mention that I have a friend in Denver that we can probably stay with. I naively say that we won’t need to get a hotel as we can just rotate driving – I could tell from the way that Nick said “sure” that this was a bad plan, but he didn’t refute it.
We agree that Nick will spend Tuesday night at my place and then we’ll take off first thing Wednesday morning. Nick walks through the timeline and figures that we’ll have plenty of time to skate when we get to the Rockies. We also plan on hitting a hot spring on the way to Salt Lake – Nick knew of it as fellow teammate Jason Anderson and some friends hit it last year and posted some cool pictures.
I’m noticing that Nick is very organized and a good trip planner, I’m just shaking my head and saying yes, thinking that the only thing that I can really plan on at this point is being in Salt Lake in time for my return flight. My lack of planning will come to bite us in the butt later on, when we miss an opportunity to go to some cool hot springs because they are 300 miles off course...
Tuesday the 18th
Text from Nick – “Hey man, I want to spend a little more time with my family, so I’ll just come up tomorrow morning.” I reply, “sounds like a plan.” Nick replies, “Cool, I’ll leave my place around 9:00 AM.”
Wednesday the 19th
11:00 AM I call Nick, no answer. NBD, guess I’ll have time to mow the lawn before we take off. I finish the yard work and check my phone around 12:30, still nothing, strange. Shoot him a text… 12:45 Nick calls, I can hear stress in his voice, “hey man, sorry, err, went to leave this morning and I couldn’t find the registration for the car. I didn’t really sleep well last night. Trying to print the registration from the internet now….” I tell him, “no worries, don’t stress it. We’ll surely need the registration as I have a propensity to attracting speeding tickets.” He says that he’ll text me when he’s on the way.
3:00PM Text from Nick – “I’m 30min out” Perfect, got the yard work done and I’ll have some time to clean up before he arrives.
3:30PM Nick arrives at my house in PA. I introduce him to Colleen and our husky Rayna. We shoot the shit for about a half an hour and then realize that we’ve got a lot of miles ahead so we set sail.
4:00PM It begins:
I won't attempt to give you the rest of the play by play. I'll just mention some highlights and suggest that you watch the video that I stitched together below.
1) Motel rooms are GROSS - we stayed in one for a few hours in Terre Haute, IN. I slept for about ten minutes (as soon as my head hit the pillow). It was tortured sleep as I had the creepiest most vivid psychedelic nightmare ever... Tossed and turned for the next five hours.
2) Kansas is a long drive. I made it even longer by getting a $190.00 speeding ticket.
3) Colarado is for skaters - skated some of the best skateparks of my life. Plus they have more skateparks than you could likely skate in a year.
4) People in Colorado are really nice. We were proactively welcomed by the locals at all of the skateparks. Maybe I've just been spending too much time on the east coast, but I've not experienced so many strangers who go out of their way to say hello and seem genuinely nice.
5) Thanks to Davis Miller. Davis, my long time friend took both Nick and me into his house with only a couple of days notice. He drove us around to Denver area skateparks, vegan restaurants and even to visit other friends. Hands down the best AirB&B/Uberdriver in the world - JK. Davis also donated the pair of Bryan Iguchi Union Bindings that we're giving away.
6) Nick is an awesome skateboarder (see video below) and an intellectual.
Nick is a skilled conversationalist, while I like a good conversation (I happen to host a podcast), I naturally lean more on towards being introverted . Within the first couple of hours the conversation was flowing and the miles were passing quickly. Nick shoulders an authenticity that would put anyone at ease in a discussion with him– he’s not just a good talker, he listens and asks insightful questions.
After talking for nearly 9 hours straight. I told Nick that we likely just had the longest conversaion of my life. He laughed and said that he's had several conversations start in the afternoon, go all night and into the following day!
Also, he's super professional when skating and filming - I think in part due to all of the work that he does with his POV GoPro edits. When filming with Nick, he's not just there to do the trick, he's envisioning the final product (hope I was able to do some justice to your vision in the edit- below). Nick, I had a blast. Thank you for letting me tag along and test the top speed of the Impalla.
7) Jet Blue lost my skateboard. "Don't worry, it'd be impossible for us to lose it - please check it to make room as we have a full flight."
Got it back via FedEx four days later! I was stressing about losing my trucks (they have the perfect bushing set-up - it's irreplaceable) and my bearings (as they were Swiss Ceramics).