So much gnar, so little talent for literary expression. But I'll try... (pics have been added!)
Day 1 - Thursday - Skidzilla drove the entire way and I slept half of the 4 hour trip. The only way to travel! In Chicago, we hit locked in traffic on the "expressway" so we exited (after 30 minutes to go 2 miles and $3.15 worth of toll).
Chicago Traffic SUCKS!
It worked out perfect as Paul & Dana rolled up a mere 2 minutes after us at Wilson Ave. Skatepark. Skidz and OMP were stoked with the park, as I was last year. I knew they'd love it. I forgot 2 things, a push broom and my gnar. I had some good runs in the flow but couldn't keep any speed in the bowl. They were smokin' the bowl (no, that's not what I meant) and held their own with the locals. We tried but Skid and I could not swell the berries enough to roll in on the no bump coping. It wasn't the coping, it was the steep and deep. I got great footage and someone even recognized us from a roadtrip they took to Louisville back in April! Concretins ARE famous! (I think it was the big black boom box though.) I don't remember the locals names... Dave talked to them more. Post 'em up Skidz!
OMP can fly!
Skidzilla ain't skeered of no concrete coping!
Shootin' from above.
Almost 5 hours had gone by fast and we still hadn't eaten since Lunch in Indy. I was starving and agreed to try Thai food for the first time ever. Beef, jalpenos, and rice... meat and spice... goooood. It's hard to mess that up. Later, Dave was told we were in one of the rougher neighborhoods of the area. Didn't seem nearly as bad as others I ventured into on Friday. The drive "home" to Hobart was bit sketchy, only because I drove a BFV, that didn't belong to me, in Nascar traffic. Paul was trailing and made some blocking moves that helped tremendously. No new scratches on the van and only minor 'crete rash on the 'cretins. Roadtrips will certainly teach you that Gnar really STINKS.
Day 2 - Friday - Lazy wake up and then breakfast at the Hobart Parkview restaurant. Dave found my phone that I feared got warshed with pads, keeping my wig out neurosis tendencies at bay. We took surface streets to Whiting, Indiana, only taking a few detours (we were NOT lost) as the maps just weren't detailed enough, but we found the park no problem. We roll in hoping for super fun round wall and speed lines. Nope. AGAIN I forgot to get a broom (so did they) so we couldn't take full advantage of the deep end due to muck and puddles. The snow brush on the ice scraper just doesn't do enough. We certainly carved as much as we could. The deep end was BIG, smooth and fast. Now, not to whine, but the "Hole" bowl was lumpy, had stupid scary coping, and had a piss-poor design. The oververt pockets were kinked right in the middle. But Skidz and OMP powered right over or up and around them. GNAR. I never ventured higher than necessary for a decent pump. Puss. We were still feeling the drain from Wilson Avenue, but Dave stepped up. He took lots of test runs, but then charged the hole... his vagina flared and he bailed. But that initial first try was done. The 3rd or 4th try was so close that he simply stated "I'm gettin' this" with tenacity that conveyed it was a done deal. I figured 2 more runs and he'd have it. But alas, it just didn't happen. If there had been more than 2 feet of flat before some stupid hip waterfall thing, the fear of the bail would have been microscopic, allowing for larger cajones. Sorry Whiting. You have a HALF decent park. Not sure we'll be back.
Smooth but grimey - take a broom with ya bright boy!
'Cretins and the butt of the Whiting Skatepark.
We roll south to Crown Point and their small ramp park. Of course we like 'crete better, but these ramps were built perfectly with 2x6 framework and cross bracing, 2 layers of 1/2" ply, and top layer of SkateLite. Rippage was easy, there were no bumps and the coping was set right. Though a bit mellow, the mini spine was SO much fun. Lots of groms on fruitboots were slightly irritating, but when aren't they? Two stand out locals were Bryar(sp?) and Matt. Nothing like a 15 year old handing you your lunch and shredding better than you now and better than when you were their age - when they were NEWBORNS! Buggers. All the kids were friendly and we got THE question - "Are you guys sponsored or something?" Thanks Bry, that made our day! Keep huckin' those frontside 360s and you'll get 'em. (You probably already have by now.) Dave hit many a 50-50 and Paul was SKYING bs airs on the 6 foot super smooth mini. We got a fun unplanned doubles run on the spine as well. Nothing fancy, just fun. Of course we couldn't duplicate it with the cam rolling. At the very end of our session - the ladies were waiting on us at home - we started attempting a 4 foot ramp to mini gap. I was able to set the wheels down over and over but never able to roll away. We left it undone. Dammit!
Home to Hobart. The ladies endured a few gnar and gnarless stories with the love that makes such roadtrips possible. Thanks Babes! Mr. and Mrs. Skidzilla ditched us at this point to hook up with an old college bud in Chicago, and go shopping for "Swedish disposable furniture." He talked of hitting Wilson, but he dint. Mr. and Mrs. OMP headed to the malls of Valpo. And my woman and I headed to a BON JOVI CONCERT! Yea, that's right. And we loved it! Say somethin' punk! We all laughed about the kid at Crown Point that said, "Oh yeah, my parents are going to that." So we're old. Tell us something we don't know! I did not "keep the faith" and pissed and moaned about the rain as we were on the field of Soldier Field (no roof), but realizing that I was upsetting the wife, I apologized, shut up, and the rain immediately went away. Allowing for uninterrupted enjoyment of the show. THREE encores even. Nickelback was a good opening show as well.
Have A Nice Day!
Bon Jovi ROCKS! Shuddup Punk!
Thank you to the pedestrian off duty cop that stopped garage traffic to let us out of our $35 parking spot - we were able to let him out 15 spots away. Cool. We avoided the deadlock prone Chicago highways and headed south on Halsted. Don't do that. Ever. Sorry folks, I was nervous and it only got worse the further we went. We were so far in that it didn't matter which direction we went, the neighborhoods weren't gettin' any cleaner or safer. Ladies, get a real job, that doesn't involve street corners, and Guys, learn to fuggin' drive on your own neighborhood streets, and don't walk in front of a cars going 35 mph, particularly with a kid in your arms dumbass, and just simply mow your lawn, and maybe THEN I won't bad mouth southside Chicago. Until then... it sucks. Period. FINALLY we hit 80-94 and got the hell out. We ended up exiting just in time near Gary to avoid yet ANOTHER blockage - at 12AM! I think will never live in "The Region." Sorry Alice. Buy THE lottery ticket and we'll talk.
Day 3 - Saturday - another lazy morning and Alice cooked breakfast - she rocks. OMP and I hit Crown Point again for a fun session, but got shut out for an hour as the park doesn't open 'til noon. How dumb. But that's the only bad mark they get. It costs $1 to skate all day. How cool. (Trust me, it's worth diggin' in the couch for 4 quarters. I would have given them $5.) The groms showed up again and were stoked to see someone so stoked on their park. We talked to Malcolm, local staff member, about Louisville and a few other new parks in the region we'll have to hit next year. But sorry dude, Crown Point is much more fun than Whiting! I STILL left the ollie gap unfinished. Same shit, different day. Grrrrrr.... Paul had a good line grinding the street quarter into the 6' mini. Another fun session.
Well done Crown Point.
We grabbed the ladies and headed south and decided to forego Greencastle as it was so far out of the way and we got a late start home. We chose Bloomington instead as the ladies could go shopping in Nashville, IN - a cute lil' artsy fartsy town - except they rolled up the sidewalks at 8:00, an hour before we met them due to our over stating our gnarlessness and thinking we wouldn't skate the bowl very long. We actually watched just as much as we skated but we still stayed too long. Gabe and a few other 30-something locals were tearing down the pool coping and hips. Man that's fun to watch! Paul learned the balance of harsh slickness that is pool coping and started shredding 50-50s. GNAR! I got fast roll-ins in the mini capsule to 50-50s on the swell, to speed runs in the bowl. BIG thanks to Nicki and her family for keeping the Concretin mascot dog company while we attempted gnarage. Duncan was very happy to have lil' people paying attention to him as Dad was on the wrong side of the fence. Definitely give us a shout if you head to the Louisville park! It is WELL worth the trip! And we will be back to Bloomington, no doubt. We finally get out of there to meet the ladies and have one last meal together at TacoBell. MMMM... Paul decides he has nothing left for Louisville in the morning and they head home to Lex. Thanks for makin' the trip!
Gabe rippin' the deep end!
I love the sound of pool coping grinds... it sounds like... GNAR!
Thanks Nicki! Duncan really appreciated the company!
Day "4" - Sunday - I had told Kyle I'll definitely be at the park in the morn, knowing I'll be worthless for skating. But I take my board, lead elbow, and helmet at least for a few carving lines. Just to keep my 'crete legs. (My muscles are ok, it's the multiple elbow and knee to 'crete collisions I can't handle - even with pads.) I take the cam just in case, but Kyle SAYS he's kinda tired too, probably nothing worth filming. Watching some California tourist (Shane) rip up our park, lit something in Kyle. Once we talked to Shane and realized he was "one of us," let alone his rippage, the session was on. I was a good boy and did not cave to peer pressure to attempt normal skate lines and tricks sans full pads, but wish I had brought them, as a session is so much more fun with friends who are ripping too. I concentrated on camera work. Shane hit big ollies over the the channel, both BS and FS, and killer crail slides... which Mofo decided he needed to learn - TODAY. What, maybe 10 tries later, he had them. AND I got it on film! It was crazy! I finally put the cam away (for the 4th time) and plan to start home. Just to be an ass, I tell Mofo I expect those sliding from the 4' to the 6' next week. "How about 6' to 4' " he says, " 'cause I was gonna try that now." "Fine, but I ain't filmin' it bitch!" "I don't care." BAM! First try! Sonuva...!!! Way to go Mofo. You really do suck. :) Not sure, but I'm almost glad you didn't go with us... would have pissed us off ALOT I imagine! Nah, it would have been more fun.
Freakin' California Tourist! Must you shred our 'crete and shame the lame like me?
MOFO! Doin' what he does best...
Making us all look like amateurs. Punk.
I hate to say it, but multiple parks in just a few days is just about beyond my years - at least at this state of fitness. But as Shane said, if SAlba is still going, we have at least 10 more years, right? Gnar is apparently like heroin, you get a just a hint of that high and you want more more more. I have a gnar problem, I can't find enough of it. But it's out there, and I'm having a blast searching for it. Where's yours?
Seek him out. He knows the secrets of gnar.