THUNDER, DENVER, VEGAS, BABY!
Now settle in with a sandwich... I gots lots to type, and the least you could do is read it all! More info than you need, but that's how I roll, punk. (It ain't EMO, it's NUERO!)
AdventureWeek report: THUNDER over Louisville. Best one yet! (number 7 for me) Arrival was at 6:30 AM with an easy load in. (5 tents, 2 coolers, 5 chairs, 3 sleepin' bags, 5 blankets, 1 bucket, and 2 wagons.) I hit the park around 9:30 w/ only a helmet and lead elbow pad, planning to take it easy, as I did have a big trip coming up in less than 24 hours. I only skated for about 20 minutes or so, and that's all I needed! I hit EVERYTHING first try as if I had been warmed up for an hour. A very short session, but one of the funnest. One lil' grom pointed out that my board was the perfect size for his "larger" friend. How crass I thought, ya lil' bugger. But his friend took a spin and loved it. Then the lil' bugger said, I'm gonna buy you one of those old skool decks for your birthday. That earned cool points, but still, ya shouldn't call you're tweener friends fat, even if it's veiled (slightly).
Back to camp. First beer was 10AM. (How is it that I was the only one drinking at such a large gathering of Kentucky rednecks? This proved to be harmful to my innards.) Many friends and family joined us for an always impressive air show. The big triangular B2 bomber even showed this year... and ya know, it was lame. While an engineering marvel, it ain't all that fun to watch do a flyover. It was nothing compared to the sounds of a jet fighter screaming overhead and busting a 180 between the two bridges. The pilots hit anywhere from 2 to 9 Gs during the show.... What a job.
We had a few wagon races down the hill beside camp.
Then we capped off the day with the nations largest fireworks display. Definitely the Spinnelli bros best work (whatever their name is). A good mile and half trek out with all gear and we were all home by 11:30(well, the Indy crew still had 2 more hours to go). Next year we gotta put power on the Thunder Wagon and make that trek out much much easier. The bros kicked ass with both the load in and out. I'd be shit without 'em. (But probably less nuerotic.)
So now that we haven't packed a thing for a week long trip to two western states, we had to really work when we got home. Which was EXTREMELY difficult to do with a throbbin' head (shuddup Skid) and dashes to the throne only to dry heave. No beer at Thunder next year... NO BEER AT THUNDER NEXT YEAR... The 4:00AM wake up call for a 6:00AM flight came much much too soon, and the dry heaves continued... I was not looking forward to getting on a plane, let alone walking through the airport(s). Luckily, the gut wrenching subsided and upright slumbering commenced. I was asleep virtually every minute that I was on a plane that morning.
Feeling better once we landed in Denver, it was time to SKATE! I was bummed as I had left my lid at home. That put a damper on my ability to nut up. I hooked up with Denver (web)skateshop owner, Paul, (via OldManArmy) at the Aurora Wheel park.
Paul definitely does not suffer from frontside gayness.
The park was smooth and having more time, and a helmet, I certainly felt I could rip the place. Alas, Bailey, a cool skatechick loaned me her helmet, as she wasn't using it, because of the new mohawk and all. It was a medium, and barely fit my apparently fat melon, but my mangina inflamation was dramatically soothed. She even let me keep it to go the next park, as she sees Paul every weekend, and would just get it back from him. HOW COOL! Thanks Bailey.
Coolest skate chick in Denver!
Rockin' and a Rollin'
Next up was Greenwood. The lip wasn't set right, so the term "noping" fit perfectly. Metal and smooth, but no bump at all. If ya didn't lock in right, it was skeery. Half of the deepend was lumpy, and it was all H U G E ! I managed to keep speed and even hit a RnR on a 10' section. The shallows were a bit too mellow, but still a blast. I was stoked watching this grom (JB) hit HUGE fs 270s over the hip, and even a handflip! Nick, another teen grom, was sportin' a vintage reissue Vision with rails and big old Powell Peralta wheels. A board that was originally released probably the year he was born! (If not before.) I had a great session at both parks and really appreciate the hospitality of everyone I met, including Paul, Bailey, Larry, Nick, JB, and several others who shall remain nameless-to protect their identities. (Or perhaps because the brain cells have long since been murdered.)
JB is the definition of smooth rippage.
Oh, and Louisville needs to take a look at the landscaping of the Greenwood, CO park. If the pedestrian business owners of our town saw that, and thought THAT was what a skatepark looks like, we would have 10! It wasn't perfect, but it was fresh 'crete to me, and it was goood.
Yes, there is a skatepark in there!
Onward to Colorado Springs. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The bro-in-law and fam have killer natural parks within 5 minutes of home, and a view of the mountains from the front door. We had a wonderful visit with them and our 12 year old nieces were so much fun to hang out and chat with. Hit the Antique Mariner for grubbage if you're ever in Colorado Springs. Goood stuff. We hit BC Surf and Sport for a new lid. A very comfy protec Burnquist model, in XL. (!)
The inlaws, minus one, 'cause Momma had to work. :(
Tuesday came and the girls didn't go to school... Why not? Well, after 2 gorgeous days in the 60s and 70s, they had a SNOW DAY! Yep, the weather changes there faster and more dramatically than in the Ohio Valley, believe it. We drove north back to Denver in virtually white out conditions, a 1 hour trip taking well over 2 hours. Not fun. Southbound was a parking lot and eventually got shut down completely. But luckily people there generally know how to drive in rough weather, as I only saw 2 cars off the road, and we didn't go over 40 miles an hour 'til we hit Denver and it was just cold and rainy. I think they ended up with a foot of snow. Glad we were headed to the desert!
Sidenote: Bought several skate mags for the possible weather shutout at the airport... and low and behold, Home Skateshop has a write up in Skateboarder Mag!! Killer! Good on ya Thom and Derek!
The Sahara. A cheap hotel, at the far end of the strip and the last stop on the monorail. 'Tis why we chose it. Don't stay there expecting a great room. It was big, but in a bit of disrepair, but in Vegas, once a hotel crosses a certain level of maintenance requirements, they just blow it up and build a new one. I give the Sahara about 5 years before joining the Sands in the big desert in the sky. Just hire a maintenance guy, seriously. But alas, you don't spend much time in your room in Vegas, and if you're doin' it right, when you are in the room, you're sleepin'. (Or other more fun activities.) That all being said, the casino floor of the Sahara was great! Low minimum tables, all the time, and 4 of the 5 dealers I hung with all week were fun loving and generally seemed to like their job. (the 5th wasn't rude, but hardly moved or talked at all) Most of the patrons were just as fun loving and willing to help ya keep your bets straight, so as not to miss that double up on 11 in blackjack. Oh, and it certainly helps that the tables were VERY good to me all week.
Wednesday morning I hooked up with OldManArmy soldier, Geeser (Mark), from South Carolina. In Vegas? Yea. OMA rocks. (His wife was there for a conference, and he tagged along, board in hand.) He rented a car, so we didn't do the limo thing, but I still got chauffered in a new Charger(yes, I contributed to the car fund, I'm not completely lame.) Thanks Mark! The first park, "pro park", was a big hole in the ground with HUGE mellow transitions. Big wheels were definitely required here. He cruised around and I really pushed to hit my standards. It was tough, because every thing was a foot or two bigger than what I'm used to, even though it had mellow transitions. I got over the 7 (maybe 8') spine, and even rolled in. The big challenge for me was the fs carve over the quarter in the deep end. Got it though, and I have even more respect for Skidz "over the hole" make in Whiting, as backside over this quarter was even a bit scary. At least the pic is cool. Speed is key.
Look out LT! Comin' through!
After a good session, and a bit o' vid footage, it was on to Henderson and a buttery smooth Grindline park. Man, that park is AWESOME. However, already pretty tired, and reaching 82 seriously dry degrees by the time we arrived, meant little rippage would be had. Geeser took a good tailbone slam, and I could not adapt fast enough for the much tighter transitions either. I wasted a couple of runs in their kidney bowl, that had a nice 8' deep end, but 5' shallows, and that was VERT. Way too tight for my condition and the heat. We bugged out relatively quickly as school let out and the groms began to swarm the place(from just a few hundred yards away). But, definitely a place worth hitting if you're in the area. (Know anyone that will sponsor a "Concretins in Vegas" video?)
Geeser. Coolest cat from South Carolina in Vegas!
Back to the "real" Vegas. We hit the Hilton for the "Star Trek Experience." Very very cool and highly recommended, even if you're not a trekky. Kind of a combo motion theater but the walk through is part of the story. Very well done. Kudos to you, Conrad Hilton, (great?)grandfather to the spawn of satan. We also saw "Spamalot." So now I get a few more of the Monty Python jokes Alice tosses out. "I fart in your general direction" being one of my favorites. A great theater, but really, the Wynn did not seem to be the right crowd for such a show. But find your grail blokes, find your grail!
Lil' Tony found a couple of things he liked in Caesar's Forum Shops.
What happens in Vegas, LT...
...gets posted on the internet.
I learned that I am not rich enough to really even be IN the Belagio, but it's beautiful inside and worth a look. Also, I'm not rich nor pretty enough to hang out at the Wynn. I tried to play roulette there, with my "winning" strategy from the Sahara, and lost $40 in about 3 minutes. Apparently it wasn't the strategy, it was the tables and the mojo. I won pretty much every session I played at home base. The slots everywhere basically wiped the floor with Alice 3 of the 4 days. She had a great time, and was WAY up at one point. We both played blackjack together for a couple of hours on just $20 between us one night. THAT was fun! I had a great time, but my "KICKASS VEGAS ROCKS" point came on our last morning. I was sitting playing roulette, and even started with $50 this time, as I had been ferretting away my winnings from the week. I could have started with more, but what's the point? I wanted to come home with a nice cushion. Well, after about 45 minutes of multiple hits, and much fewer losses, I had every available table chip (in my color) and they had to pay out with "cash colors" (chips with actual dollar amounts)!! I later discovered this was only $200, but it was stacks and stacks of chips in front of me!! I was stoked, particularly so when Alice called the #13 hit and I doubled up on it. The girlfriend of the guy next to me said, just put your chips on top of his! That was funny. I cashed out $260, and continued to play for another hour on $20, building that up to around $50. I had doubled or even tripled my $20 or $40 starts several times during the week, but nothing like that. I can understand how people get addicted to gambling, as I was psyched as we headed out to catch the shuttle for the airport. When I grow up, I wanna make a living playing roulette! Viva Las Vegas, INDEED.
BUT WAIT! We're not through yet! We got home to DaVille at 1:30AM Sunday, and I was at the park 7 hours later. Too bad Gimpy thought I meant Monday at 1:30AM. But OMP still roadtripped and EB was there too! (No, REALLY!) Brett was up bright and early rippin' it up with attempts at switch roll-ins to switch nose wheelie back in. (It's just fakie, you can't fool me punk.) He'll have it in his next session. Long lost 2Fresh photog biker Andrew was also in attendance. He's been playin' in the dirt and hasn't hit much 'crete lately.
What time is it Andrew?
We met a "new" old dude from Sayerville, NJ so stoked on our park that he is ready to buy real estate here. (Sorry, already forgot his name. As I said, brain cell homicide.) And yes, for those of you payin' attention, Sayerville is JBJ's home town.
OMP is pushing the frontside carves to the next step and grabbin' the rail now.
We also had a blast with doubles runs. My best land for the day was great melons over the trash can (laying on it's side, of course). A great session and a perfect ending to the best week of the year... so far.
Happy Anniversary Alice! You da best!