Westward Lag

On the 20th anniversary of Salty Peaks opening its doors, something happened. Something happened that was so unbelievable we had to tell its story…

Photo by Chris Swainston

The morning was crisp and the air was sweet as the crew met up at Salty Peaks. Kendall Johnson, Caleb Orton, Mark Judd, Rob Peterson, Erik Jensen, Chris Swainston, Isaiah Beh, Stuart Callis, Eric Hess, Will Pauley (a.k.a. Panda) and myself all boarded the magical marijuana train at nine in the morning and hoped for the best as we set course for the coast. The train was three cars deep and every 100 or so miles you could spot smoke from one of the cars billowing out into the freeways open air that resembled that of a cross-country train as we drove westward towards San Francisco. A flat tire outside of Wendover cost us precious time, but luckily there was a spare to keep the train rolling forward. We stopped in the city of sin to get a new tire and while the tire was being repaired, Rob and Chris both won big at the casino, which definitely helped with our gas money situation. An hour or so passed before the locomotive got back on to the railroad, with hopes of making it to at least Sacramento before nightfall. Once again never believe a tire retailer in a foreign town because the replacement tire that was sold to Kendall had holes in it. We quickly fixed the flat and although the engineers of the train cars were tired from a day full of flatground skating, hacky sack, and random drug use, they made the rest of the voyage to Sacramento on the donut.

In the morning most people slept in, and others went to get coffee and breakfast. Many games of “skate” were played that morning in anticipation for the day ahead in downtown Sacto. The train pulled into the station around noonish and we started to cruise the city like a pack of wild animals in pursuit of the perfect spot. Before long the crew had been split up into two tribes and the scavenger hunt for spots began. After skating for a good seven hours we headed back to the base camp; the only problem was we went in the wrong direction completely. Even going the wrong direction we managed to find this huge skate park just outside the city. Sore and tired, we packed our things into the railcars and went back to the house we were infesting. By unanimous decision, we decided to stay for one more day before packing up for San Fran.

The next day was once again filled with much skating, but this time the gang remained together for ultimate skating power. After skating for a good four or five hours we went to get some food to refuel ourselves before going to a local indoor park that Eric showed us the day before. Everyone in the party was exhausted by the end of the night and for some reason we decided to hop on the train for another two or three hours to get to the next stop before the final stop in Frisco. We arrived late that night, but still managed to get “Crunk” and keep the party going late.

Photo by Chris Swainston

Everyone slept off their hangovers in the morning and the day started late, but it was OK because we were only an hour or so outside of our final destination. We piled into the cars again and made the last leg of the trip in no time, and after a couple of u-turns we met up with our guide, Jimmy Nelson (from Sevenfold Skateboards), and he greeted us with a tour of his house and a glass of water. There was a super steep hill where he lived so we got warmed up by bombing it. Let me tell you right now that there is nothing like the feeling of bombing a San Francisco hill; it feels like you’re flying. The train arrived at “Third and Army” in full form and we ended up skating there for the remainder of the day. Everybody got some footage for the upcoming Salty Peaks video (release date yet to be decided) and had fun skating the almost dreamlike location. After that we headed into the city for some sustenance and then it was off to Jimmy’s to watch the footage and look at the photos. E.J., Rob and Stu left to go hang with some of their homies and the rest of us relaxed and rested our muscles. There was going to be a new video premiering somewhere downtown, so after a “twister” it was off to the show to make an appearance. It was a pretty good movie, or movies I should say, but watching a skate video standing up with a bunch of people talking the whole time didn’t sound like fun for us Utahns. There was a spot Jaime wanted to show us, and I think all of us wanted to skate, so it was only natural to make our way to this brick wallride. It was probably one of the most fun of all the sessions of the whole trip for everybody; so many things went down, it was stellar. We finally stopped skating around two or three in the morning and went back to Jimmy’s to get sleep.

Isaiah and I woke up early the next morning to go film hill bombs while the rest of our party slept. After attaining some good footage we bombed over to the house, boarded the train, and went back to the city to skate. We stopped somewhere off the freeway to ride along this manual pad, and there was a vagrant with a flip sign talking about “Flipology” who you could tell was obviously very happy or very stoned. We cleaned up and went to another great spot where the rail sharks went to work on some technical trickery, followed by a stop to the “Wallenburg Four” to see and skate some of the historic places rich with skateboard history. We got so much footage that we didn’t make it to Sacramento until three in the morning because we stayed in SF and watched it without even thinking about the distance we still had to cover to make it home.

The next day went by extremely slow, because of all the driving, but a late stop in Wendover by our railcar, yielded some more footage for the video. The last leg of the trip was the longest part, anticipating coming home and waiting to see it again. To tell you the truth, I wish we could have gotten lost out there and never found our way home–maybe next year.