The morning of the sixth day started on a low note, as any morning that begins in a Wal-Mart parking lot should. With forklifts beeping, screeching and buzzing around our camp treating us like we camped out on the infield of a NASCAR race as they unloaded semi after semi, we reluctantly woke up in the least scenic of locations. On the plus side, we had clean shitters a few feet away and some of the worst coffee the northwest could offer freshly brewed for pennies on the dollar. We gathered our empty cans and wounded soldiers as we packed up our limping, decrepit trailer and were gone before our coffee even thought about getting cold.
A foggy morning, our heads in tune with the weather, we made our way to the Newport Skatepark in what would be our earliest start to date, possibly even the whole trip. Newport is one of the older parks in the area and it definitely shows some age, not in design but how the concrete has broken down due to the constant rain and fog the coast gets. Still the park is awesome and a must stop if you’re cruising by, just run some big wheels and don’t think about the 20 grit sandpaper surface. In all fairness, it really isn’t even that bad, but following the flawless Lincoln City park, it had some stiff competition.
Once we were done putting around at the park, we headed over to Ocean Pulse Skate Shop in Newport to meet the crew and film a shop profile. We said our hellos and goodbyes, got our duties done, and packed up to head towards the lions den of heat that would be central Oregon.
As we drove away from the coast, we realized we didn’t know how good we had it until we left. The fog began to get further and further in the rearview mirror as the convoy of Nickman’s Subaru and our truck and trailer combo winded through the the hills towards Toledo, Or.
The scene at the Toledo park was unlike any we encountered so far. Razor scooters outnumbered skateboards by a long-shot, and parents wandered the park carefree as if it were a jungle gym. Still, by this point we were quite adept at dodging objects, be it kids, the scooters haphazardly left in the middle of the park for no reason at all, or the parents walking through in flip flops to pick up the messes left by their spawn.
The park itself was awesome, though it did have its quirks which set it apart from any park we had ever visited. The front had a small bowl with an awesome tombstone vert wall that rolled over into a little flyout zone. The bowl was fast and smooth, a welcome change from skin-peeling Newport. In the back was another bowl with an escalator spine, pool-like shallow end and a flowy deep zone. Again, nice, smooth and fast. In between the two is where it got weird. In what must have been a money saving epiphany, the center section of the park appeared to be an unfinished loading dock of yesteryear, with crumbling bits of concrete and cracks big enough to suck up cruiser wheels. Regardless the park was really fun, but with a full day on the plate and the temperature rising, we made the call the head out to Harrisburg, Or, our next stop.
Road sodas were the only way to manage the heat as our convoy wound deeper into Oregon’s gut, beautiful country with lush vegetation, rivers and, uh, your occasional meth lab. Avoiding the local drug of choice, we pushed on until we pulled up to the park in Harrisburg. The park was awesome. It looked almost untouched with a bunch of unique obstacles that flowed together seamlessly. The temperature was also nearing triple digits and that made the going slow. Like molasses we flowed around the park, trying to get in a few lines before collapsing in the minimal shade. Dan and Nickman ripped the bowl while Foy and Privett flowed around the outside, possibly just trying to move around enough to cool down.
With sweat pouring off our heads and water supply dwindling we made the call to find a river and jump in it as soon as possible, probably the best choice we made all day, perhaps the whole trip. After questioning some of the local characters we found ourselves under a bridge in a field full of trucks, confederate flags flying in the wind. We knew we were in the right spot.
The bridge was a mellow 35 footer from the road and Nickman, Dcon and Foy headed right up for the plunge into the cool, flowing river. Without hesitation, Nick dodged oncoming traffic and sprung a gainer, splashing perfectly into the river below. Not to be outdone, Foy backed him up while Dcon followed with the Go-Pro. The locals on the riverbank were amused, but Dan had his sights set a little higher. Even though no one there had seen anyone do it before, the top of the trestle had to be conquered and Dan couldn’t be convinced otherwise. The kids on the riverbank heckled and cheered as he wearily scaled the aging bridge. One final sling over the top and he was there, looking over the edge, obviously second guessing his decision to raise the bar another 35 odd feet.
With an eagle circling overhead, obviously not too happy about the uninvited guest atop her perch, her nest only feet away, Dcon made the obvious choice and made the uncertain leap. Everyone held their breath as he dropped out of the sky and with a large splash, disappeared into the cool, green water. Cheers erupted from the bank and even across the river as the jump had been a success, an adrenaline rush for everyone around and a much needed thrill for stunt happy Dan.
Harrisburg would be the last hurrah for Nickman as he had a dog to feed and an a relationship to salvage back in Portland, so as we packed up our wet swim trunks, we simultaneously said our goodbyes to the kids at the river and invaluable friend of the road, Nicky Grieves. Nickman would be missed, but the show must go on, so we left his trusty red Subaru in our dust as he headed back north and we pointed it south to Eugene to catch the guys at Tactics before they closed the doors for the day.
The guys and girls at Tactics were stoked to have us stop through and showed it by opening their doors to their secret mini ramp in the back. Fully shaded and out of view, Foy and Dan went to work, reenergized from their plunge into the river and always stoked to skate something new. Priv and JP made the rounds through the shop, handled business and we were out. Big thanks to the crew at Tactics, you guys were awesome and we can’t wait to get back up there and hang out for longer.
As the light faded we made it over to Cal Young Skatepark in Eugene for one last session, the fifth session of the day. The park borderline sucked, but that didn’t seem to phase locals Caleb Grant and Jeff Tufts. They flowed around the park effortlessly as we sat in awe, tired from the day and impressed by what they could do at such a lackluster park.
Day faded to night and we bailed on the park, scored some food and aimed the trailer south in search of a campsite with a vacancy. After a few tries with no such luck, a backwoods field was decided on to be home for the night; train tracks and rednecks be damned. After much strain, the dilapidated trailer was popped up to it’s full glory, or at least what was left of it. Celebratory beers were cracked and drained as we recapped on the day, probably our longest and most eventful yet. Vitamin B nursed our sores and scrapes as we fell asleep to the hum of the generator. Day 6, checked off and ready for more.