My ten day vacation, I welcome you with open arms. Well I mean, I was going for 'work' technically, but I hadn't been away from Austin for more than a weekend in almost three years. And it's a BMX trip, how much work could that be? Either way, I was ready to get the fuck outta pro-town for some much needed medical grade and an undying urge to put stickers on everything. On January 22nd, Devon Hutchins and I caught a 6:30 AM flight to Santa Ana. I fucking hate waking up at four in the morning. Professional Wrestler, 'The Undertaker' was at the airport. He was flying first class, so he skipped everyone in line. I couldn't recall his name until he gave me that fierce head-down-eyes-up glare that basically made him famous. What a freak.
Robbie came through and picked us up at the airport in California, and then we headed to the warehouse to chill for a bit while the rest of the team made it into town. Getting to our new 'clubhouse' for the first time was probably one of the best parts of the trip for me. All of our fresh, unseen inventory had been rolling in during the last few days, and I was finally able to hold a tangible product. There's not much of a better feeling than seeing the end result, especially when it comes to screen printed t-shirts. I had been working on Cult as a zine for the past four years, but in three short months we were able to turn it into a fully blown BMX brand. When I started the zine, my original goal was to ultimately turn it into some sort of brand. Stepping into that warehouse was the sweet taste of fruition. For the next few hours, I decorated the building while everyone else did bike maintenance and shredded the ramps that were setup.
I knew some of the kids on the team already, like Chase Hawk, and Dehart has been coming to Austin for as long as I can remember. Dak was more of a recent friend, but I had never really met any of the other dudes. Robbie seems to create an opinion in most people, and love him or not, the man has serious skill for bringing together and sponsoring BMX kids that are not only amazing bike riders, but also really great people. I'm not much of a people person, so it's quite an accomplishment for me to be able to get along with everyone on the team for more than a week. It also speaks for the quality of people I was hanging out with.
The next few days in the LA/SoCal area are sort of mixed up in my memory. I failed to take any notes, sorry for the poor journalism. Highlights include (but are not limited to): putting up stickers, Motel 6 stays, very LOUD snoring, cement everyday, late night 7Eleven dining, hanging out and riding schools with Peacy, Black Box park, Loser Machine gear, the Vans park, Anaheim Supercross, Kings Ride shop, putting up stickers, DHS locals, Donnie with the red mohawk, mountain climbing, Fullerton bikes, the Fullerton park crew, Epic BMX, smokin' out the apple, road sodas, putting up stickers, Fox Racing building, Trey Jones singing radio rap, too much candy, Starbucks, putting up stickers, Morales driving and acting like a fool, the Daily Habit, Pat Parnell's dirty mouth, King Kong Bundy, and putting up stickers.
Approximately halfway through the trip we loaded up the big white van with all the bikes and everyone's luggage, and drove to Phoenix. We got into Phoenix pretty late, so all the potheads got dropped off at Sean Sexton's apartment for the night, while the other half of the crew went to find a hotel room. The next few days were a nice mix of cement parks, ditches, and a few street spots. Big thanks to Smoker Dave for providing some epic spots, and super good pizza.
I watched Ronnie Creager try and film some line at one ditch, and we rode with a bunch of cool locals at Bum park. Stopped in Kore Bike shop to sign the wall and show our support for a real BMX shop. After getting kicked out of a school by a lunatic security guard we got in the van and chased down a kid on a fixed gear for calling us 'skater fags'. We clearly could have killed him, but instead took the opportunity for target practice. Almost got a Guinness bottle in his spokes... his lucky day. Later, Bobby Simmons did a very large 14 stair over grind straight out of the van at the ASU campus. We even managed to squeeze in two visits to Le Girls. Arizona proved to be very successful.
On January 31st, the day before everyone's flight home, we packed up to head back to California. As we're leaving town, Robbie's spot sonar hit on a group of buildings he saw. We drove to the back to scope it out... Jackpot, good size ledges that were nice enough to provide two bangers. What a way to finish the trip. We booked it straight back in record time to Santa Ana, only to stop for road sodas, and the dinosaurs from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
We got back to the warehouse to re-pack and waited out the last few hours together before the early morning flights started. Packing to go home from a trip is the worst part for me. Leaving home is fun, coming home is nice, but leaving vacation sucks. I just stared at my bike. I had put it together the first night of the trip, only to find out there wasn't any room in the van for it. Oh well, I don't get paid to ride, I get paid to put up stickers. And this might sound crazy to the average BMX kid reading this magazine, but I actually had the time of my life without my bike, because I was hanging out with all my friends, and that's how you lay down the foundation for the best crew.