Road To The Terrordome
Painful, exciting, exhausting, mind blowing, rainy, sunny, dead car batteries, lots of miles, and all brand new experiences is how I would describe our 12 day roadtrip from Oregon to California.
Noah Johnson called me out of the blue, telling me about a backyard bowl in Riverside, CA, that he went to a few years back. He asked if I wanted to join him on a road trip. Without hesitation, I told him i was down. No way I was going to pass up an opportunity like that. Noah mentioned he talked to Nick Da'iello (The owner of the bowl) over the phone a couple times, but might have mistaken him for Nolan Johnson, instead of Noah Johnson. The fact that Nick might not even know who we are when we show up, didn't matter too much to us, so we continued getting everything ready.
Our plan was to leave Feb. 1st, however we couldn't wait any longer so we took off the night before, as soon as we both finished working. We made it to our first luxury hotel, The Coos Bay Walmart parking lot. We woke up around 7am and headed to the skatepark to get our first session of the trip. A lady was walking by the skatepark, yelling at people because her dog didn't like skateboards. Heard a gunshot an in the distance and decided to march onward. Next stop was Gold Beach. Another empty park to ourselves. Spent a few hours figuring out that crazy park, that's built on the side of a hill. We stopped at Port Orford(The world's first cradle) and Brookings before crossing the Oregon/California border, but they were both wet. We tipped our hats to the gnarly parks and crossed over into California. We found an indoor park that felt like it was out of a Tony Hawk video game, once again we had another park to ourselves. We checked into the next Walmart parking lot to catch some zzz's after our first day of trip.
The next morning, we had to the pleasure of waking up to the rain and a dead car battery. After asking several people to help with a jump start. We finally got a bite and was back on the road. The rain continued to pour on us all day. We hit a dry path driving through San Francisco. We found the first parking spot we could, grabbed our boards and headed down the road to see what we could find. After a few blocks, we came across a community garden/DIY skatepark with some concrete jersey barriers, a wooden pyramid, and quarter pipe. Skated for about an hour until we got rained on, and kept heading south, towards Santa Cruz. We found a cheap hotel across from the boardwalk and got a good nights rest.
The sun was shinning bright so we headed to Derby Park, then went to the other park in Santa Cruz with the big wave tunnel. Shortly after continuing South on our journey, Beth Blaszczyk hit us up about a session at the Vans Park in Huntington Beach. We rerouted and made it to HB. Had a great seesion with lots of rippers & had the pleasure of meeting Jim Gray. Paid our respects to Peter Hewitt & Darren Navarette in the parking lot & headed to The Terrordome. When we showed up, Zack Royal let us in and showed up around the house. the bowl the so much gnarlier than I had expected. We gave it a test run and I ended up with a the first hip smack of the trip. It swelled up immediately. After bringing in all of out shit, we got a call from Nick to meet him at The Yard. Jeremiah Risk's backyard concrete jungle. Huge thanks to Jeremiah for the session! I took a couple runs before grabbing the camera and filming the madness that Noah & Nick were doing. A great introduction to how gnarly Nick is on a skateboard. After they both laid down to law, we left Palm Springs and headed back to Riverside.
The next day, Nick lined up a backyard pool session at Mike's. A steep Kidney pool I've seen in a couple videos. I got some grinds, took a couple more slams to the hip, and got the camera out to film Noah & Nick battle the pool. First time seeing an invert in a backyard pool. Hats off to that one, Nick! After the session, we went over to Rene Morales' house (Owner of Sacrifice Skateboard Company). He showed us a bunch of old school skate gear, skateboards, knee pads, stickers. It was a minor skate history lesson. Rene is a really rad dude, he wouldn't let us leave without walking out with our hands full. Thank you for the hospitality, Rene! We stopped at Chino Hills Skate Park for a couple hours, before heading back to the house.
The board shop that Nick rides for (Inkonsiderate Board Shop) had a space in a plaza area with a nice sized parking lot. There was a bank that ran along the side of the parking lot, that gradually got bigger. A DIY parking block was put on the tallest part of the bank. Nick got a f/s ollie over a water spot, Noah did a hefty backside flip, while I managed to hang up doing a nollie disaster on the parking block, falling to flat on my hip, again. After lying there for a minute, I got up and wanted to leave with at least one trick on the bank. Took one more go at the wall and rolled away with a b/s feeble. We packed up and drove down the road to a DIY ditch, T-Street Ditch. A long ditch with quater pipes, ledges, pole james, pockets, and lots of crust. By that point, I was struggling to walk with a swollen hip, from so many falls. Ivan Lopez was the only person skating the ditch and quickly introduced himself. He was full of hype and was firing off noselunt nose grabs left and right. After filming the session at T-Street, Ivan took us downtown, introduced us to a few of his homies and showed us some good eats. The next day was full of rain, so we took the time to chill for once.
After getting some rest, we packed up the car and headed out to meet up with Steve Alba at a pool about an hour away. We made it to the suburbs and drove to the top of the hill in the neighborhood. There was a big empty patch of concrete that looked like the house that used to be there burnt down, but the pool was still going strong. Some of the pool block was missing and there was a bunch of tiny rocks and glass everywhere. About a foot of water was lingering in the pool still. We go a bucket and got to work. Just as we were almost finished getting the water out, Salba walked up with Phil and Dan. They were in america filming a video for the Nikon 360 cameras with Steve. They were getting all of their camera equipment set up while we were drying out the last bit of the pool with our tshirts. The pool was dry and the session began. I was so busy & focused in the moment, I didn't even bother grabbing my camera. Phil and Dan had that part covered. It was an amazing session, all of us walked away with a couple tricks. After the pool at the top of the hill, Salba told us to follow them to the next pool. We made a store run and went to a sweet older lady's house that had given Salba permission to skate her pool. When we showed up, a couple people were already there. They were two members of the band "Since We Were Kids" & owners of Desert Pool Cartel Skateboards, Art and Danny. It was a fun change of pace, skater with guys twice my age at these hidden pools. Definitely not an everyday thing for me. Everyone was ripping and grinding this steep rock coping pool. Even the owner came out to watch the fun. After a day of two amazing pool sessions we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Thank you very much, everyone that made that day possible.
Our plan was to go down to San Diego, hit Prince Park then Washington Street. Prince Park is really fun. There's a lot going on there. We went straight to the bowl with 3 pockets to warm up and get the feel of the new park. Got some clips and moved over to the bigger bowl. Managed to get two clips before a heap of dark clouds starting to move in. We figured we wouldn't have any daylight once we got to Washington Street. Noah happened to find a ditch spot in the area on his phone. We set up shop and Noah immediately got to work. Filming a hefty f/s disaster with a nice natural effect of a sand/dirt following closely behind and a b/s Blunt that he was satisfied with after the third land. Once Noah handled that spot, we headed back to Riverside as the night closed in.
For our last full day in California, Noah, Nick, Zack, and I all took part in fixing up what needed to be done on the Terrordome ramp. We got to work around 11 am and was skating it by 4:30pm, just before the sun was going down. We set up the lights, blasted the music, and started the last session of the trip. It was a blast. We all got some grinds and filmed some clips. Nick closed down the session on the extension. Turned out the lights and hit the hay. In the morning, Noah and I packed up all of our stuff and said our goodbyes at the Terrordome. Noah drove me to LA, where I took a plane home, and he drove to Arizona. The whole entire trip was eventful, there was never a dull moment. Can't wait for the next trip!
- Drew Bieschke
Steve Alba's Nikon Key Mission 360 Action Camera Interview by Phil Young (Below)