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It's not desperation. It's dedication.

CLOSE READERS OF THE MAG (and you 11 nerds, I salute you!) may have noticed that my stories have gotten more and more far-fetched over the last few years. You may wonder, did the Zero team really go to Spring Break in Lake Havasu? Did Spanky really get in a knife fight with Mexican cops? Did this photographer dude really eat three ice creams a day for two straight weeks? Well, you're right to he a little suspicious.

Sadly, after seven years in the biz, my ability to squeeze the stoke out of a typical van/handrails/ hotels excursion has gotten more and more difficult. Like Scott Oster's G-turns of yesteryear, I often find myself going around and around over the same well-covered ground--without so much as the occasional stalefish grab to enliven things. So yeah, I've taken to making shit up.

NEW YORK CITY

FABRICATION IN SKATE JOURNALISM is nothing new. It's been used to cover up the hookers, drug use and general asshole-ishness of the stuntwood stars for years. Why, there's been many a time I've invented fantastic events to shield you, the reader, from the harsh fact that your favorite pro is, at best, generally pretty boring and self-centered or, at worst, an alcoholic and compulsive masturbator. But that's neither here nor there.

The only reason you're getting this somewhat sloppy confession now is that, upon sitting down to tell you the story of the Girl skateboards team on the 2004 King of the Road, I realize I may have a new, unforeseen type of situation. When thinking about our two-week hell-ride from New York to SF, I'm coming to terms with the fact that my problem won't be trying to come up with enough interesting material (or needing to shield anyone from unpleasant realities). My real dilemma will be figuring out how to cram all the good stuff into the 20-ought pages to which I'm confined.

It started Friday the 13th in New York City where I met Meza, Eric, and Jereme at JFK--the rest of the dudes were already in town shopping and pressing the flesh. I knew Eric a little bit before the trip, but I'd barely met and never hung out with the rest of the team.

And it's a heavy fuckin' team. We had three Skaters of the Year--Mike Carroll, Eric Koston and Brian Anderson--plus legend Rick Howard and young buck Jereme "Sherm" Rogers. Team manager Sam Smyth and filmmaker Ty Evans rounded out the crew.

Meza always gives me shit about never shooting with "the legends," and upon reaching the hotel I found myself staring face to face with the lot of them. Though the feeling might have been more intense had one of them been Allen Losi, I was still pretty much star-struck.

At 11:59pm the King of the Road officially began and the dudes ripped into the tricks packet and the NYC envelope. We briefed ourselves on the challenges at hand, made a toast, and no more than 30 minutes later young Sherm was out on the streets, hell bent for make-out points and the willing lasses who would provide them.

Some light loitering in front of a club netted two gals, one fairly normal looking and the other in some sort of open-fronted pajama/kimono-type ensemble. With little convincing, the latter, soon known as Samurai Tits, was on Sherm like a hobo on a bowl of stew!

"You taste like charcoal!" she announced when the two finally separated.

A quick ID check revealed that, in all the excitement, there had been a breakdown in communication and Samurai Tits was neither five years older than Sherm, nor over 30 (as I had suspected), and therefore we had earned no actual points.

Shaken but still determined, we headed for what we figured would be a make-out slam-dunk, Max Fish. Maybe it was all the gear competition (filmer Fat Bill's get-up pretty much made us all look like Midwestern tourists) or the anticipation, but the Fish wasn't the fountain of saliva we had envisioned. I think Sherm was starting to seize up as pal and doorman Tino Razo kept approaching less and less desirable ladies with the smooch pitch. At one point we could see him pointing to Sherm while talking to a woman who was definitely over 30, but also most definitely a lesbian on the heavier and butchier side. Sherm practically crawled under a parked car.

In the end, Razo came through with a real looker slightly reminiscent of that fox from Dee-Light. Some tongue and an ID-eheek later and the Girl team had their first 20 points. And all before 3:00am! Even though we discussed how the Zero team had probably done all their flatground tricks by that point, we were stoked.

We hit the ground running the next day and rounded up real New Yorker, Jeff Pang, to do doubles on the KCDC mini. After Eric deftly unleashed the Sal flip to pivot fakie, Mike and Pang played a game of mini-ramp cat and mouse, ending with Carroll riding a 5-0 on Pang's board mid 50-50! We had no time to celebrate 'cause word was out that Sal Barbier had heard we were looking for him and was in hiding.

TEAM GIRL NEW YORK CITY CHALLENGES

Do doubles on the KC/DC mini-ramp with a real New Yorker

Skate the big rail at the Brooklyn Banks

Find Sal Barbier and get him to give you the top five reasons why LA is better than New York

PANG LED US to Sal's apartment where we laid low, waiting for the gleam of his cocoa-colored head as our signal to attack. Finally, a confused looking Swamp Rat wandered from his brownstone. We were on him. After a few false starts, he delivered the five reasons why LA is better than New York (and vice versa), with the skill of seasoned orator (you remember those 411 updates). The light was fading, so after a few high-fives we headed for the Brooklyn Banks where I got to witness what I would see over and over for the next two weeks: the grandeur of a full-scale Girl attack!

In the course of 10 or so minutes, the big pillar took the business end of the wallride assault, punctuated with Eric literally lofting a wallride to 270 that sailed some six-feet off the side. If he had a few more tries, I reckon he could have done it to McTwist.

Sherm boardslid the big rail to make it official, while Mike and Eric battled the wallride to ho-ho--a maneuver requiring equal parts balance, upper-body strength, and a birthdate before 1978. At the same time, team leader Smyth phoned in some tattoo appointments for the Down for Life Challenge.

We got to the High Roller Tattoo studio owned by the guys' friend Bradley at around 2:00am, and were greeted by the personalized license plate of his Ferrari that reads KILN JOX; "Killing Jocks." BA had visions of a Prevent this Tragedy tattoo but decided on the Gonz "Roll Your Bones" design instead. Sherm wanted to get something close to his heart so he selected the "one" from a dollar bill, which was quickly applied to his forearm. Then Meza surprised us all by getting a flaming Girl logo tat on his ankle! Just kidding. Not about Sherm's money tattoo, though.

With our limited knowledge of East Coast skate spots, we decided to try and knock out some of the six- to l0-stair rail tricks on the mini-eight stair we'd seen the Philly skaters rip in the magazines.

FULL FRONTAL DUDITY

NUDE SKATING had a pretty heavy presence in the 1980--and not just from Bill Weiss. As a child I saw a muscular vert pro named Steve Schneer perform a nude halfpipe run ending with a stalled ho-ho plant while the crowd threw money on the ramp. Though there were rumors of a certain future legend of street style jumping down gaps and rails an naturel, the chance of seeing a nude switch crooks in the 1990s was about as likely as seeing Ken Park feeble grind a handrail. Shit, you had a better chance of seeing a top pro wakeboarding in his video part while drinking a can of Budweiser (tree story).

Perhaps it was childish insecurity, or the lack of the stage-like setting of avert ramp, but nude skating, for better or worse, was gone. But just as skateboarding needed a risk-taking visionary like Primo Desiderio to show the world just exactly what was possible in the sideways position, we now have young Sherm Rogers to deliver naked thrashing back to the masses!

We found the rail (and boy is it tiny), and after slicing and dicing a handful of toprang moves protected by his ample jeans, Sherm emerged from the darkness to continue the onslaught with nothing at all but his skills to protect him. As the flashes popped and the team cheered, Sherm unloaded switch front boards, back lips, and then the coveted backside tailslide. In a move of further trend setting, it would seem that, like the women he admires in pornographic films, Jeremy had also removed the bulk of his short hair. We yucked it up all the way into Philly, where the dudes battled backside flips up the city hall five-stair in the dark. Then we drove into the night.

Any time in the van was prime for In The Van Challenges, and the drive to Milwaukee netted two: the elderly middle fingers (delivered in a bizarre palm forwards style by two women), and a sorry set of jugs that were closer in form to fried eggs than the fresh honeydews we were hoping for.

Spirits were high, except for Sherm, who feared he had fractured his foot jumping up the five-stair. To take his mind off the pain he made approximately 17 hours of consecutive cell phone calls.

MILWAUKEE

WE MADE IT TO THE HOME of Laverne and Shirley and, after some good-times slashing under the Hoen Bridge and some launches over the rail at Sherman, we headed to the fabulous Four Seasons skatepark for a clear shot at the Tranny Challenges.

As a boy, Erie Koston spent a long, sticky summer at a skateboard camp on a lake in Wisconsin, where, amid the mosquitoes and panty raids, he learned every ramp trick that had ever been invented up to that point. Though appearing very little in the mags and videos, these enormous transitional skills seep out of Eric from time to time and are truly shocking to behold. Really, the dude is bananas on a halfpipe.

At Four Seasons, Eric learned Andrechts on the extension in about four tries before prepping for one of the gnarlier 50-pointers: the backside blunt revert. Though Mike Frazier has half-Cabbed into this move padless on vert, it's still a real doozy for the common man. Eric approached it like a scientist.

First he did a blunt fakie, then a backside blunt 180, then a backside disaster revert, and finally a 360 backside ollie to fakie. He whipped through this routine several times, working his way to the finishing move. Five tries later he was spinning out of the blunt and coasting across the flat to a round of applause. Brian got wild on some kickflip backside noseblunts, and then Smyth sparked the sesh by manhandling a move so far from his modern-minded EMB roots it was practically sacrilegious--the coffin roll-in, which he carve-grinded into like a champ!

TEAM GIRL MILWAUKEE CHALLENGES

Go on the Miller Brewery tour

Ride the trannies under the Hoan Bridge at the Summerfest grounds

Ollie over the rail into the bank in front of the Sherman School

RICK HOWARD IS NOT your typical company boss. For one, he never seems to boss anyone. Really, he didn't even want shotgun. While lil' Sherm and his gear stretched out up front, Rick was, more often than not, crammed in the far back guaranteed-you're-getting-car-sick seat between the two other giants, Brian and Ty. Secondly, unlike many bosses who delegate the more unpleasant tasks to their underlings, Rick claimed the Salba Challenge as soon as we opened the packet. At 3:00am after a semi-productive street jaunt, Rick's teeth were brushed and he was under the covers in full pads.

The next day we went on the Miller Brewery tour and Rick made up for lost time away from the vert ramp by knee-sliding everywhere he went. While we learned about the fermenting and shipping processes, Rick scanned the halls for smooth stretches of polished concrete, which he ran and slid on in a display of safety that would make Barry Zaritzky giddy. By the time we got to our eight-ounce sampler beers in the Miller Beergarten, I found that I hardly noticed Pick's helmet and pads anymore. It was kind of like when you hang out with a midget for a couple days. After awhile you just stop noticing there's something weird about them.

RALBA

Before the Salba Challenge, when was the last time you wore a complete set of pads?

Camp whatevs. I noticed you were knee-sliding a lot in that 24 hours. What was the sweetest slide you got?

I covered some good ground at the Miller factory As of today, under what skate conditions would you seriously consider padding up?

Hollywood High 16. How was sleeping in the pads?

I haven t felt that safe since I slept in a crib. And toilet time?

Considering I take five shits a day, not too bad Recent amputees often describe a phantom feeling, where they can swear their missing limb is still with them. Did you have any similar feelings after the pads and helmet were finally removed?

Yeah. I have a false sense of safety. Did you ever accidentally kneeslide, thinking your kneepads were still protecting you?

No, but Ty does when he skates vert. During the 24 hours, was there ever a fear of vert aids?

They were brand new from Target, so that wasn't really a factor. If you were going to custom-design some pads for Sherm (ala Salba's signature leopard print), what would they be like?

Stridex medicated pads What about for Carroll?

Maxi pads. How many times have you seen Sherm naked?

Sherm naked or Sherm penis puppetry? In the long history of Girl Skateboards, what team rider past or present was most prone to nudity?

Tim Gavin. Are dudes who wear wrist guards necessarily pussies?

Only if you're a chef at Benihana. If you could invent safety equipment to protect you from danger you face in your personal life, what would it be?

Butter knife cases. Finish this maxim: Skate Safe or....

... Lose King of the Road by a few 50 pointers.

THE LONG ROAD TO DENVER

HAVING ALREADY CAPTURED the elderly birds and the sloppy jalopies (aka, the floppy discs), the most pressing In The Van Challenge on the long trek from Milwaukee to Denver was to get someone to show us their ass. A van with California plates caught our eye, and Smyth put the hammer down when we saw it was filled with three gifts of the rock and roll persuasion. After a few passes and some lane jockeying, our Show Us Your Butt sign netted some pressed, albeit, underweared ham shoved up in the back window. It was too dark for Meza to successfully capture the buns (not to mention the possibly disqualifying underpants), so we put my phone number on the sign to try and negotiate verbally. After a few seconds of small talk, I arranged a skateboard-for-moon trade that seemed to satisfy all parties. The buns got pressed in the shotgun window, even slapped for good measure, and then both vehicles pulled off at a truck stop to make the swap.

The Peppermints, we learned, are an all-gift punk rock band from San Diego. And with very little convincing (a single tall-can of malt liquor), their amps were plugged into Ty's generator and the skate rock show was on!

It was like our very own Skate Escape, but with a Nebraska cornfield as the backdrop instead of the mighty Vision super ramp. The dudes blazed boneless ones, coffins, and assorted power slides while the 'Mints shredded through a set as scorching as anything off the finest Skatemaster Tate album.

The action boiled over when Eric climbed on top of the van and started scanning the landing zone out past the hood. Then, in a truly inspired moment, he jumped on his hoard and blasted! As he sailed over the Peppermints in a raw photograffiti style, Sherm made his move and sucked face with the leggy bassist! For one perfect second the cornfields were alive with stoke and sex and rock and roll!

There very well may be more bitchin' moments in skateboarding history, but I'm hard-pressed to think of one. But like that magical time when I saw Harold Hunter get stuffed under the Longest Ogle landing ramp like so much flying salami, we all instantly knew we had witnessed something very, very special.

We re-lived it all the way to Denver, where we arrived around 10:30 and immediately went to the downtown park.

"I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYIN' TO DO!" a redheaded man told Rick, when asked if he liked his board. Rick didn't care. As soon as the dude whipped out, he snatched his stick and focused the living shit out of it. Seriously, Rick must be one of the finest hoard smashers of all time. When he got done, it looked like the thing had been pipe-bombed.

"What the fuck?" Red asked. Rick gave him a new board and things were cool.

You may wonder why red-headed or "ginger" people were singled out to have their boards broken this year. I can't explain it, other than the fact that I find the English hatred of redheads totally ridiculous. You should hear Geoff Rowley talking about them. It's like he's talking about poisonous baby-eating spiders.

"Oh yeah, gingers are fucked!" he's told me; "One of 'em kneed me in the balls once!"

After being assured that it wasn't simply a hatred of the Irish, I decided to throw the ginger-hating Americans a bone. From the feedback I've gotten, most people quite enjoyed singling out the freckle-faced freaks.

COLORADO

THE NEXT MORNING I was woken up with the call from Phelps about our mystery guest. My worst fears had come true and we were getting stuck with Jason Jessee. It's not that I'm not a fan. I just know that as wacky as Jessee is, he's 10 times as temperamental and flaky. Trying to stay positive, I played it up as a great victory to the rest of the team and Eric happily made a "Jason!" poster for his arrival at the airport.

On the way to DIA, I got a series of calls. The first was from the Almost dude complaining that their mystery guest, lip-trick legend Ben Schroeder, had brought his girlfriend.

"And the dude seems pretty fucked up, too," he added. "He says he can't even skate."

Knowing Schroeder's ability to rip even when near mortally wounded, I tried to convince him to give Big Ben a chance.

The next call came from Jamie Thomas, telling me that they had met up with some dude at the airport that claimed to be Jason Jessee's substitute.

"It's probably just a trick," Brian said, trying to keep things even keeled.

A few minutes later my phone rang again. It was a call from Jamie, but the dude on the line was Peter, the kid claiming to be there instead of Jason. He told me a long story about how he had taken Jason to the airport but that Jason had gone to the restroom and come out with two cops taking him away.

"Then he gave me his ID and told me to take his flight!" he explained.

"I don't believe you," I told him, still hoping it was some kind of trick.

Minutes later we were at the baggage claim with the Zero team happily escorting this dude, Peter, over to us. He was about 22 and dressed like the classic NorCal dipshit. We were instantly bummed.

"Can you do an eggplant?" Meza asked.

"Maybe if I get drunk enough," he offered.

"Do you have a way back home?" Eric asked.

"All I know is that Jason told me you guys were giving me per-diem," he answered.

"That's it," I said. "We're not taking this dude anywhere."

The other teams drove away with their rad mystery guests while we tried to figure out what to do.

I was pissed, mostly 'cause I didn't believe his story. What I thought then, and still believe, is that Jason Jessee decided that instead of coming on the trip it would be way funnier to send the worst dude he knows to torture us. After discussing the dilemma for a few more minutes, we finally agreed to take Peter up to Carbondale. But no further.

Rain poured down to match our mood, and we appropriately landed at the ESPN X-Games park in a mall in suburban Denver. Eric, BA and Mike knocked out manuals while Sherm momentarily recovered from his broken foot long enough to do contest-winning runs over and over on the street course. Peter worked on some wallies and then went to find beer.

CARBONDALE

WE CHECKED IN THE NEXT MORNING at the Carbondale Run, but while we were at breakfast it started to pour--and rained three more times by the time we got back to the park. There were hundreds of people in tents and many more than that sloshing around in the mud, drinking beer. The status of the contest was up in the air, but some of the other teams had already started on the really big challenge: rolling in on the back of the cradle, aka, Darth's Helmet.

Every KOTR has an all-play challenge where everyone (including media and team managers) must accomplish a physical feat to earn the team the big 50 points. Last year it was benihanas--ugly, but not that hard. This year, however, things got a little more serious. Darth's Helmet is only about 10-feet tall--but with a kinked, three- or three-and-a-half-foot tranny and a narrow path to roll away on, it's a pretty harsh drop. Getting up the thing is hard enough (unless you're Sheckler), but once you're up there you realize the truly scary part is that you can't see what you're rolling down until it's too late to turn back. Once you've made the plunge you then have to choose between plopping into the bowl to the left (not advised), careening into the bleachers on the right (even less advised), or going straight into a series of pump bumps (frighteningly, the only choice). Compounding the danger was the fact that everything was wet and the chance of it getting much wetter was just as likely as it was drying up.

We huddled under the rain tarp and laughed nervously as Zero's photographer, Joey Shigeo, tried for over an hour to get up the helmet. But then when he finally reached the top and immediately rolled in--and made it first try--the mood got much more somber. If their team did it, we knew we'd all have to do it. Rick, Eric and Mike made it easy.

Then we got some more good news when Phelps told us we were getting Darren Navarrette as a sub for Jason Jessee. Whoo-hoo! The Vamp climbed up and made the drop in two tries.

I spent 30 minutes slamming just trying to get up the thing, but then the concrete dried up a little and I was able to make it. With Mic-E heckling me on the microphone, I took the drop. Honestly, it's the first time since I was a kid where I've tried something pretty sure I was going to eat shit. It felt good, even as I scraped myself into the pump bumps. I rode away next go and then Smyth was up.

Like I've told you, Smyth is from the raw streets of SF, which don't exactly include giant Darth Vader helmets, spine ramps, or any of that park shit. But you know SF breeds some hard-ass dudes, which is why Sam stuck it out through 15- to 20-bone-crunching slams before riding away like a champ. On one especially brutal attempt, he caught sideways air off the first pump bump and ass-checked the second one before flopping into a heap.

Battling Lord Vader, I missed the rest of the action, but it seemed like dudes were getting nuts-o in the cradle. As in Austria, there was some random kid in soccer shorts who went the highest, but Lance Mountain, Benji Galloway and Al Partanen were looking pretty flash too. Jake hosted a mud-sliding contest on a formerly grassy knoll, and pretty soon there were nude dudes, muddy boobs and all the other ingredients that make up a proper freak-out. Despite the lack of an actual competition, folks were having a shitload of fun.

JAKE HAD AGREED to take care of Peter for us the next morning. Apparently his idea of "taking care" of him was to chew him out in front of everyone and throw a one-hundred dollar bill at him. While Peter sulked, I made him a plane reservation back to SF and borrowed $80 from Rick to pay for the rest of his ticket. He wasn't a bad kid, but there's only so long that you can play the lackey before it starts to backfire on you.

With the Vamp in tow, we headed back to Denver to make up for lost time. Sean from Emage took us to a baby rail where BA whipped a shoeless flash-n-roll for 50 big ones. Then, as Real's Morf and Vellucci rounded the corner on a recon mission, Erie blasted the melon back lip in their faces. Then we gleefully broke all the landing-ramp wood, because we're assholes from California.

Eric continued his reign of terror with a noseblunt slide fakie and a nollie tail on a square rail. Then, like a really dope bear emerging from hibernation, Sherm surprised us all by using his childhood gymnastics background to unleash the bandstand to fingerflip! With spirits soaring, we ended the night back at the ESPN park where Nays took a Japan air straight to the ceiling to the delight of a local little person.

I didn't make a big deal of it a second ago, but the Darth Vader roll-in story didn't really have a happy ending. 'Cause even after Smyth murderated himself, we still had one more road dog to go--a pup named Meza.

Long story short, the Mez pussed out. No one made a big deal about it. We certainly didn't want to see him get hurt. But as we drove back to town, you could tell that nothing we could say would make him feel any worse than he already did.

The next morning we woke up to find the mild-mannered videographer had been transformed into a devil-may-care, wild-haired punk! Yep, after tossing and turning all night in "Why didn't I do it?" guilt, Meza woke up early the next morning and went and got himself a proper Mohawk. The Punk's Not Dead Challenge was on.

Rick got one too. The other guys were down, and now the pressure was on me. You see, I had a wedding (my own) coming up in two weeks and it turns out even talking about getting a Mohawk on the eve of your nuptials is enough to drive even the most understanding bride into hysterics.

I put it in the back of my mind as we blazed on to our last city, Albuquerque. ALBUQUERQUE

POOLS AND DITCHES were the order in Albuquerque, and after hooking up with local legend Rocky Norton we headed to a sweet permission pool.

Rick and Eric carved the shallow stairs frontside and the Vamp somehow pulled an invert on the steep and wavy face wall. In less than an hour, the dudes had knocked out all of the pool tricks, including a death box grind by Eric that would make Dave Duncan drop his nachos.

But the fun wasn't over. Smyth disappeared only to return with a cake. It was Mike's 29h birthday! After "Happy Birthday" and some cake, Mikey made his first carve over the shallow-end stairs. Seemed like a good way to celebrate.

Mike hasn't come up very much in this story so far, but it's important to know that Carroll was probably the most dedicated dude on the trip. I can distinctly remember an instance where it was the middle of the night and we were all in the van trying to keep warm by covering up with Sherm's money magazines while Carroll pounded away at manual tricks by himself for hours. But his finest KOTR moment was yet to come.

After Albuquerque, it was time to get serious. We had two days to finish all the challenges, work on the Highest, Longest, Most page, and get to San Francisco. As we aimed for Bakersfield, CA, we tried to strategize. Should we go to LA where we know where all the spots are? Or do we head to Sacramento and try to stop by the Davis rails? At this point we had none of the stair tricks or the big rail tricks. After some debate, we opted to head north after Bakersfield.

Scuba Steve drove up from the Valley with his plastic benches and we met him at around 1:30 in the morning and set them up in a parking lot. Sherm went Rohan on a switch back tall, Eric shoved out of a backside noseblunt slide, and Mike unloaded a perfect front blunt to kickflip.

"That's the first one I've ever done!" he said, surprised by himself. It was now about 3:00am, and we headed to a small eight-count where Mike, Eric and comeback kid Sherm cleaned house on the stair tricks. While Sherm dealt the frontside half-Cab flip and switch backside flip, Eric had the thankless task of working with the fakie ollie one-foot tail grab. It turned out to be the most dangerous move on the page especially after he accidentally launched some shin-scraping backward Ron Aliens. Then, after that beating, Eric started in on the nollie inward heelflip, which he got after a handful of near credit cardings.

I thought for sure they were done, but the next thing you know Eric wants to go to the 29-stair rail that Eric Bork crooked grinded. Finding the frontside rail had a big dip in it, Eric decided to try to backside 50-50 the other one. As the sky turned pink, Eric jumped on the massive bar over and over. After several tries it got so that he could barely run down the hill on the bails. At around 6:00am he finally gave up, and we checked into a hotel for five hours of air-conditioned sleep.

With all the stair moves but the Cab flip in the bag, the guys decided the best use of our time would be to try and skate the Pat Duffy rail in Marin County to take care of the big rail tricks. We made it to the school around 11:30pm, only to get rousted by a security guard. Eric made some quick calls, and soon we were following a local buddy over hell's half-acre trying to find something to skate. We stopped somewhere so Eric could slide a double-kink, and then drove for what seemed like hours, stopping every once in a while to look at spots that didn't help us or to get rousted by security. When the freeway started to fill up with morning commuters, we decided it was a lost cause and that we should go back to the hotel to sleep. All except for Mike and Ty, that is. While the rest of us stumbled to bed (I think I might have even been hallucinating), Mike and Ty hit the streets.

Their first goal was the Philly pole. While we drooled onto our pillows, Ty showed Mike how to use the angle grinder to saw an SF street sign in half.

"I don't know how to work this thing!" Mike cried out as people walked past him with their papers and coffees.

"You've got to try!" Ty commanded.

To hear them tell the story, it was really dramatic. So, with people staring out their windows, Mike sawed a street sign in half, bent the stump, and proceeded to dish out four or five tricks up it. Then, at 10:00am, he started in on the last remaining manuals.

"He wouldn't let us go home until he landed something," Ty reported. Fortunately, Mike got the shove-it nose wheelie nollie flip in a couple of goes. We were 40 points richer, and his KOTR VIP status was firmly solidified.

MAKIN' OUT WITH SHERM

How many women did you make out with on this trip?

I'd have to say about six or seven.

If you were to select the best and the worst who would it be?

I was gonna say something harsh but--man, they were all pretty bad!

Which was the worst of the worst?

The worst of the bad was the lead ding-a-ling lead singer of The Peppermints.

The bassist?

Yeah.

Before this, had you ever made out with a real punk rocker?

No. That was definitely my first time making out with a female holding a guitar.

What was your initial thought when you first saw Samurai Tits?

It was the very first night in, so I wasn't really ready for it.

But what was your first reaction?

Coke-head that they're not lettin' in the club,

At any point did you want to back out?

I wanted to back out of every one of the makeouts, except for maybe the hitchhiker girls. Carroll pretty much persuaded me into all of 'em.

What were make-out bullets you had to dodge?

The second hitchhiker was sketchy. She was running around in a sweater and stumbling on herself. It was not good. We were smart not to pick her up. Tino was kind of ruthless. He didn't seem like he had any sense for an alright girl.

You lucked out big time on the 40-plus.

Yeah. I got out of the 40-plus pretty clean. I could have definitely walked away with a cold sore under different circumstances,

How old would you honestly go?

Seventy-two.

In the real world, what's your make-out technique?

I don't usually ask them stuff like, "Hey, do you want to make out?" I usually try and get sneaky about it. I don't like to get rejected, so I don't usually go for it unless I've got a good feeling. I just lock lips for about one-and-a-half seconds and then I start sliding the tongue on in.

For the nerds out there, what are some signs to look for that tells you a girl wants to make out with you?

All girls want to make out with you, so don't let her tell you different.

That theory sounds kind of problematic.

Just listen! If she's in your face talking to you real close like sometimes they like to do, please use that opportunity to kiss. 'Cause that's what they're looking for if they're talking super close to your face like Oscar the Grouch.

What's a sign that they definitely do not want to make out with you?

Maybe when they slap you?

What was easier, backside tailsliding the rail naked or making out with Samurai Tits?

The rail, Samurai Tits was vicious. She was like, "C'mon, take me! I'm standing here! Aren't you gonna touch me?" She was pretty demanding.

If you were to design Sherm's King of the Road, what challenges would you include?

I'd probably keep the skate naked one, 'cause I like that. I would probably have to get rid of the Mohawk, 'cause I would want to go on the tour and I don't want another Mohawk. And I think I would add secret hidden ones, like pop the other van's tires and stuff like that.

Sabotage stuff?

Yeah. Like throw a dummy off a freeway over pass.

TEAM GIRL COLORADO CHALLENGES

Pick up Mystery Guest in Denver

Check in with Phelps at Carbondale Run event no later than 10am on Saturday the 21st

Get a photo wearing Phelps' glasses

Beat Mic-E arm wrestling

Do an entire run with a plate of food in one hand and beverage in the other

Roll in on the back of the cradle

TEAM GIRL ALBUQUERQUE CHALLENGES

Pump iron and skate ditches with Becky Norton

Have a race from the top of the Indian School ditch. Last place buys dinner for everyone

Do a line over the McCullen hip involving everyone

END OF THE LINE

AFTER WAKING UP, Eric, Darren and I got Mohawks from a friend of Drehobl's who worked at a fancy salon. Along with the 'stache I was growing for the mustache comp, I officially looked completely fucked. Erie and the Vamp were a whole different story. They looked fantastic! If there was a casting call for a remake of The Warriors, they could have gotten lead rolls.

We went back to Marin and BA snagged a blunt fakie right off the bat. Then the Koston onslaught began.

In a matter of minutes San Bernardino's finest rattled off fronside 5-0, back lip fakie, nose grind, frontside noseblunt slide and a nollie front board fakie. I know talking about tricks is kind of jock shit, but it was some insane 'boarding!

Somewhere in the middle of the sesh the Real team and Lance Mountain showed up. Soon, Ernie, Darrell and Peter were shredding, too. We had yet to encounter another KOTR team on the raw streets and it was pretty intimidating to see how gnarly those dudes were.

After watching Darrell pounce onto switch back lips like it was a flat bar, I whispered to Meza, "Hey, do you think Eric could backside noseblunt slide this thing?"

Meza mentioned it to Eric and five tries later it was in the bag. Damn, that kid is something else.

Just as a pirate can't resist the call of the sea, the Land Pirate, Brian Anderson, couldn't turn his back on the sweet song of the quadruple-kink rail at Kezar. Though he'd already tangoed with that temptress in his youth (as seen in Welcome to Hell), BA wanted another round. While the rest of us were rolling around, not really paying attention, he hauled off and made the first jump--getting completely tossed from the top kink all the way to the bottom. His chest packed solidly against the dirt and it made a deep, weighty sound like if you threw a Samsonite suitcase off the roof. As the rest of us jumped into position, Brian rallied and continued the attack, finally riding away after over 15 or 20 harrowing attempts. It was yet another excellent show of KOTR spirit in action.

We bounced back to the hotel where everyone else sorted out their 'hawks and I darkened my mustache with a magic marker. The hairspray was flowing and everyone fought for mirror space while Darren flattened his sizable 'hawk with the Gideon's Bible.

"This must be what it was like in Kevin Staab and Joe Johnson's hotel room," Meza remarked.

For the kids, I apologize for all the references in this story to old skaters who you've likely never heard of. My brain's just rooted in 1988. It's a problem. Here, try this:

"This must be what it's like in Gareth Stehr and Jim Greco's hotel room," Dario remarked.

See, it's funny, right?

The primping ran long and we were the last team to arrive to the midnight footage drop at Hubba Hideout.

Meza blazed through red lights, snaked past slow drivers and then threw the van up a curb where we slid back the door and ran. With Mohawks snaking through the cool night, we whooped and hollered like monkeys as we scrambled across the city park--over sleeping vagrants, through the dog shit-laden flower beds and up the red brick stairs where everyone was waiting.

Jake shook our hands and the peanut gallery cat-called about our tardiness and hair styles. As I looked around, I was honestly surprised to see we were the only dudes with Mohawks.

As we gathered on the stairs for the group photo, I couldn't stop smiling. Stupid hair cuts, broken feet, missed sleep--it was all worth it. We did our best and that felt really, really good.
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Author:Burnett, Michael
Publication:Thrasher
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:6793
Previous Article:Run to the hills: three days in Carbondale.
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