Day 625 – USA (CALIFORNIA): Looking back


Before I arrived in the US, I emailed a few random people I found by on www.crazyguyonabike.com who had cycled the southern part of the US. I was wanting to get an idea of how feasible skateboarding across the US would be. Among the answers, I got the following answer:

Skateboarding across the U.S.????? I see you already traveled 1,000 miles across Europe and I am sure you faced challenges. However, there may be some unforseen challenges here.
1.) Louisiana roads are poorly maintained and extremely bumpy, I got nerve damage in my hands and would never ride that states roads again. I had 1.95″ tires and extra padding on my handlebars and still had issues. I would say these roads could not be traversed on a skateboard. No shoulders and Tractor-Trailer trucks blowing by at 80 miles per hour. I would hitch hike across to bypass altogether.
2.) The maps from Adventure Cycling leave much to be desired, I made my own route.
3.) There are some areas which require that bicyclists get on Interstate Highways. Generally, it is illegal, there are exceptions when there is no other route, but is ONLY for bicyclists. The laws vary from state to state, but I can guarantee the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will not permit your travel on some of these roads with a skateboard even if there is no other way. And if there is a way, the alternate routes have not been maintained for 50 years. I will include a picture of a road I was forced to ride by CHP in lieu of the highway.
4.) We are coming into winter, and even though you are doing the southern tier, you will have cold weather, I experience near freezing temperatures in New Mexico and it was only October. All of the roads are fenced off on both sides and it can be difficult to find shelter or even a place to camp. I don’t know how far you can acceptably travel on skateboard each day, but stops can be 50 miles or more apart.

On the positive side, you are traveling alone and people are likely to lend a hand if you are in need. I wish you the best of luck but would HIGHLY recommend you get back on a bike.

Hmmmm. He put it very well. Indeed the roads in Louisiana were not too good. Indeed the interstates proved troublesome. Indeed I experienced below freezing temperatures, even snow. But I gave it a shot, and it wasn’t all that bad…

So, some statistics from skateboarding across the US:

  • Began: Key West, Florida (GPS: N24° 33′ 41.47″, W81° 48′ 13.75″) on 7th December 2007
  • Ended: Los Angeles International Airport, California (GPS: N33° 56′ 42.57″, W118° 23′ 9.80″) on 13th April 2008
  • Miles skated: 3435 miles / 5529km
  • Time taken: 3 months 29 days
  • Total rest days: 37 days
  • Total skating days: 90 days
  • Overall average miles a day while skating: 36 miles / 58km
  • Total miles walked: Approx. 10 miles / 16km
  • Total miles in a vehicle: 18 miles / 29km*
  • Wheels replaced: One set
  • Bearings replaced: Two sets
  • Shoes worn out: Two pairs
  • Heaviest pack weight on back: 55 lbs / 25kg (Day 584)
  • Longest distance in one day: 62 miles / 101km (Day 614)
  • Shortest distance in one day: 10 miles / 17km (Day 603)
  • Most vertical gain in one day: 3675 feet / 1120m (Day 606)
  • Toughest day on the board: Day 579 – 5 hours and 38 minutes of hell on super rough roads in Kinney County, Texas
  • Worst fall: Day 585 – Fell off the board at 20mph / 32km/h near Marathon, Texas
  • Favourite US States:
    • People: Florida, Louisiana
    • Food: Louisiana
    • Scenery: California, Arizona
  • Hottest temperature: 104°F / 40°C (Californian desert on Day 613)
  • Coldest temperature: 21°F / -6°C at 7am on Day 593 in Texas
  • Sleeping locations (out of 113 recorded locations):
    • Local households / random people’s houses: 44 nights (39%)
    • Stealth camping/sleeping outdoors: 43 nights (38%)
    • Campgrounds: 10 nights (9%)
    • Hotel / Motel: 7 nights (6%)
    • Friends’ places: 6 nights (5%)
    • Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.com): 3 nights (2.5%)
  • Best outdoor sleep spot: Hall’s Landing Campground next to Lake Talquin, Florida on Day 534; peaceful, dry, relaxing, and free.
  • Worst outdoor sleep spot: Under Indian Key Channel Bridge in the Florida Keys on Day 506; biting ants and cramped, damp concrete spot to sleep (or not sleep, as the case was).
  • Most Amazing Sight: The Glamis Sand Dunes in southern California on Day 614.
  • Most Dangerous Situation: Being only a foot away from an oversize truck traveling at 100km/h (60mph) carrying a house (I-10 Freeway near Deming, New Mexico).
  • Weirdest Request: Asked by a male Florida Department of Transportation employee (he pulled up beside me in a work vehicle) to come home with him that night to engage in questionable activities together.
  • Weirdest Food: Cajun Style Boiled Dove in Mamou, Louisiana on Day 557. Despite the weird-factor, it was very delicious.
  • Most Larger-Than-Life Characters Met: Winston and Jimmy in Chival, Florida on Day 525. Stories of real-life gangsters and the good old days of the liqour trade.
  • Records broken: 4
    • Guinness World Record™ for the Longest Journey By Skateboard (formerly 3,618 miles) †
    • First Person to Skateboard Across the US Solo and Unassisted**
    • Longest Distance Skateboarded Solo and Unassisted (now 4419 miles / 7,111km)**
    • Most Countries Skateboarded Through‡

* On I-10 Limited Access Freeway from B10 Campground in Quartzsite (AZ) to Posten Rd in Ehrenburg (AZ) on Day 613 – March 24th 2008. Does not include non-essential local travel (errands around town etc).

† Only this one is a real record.

** No support vehicles.

‡ Seven countries (Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, British Virgin Islands, United States of America).


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9 thoughts on “Day 625 – USA (CALIFORNIA): Looking back

  • mahmoud

    that is a great summary. fun times – and ii went back and caught a few things i'd missed. hope you get a good break -and a visa.

  • christine

    good luck with the visa!!!

    i emailed my friend Dave Malkoff of CBS news in LA (the local affiliate). He's a reporter — i gave him your website and info. Maybe while you're there in LA you'll get some attention.

    Rob, I'm proud of you. I cried at your low points, when you shared your frustration… and i rejoice that you've made it through.

    i do hope there is a book deal or a novel or something in the future… like my hero Michael Palin in his world travels, you've brought me a lot of joy and inspiration.

    God bless as you get ready for the next leg.

  • Rosana

    Hey Rob,

    It was really nice to see all that you have accomplished and all the records broken. I am glad you got to LA in one peace.

    If you forgot who I am, with all the people you've meet, I am Nathan's Tia from Hemet.

    Again, we want to thank you so much for working so hard to make it to the Fundraiser. My family and I had a great time and loved meeting you.

    Good luck on your journey and may GOD keep you safe and return you home to your family with OPEN ARMS.

    Thanks,

    Rosana

  • keith and mary

    rob – you never mentioned getting wet in the ocean and doing some swimming or body surfing – hope all is well and that you have your visa problems figured out – can you go in for 30 days leave for one day and go back in? if you can send us a post card from china would love that as I have a friend in Palomas, Mexico that collects post cards from around the world – just got one for him from Tibet

    hugs

    keith/mary/CAT

  • Aunty Les

    Have you sent crazyguyonabike your masterful summary of your skateboard trip across America? It appears that you were well warned about all the potential hazards and problems of a trip across the States oh a skateboard. I dare say that only got you fired up to prove you could do it despite the known hassles!