No Hotels' "Paper Trails" Article
Words and photos by Mike Heikkila
THE ROAD IS LONG AND THE VAN IS CRAMPED. Starting it off in Orlando, eight of us packed into Chris Blake’s Sprinter van that has no seats in the back. We tossed in an old couch, a video-game rocker chair and a storage box with blankets on it. We spent the next 14 days slowly making our way to California, skating every day and camping every night.
Party in the back
The first stop was Tallahassee. Everyone was excited to get out and skate for the first time on the trip. Evan showed his patriotism with a backside 180 nosegrind under the stars, over the bars
Who needs hotels?
We spent most of our first day in New Orleans at the Parisite DIY park—solid crew of people out there trying to make a better skatepark for the community. T-Funk, wallride
Niels in Nola
After a long night of partying on Bourbon Street, we found a spot on the bank of the Mississippi river at 4am to camp out
Evan rolled his ankle at the first spot of the day in New Orleans. Noooooo!!!!
We skated one more spot, then decided to head to Austin, TX. This super windy camping spot was right on the side of the highway. Evan slept tentless; Chris Blake's tent almost frisbee'd into the river
I spotted this gem on the side of the road outside of Austin. T-Funk handled the crooks popover, despite the truck sittin' on dubs in his way
We had to talk Chad Poore into skating this rail because it was super crusty. He had no problem front blunting it once he warmed up to the idea
T-Funk, backside grab at the Westgate hips
Who says there's no waves in Austin?
There used to be a skatepark in that building behind Chris Blake. It's gone now but the sessions are still raging. Frontside wallride over the dubba
Major shout out to Jeff Rasp and Sloan Palder for letting us camp in their yard for two nights, charge our gear and get some ever-so-needed showers
Niels Bennett snuck his way down that skinny ledge to a quick 50-50 on the electrical box. I think he broke his board on the ride away, too. Who doesn’t love that?
Rob Wootton goes over and out to finish a line up as the boys get kicked out of the spot. Not all are welcome here, apparently
T-Funk found this spot on our way out of Austin and rode the shit out of it, despite the narrow runway
This is what it looked like every night trying to find a campsite. Just lurking/looking for the right patch of grass at 3am in the dark
We ended up driving into a National Park on the edge of the Texas/New Mexico border to camp. After parking the van, we hiked in super far before finding this spot. In the morning, nobody could remember which direction to head in to find the van. An hour later, Chris found our parking spot, along with a ticket for leaving our vehicle there overnight. Nothing good in life is free
Still a good place to wake up and go for a swim/bath, though
Next stop: the Phoenix area. Our first stop was The Wedge. Niels, switch ollie to switch crooks
Meanwhile on the other side, T-Funk with the quickness—ollie the gap, kickflip onto the island. Mind the muck
Hippies use the side door? Nah, use the side-view mirror
Most nights when it was time to camp, somebody would just jump on Google Maps, scroll until they found something off the beaten path and then we'd drive until something worked out
This was a mini plateau we found not too far from the highway. We had to take the van over some rough terrain to get there, but it was worth it. There were some beer cans from the '70s littered around the campsite. Guess some other hippies found this spot back in the day, too
Had to pull up to the Grand Canyon. That shit is beautiful, yo
Evan got some tunes goin' up there
"Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge…"
After driving through the night from the Grand Canyon, we made it to the Pacific Ocean and found a beach spot to camp. It was insanely windy, but we found a little cove where we could pop up our tents
Rob nosegrinds across a phat garbage can by the beach. Phreaking beautiful
Evan said he'd never rolled his ankle as bad as he did in New Orleans. He took good care of it, though. Ice—so nice.
Unlike the woman yelling at him, Chris's nose wheelie is totally real. Art imitates life Photo: Rob Wootton
RobDog, front board down some pipe in a narrow situation
Thanks to everyone who held us down along the way! We will be out there again soon enough
3/26/2018Old crusty spots separate the men from the boys. Parque de Carolinas in Quito, Ecuador has been there for 40 years. It ain't going nowhere. I took the best of '97 there and it went off—cops, broads, beers and busting. The next time I went 20 years later, the kids that grew up with the mag wanted some Eccy juice. Took the now dudes and, needless to say, Hellride was on, "Rocky Mountain Way" all the way. —Jake Phelps
3/26/2018The last three years I’ve been starting out the year with a trip to South America. Following the Sun in life is a good rule. –Jake Phelps
3/22/2018Three days of live tunes, bottomless booze and mini-ramp mayhem, all simmering under the Texas sun. Thank you, Austin. Can’t wait for next year...
3/21/2018Lower Bottom in Oakland has the homegrown DIY spot with Preston’s grill. It was a fitting place to have an invite-only Thrasher and Antihero collab contest. From Royce and Ox to Red and Marty, it was all thriller no filler. –Jake Phelps
3/01/2018Evan eyes up a front blunt and goes into attack mode, riding away with the April 2018 Independent ad.