Skate the State - a 7 day, 300+ mile skateboarding journey across Nebraska

Day 7 – Lincoln

June 27th, 2013

Even though there was still plenty of hills, our alternate route down Highway 6 (AKA West O Street) proved to be a winner. Mike, T.J., and Sean got the first 10 miles out of the way while Sturman joined me in the support vehicle. Steve followed along on his bike to get some photos of the guys skating and we all met up 15 miles west of Lincoln before taking out the next 10 mile skate.

Last dance

Unfortunately, we were met with a curveball a few miles into the next stretch. As Steve was following the crew downhill trying to shoot photos (one-handed like a boss would), he attempted to cross over the center line of the highway, got caught up in the rumble strips, and flipped his bike. The end result can be seen in the picture below: a giant swellbow, four staples to the head, and a broken clavicle.

Steve bike wreck

Luckily, Steve was able to call Mike immediately after he wrecked his bike to have the crew come back to pick him up. T.J. got a hold of Sturman and we drove the van back to where the accident happened and took Steve to the hospital. We’re all super thankful that the wreck wasn’t any worse – we love you, Steve! Try not to shred in that cast.

After getting Steve to the hospital, Sturman and I returned to NW 48th and West O Street, which was our last stop before the final five miles to the Capitol. We reconvened with the crew and I joined Mike, T.J., and Sturman on our last push of Skate the State 3.

Minus being stopped by a police officer (who somehow had ties back to Imperial) on the O Street Bridge, we made it to the Capitol without any other mishaps and were greeted by a group of our wonderful friends, family, and my dude Nick from 10/11 News. Shouts out to my boi Nick for coming out to cover our story after I forgot to call him.

Police the State

Mike, T.J., and I are extremely grateful for all the support we received from you all on Skate the State 3. Whether it was a donation; letting us stay in your home (a major THANK YOU goes out to Nikki, the Petrick Family, and the Eckert Family); sharing our site/social media with your friends; or even a comment, phone call, or text cheering us on – we thank you so much. It’s people like you that keep us pushing!

Mike and T.J. stoked on life

Thanks also to all the various news outlets that covered our story along the way! I will be aggregating all the news stories I can find on STS3 to throw into one blog post some time in the near future.

SKATE THE STATE 3 IS A WRAP! We’ll see you all next year! Bigger (much bigger) and better things are in store for us next summer, so stay tuned…

Day 7 – York to Seward

June 27th, 2013

For once, we were all up and getting ready by 8:30 A.M., which allowed us to start out of York a little after 10 A.M. Mike, T.J., Sturman, and Sean dealt with a bit of rain and some wet roads coming out of York, but luckily for us the rain diverted to the southeast. Since we left York it’s remained sunny, but there has been a significant crosswind the entire day.

Hadley Eckert high fives the crew

We changed our route out of York just slightly in light of road construction on Highway 34, but picked it back up soon thereafter and knocked out the first 10 miles. On our next 10, we passed through Utica and then made our second stop on the side of U.S. 34E just west of Seward.

I drove forward through Seward to find our next stopping point just east of town and was met to a 1.5-mile long stretch of crazy road resurfacing that reduced the highway to one lane and brought traffic to a complete standstill. As I was waiting, Steve Andel passed me on his bike – he rode all the way from Lincoln to meet us here! Steve rules.

I called Mike and we all met back up at the eastern edge of Seward shortly thereafter and Steve let us know that the resurfacing project went on for several miles and that the shoulder had a milled surface the entire way. Yikes!

The group has collectively determined that avoiding this stretch of Highway 34 would be the best course of action. We’ve now decided to start our next 10-miles at the intersection of 238th and Highway 34, about two miles east of Seward. We’ll then skate south past I-80 and pick up Highway 6 east (West O Street) all the way into Lincoln. This alternate route ends up being the exact same distance as our initial route and is likely less hilly than Highway 34.

We have 25 more miles until we reach Lincoln’s State Capitol. We’ll see you there between 6:00 and 7:00 P.M.!

Day 6 – York

June 26th, 2013

Once Mike and T.J. caught up to the van outside of Hampton, Mike’s frustration was palpable. Literally. He hit me. Berated me. Slandered my name. After all that, Mike cursed himself for being “fat” and hopped on his board to complete the last 10 miles to the York Municipal Airport.

Mike and T.J. skate into York

Eckert met me at our last stopping point outside of York and the guys rolled up not long thereafter. We then spent the remainder of the evening hanging out, eating Runza, and slaying the York skatepark. Just so everyone knows – T.J. skated his street board for well over an hour after skateboarding 290+ miles the last six days. T.J. kills it.

Sturman and Sean Vera met us at the skatepark and are hanging out with us at Eckert’s – both of them are going to accompany Mike and T.J. on the last 53 miles to the Capitol tomorrow. Apparently the hills from here to Lincoln are insane.

Party time!

 

Day 6 – Grand Island to Aurora/Hampton

June 26th, 2013

Being that Mike and T.J. went 2.5 miles past our last stopping point in Grand Island yesterday, we started off out of Grand Island from the intersection of U.S. Highway 34 and S. Locust Street. Per my awesome suggestion, Mike doubled up on his insoles while I got food, drinks, and ice for the cooler. The boys pushed ahead and before I knew it, the first 10 miles we’re down.

The next 9-mile skate brought us into the far east end of Aurora, where we stopped at a bowling alley for lunch. Note to self: do not stop at a bowling alley for lunch.

We waltzed back over to the Casey’s gas station across the street to restock on air fresheners for the van (I now have eight total clipped to the A/C vents) and take a short break before the next 10 miles.

Just as T.J. finished a cigarette and got ready to push off, Mike asked the worst question you could possibly utter while you’re skateboarding 350 miles across Nebraska: “Where’s my board?

What, dude? Are you serious? How did you not put your board in the van when we literally drove across the street to pick up some gutter ball food at the bowling alley? How is that not the first thing that you do when we take a lunch break? You blew it, Mike. Ya blew it, capisce?

After a bit of peeking around Casey’s, Mike somehow discovered his board tucked just inside the fences enclosing the gas station’s dumpsters. Luckily for Mike, a good Samaritan in Aurora had spotted his board in the parking lot and hid it so no one would think to steal it! Thanks to you, random stranger!

Lost and found

As I pulled ahead to find our next 10-mile stop, Mike called me, sounding unusually winded for just pushing out of Aurora moments prior. “It’s so hot out the asphalt is literally starting to melt. It’s almost impossible to push on the shoulder or the highway!”

I stopped for a moment outside Hampton and tested the highway with Mike’s back-up cruiser board and sure enough, it was ridiculously difficult to push and keep momentum. Every push I took brought me about halfway less than where I expected, meaning Mike and T.J. are now having to put 50% more effort into each push. Soft asphalt highway + soft asphalt shoulder + soft cruiser wheels = insane resistance when trying to push a skateboard.

I’ve stopped a little short of 10 miles so the guys have a little less quicksand to push through. Hopefully it’s not like this all the way to York!

 

Day 5 – Kearney to Grand Island

June 25th, 2013

I think I speak for Mike and T.J. when I say that today was the best day of Skate the State thus far. Though we started off late again and had to meet up with a reporter from KHAS TV, he let us know that our story should be broadcasted some time tonight. If you’re in the viewing area then tune in!

The guys made quick work of the first 10 miles. Mike popped in a new Dr. Scholl’s gel insole into his shoe and seemed to have a lot less trouble pushing than yesterday. As long as T.J. has Mountain Dew (can only, no ice if served in a glass), he is unstoppable.

On the next 10-mile stretch, we went through Gibbon, my grandparents’ hometown, where I spotted a random little mini-ramp right on the north side of Highway 30. Naturally, I stopped to skate it while the guys caught up! Mike and T.J. then skated the remaining six miles into Shelton, where we decided to take our second break of the day. Per my wonderful grandmother’s suggestion, we headed back to Gibbon and stopped at Sportsman’s Bar & Grill for lunch, which was without a doubt the best small town eating establishment we’ve been to thus far (minus Runza, of course)!

Drew and Mike outside Sportsman's

On top of the awesome burgers we ate, the conversations we had and overheard were ridiculous. Here’s just some of the quotes that we can remember:

Owner to us: “Skateboarding across the state? Nooo, you’re not…How many miles you goin’ a day? 50?! Them bicyclists only doin’ 30 a day. You expect me to believe you doin’ 50? Nahhh.”

Owner to Amber: “You with those cowboys? Nooo, you’re not – you’re a lot prettier than they are…Well, they’re all sittin’ back there.”

Owner to bar patron/himself: “105 Sunday! 105! Stayin’ alive! 105!”

Bar patron to owner: “…Yeah, she died. She choked on a peanut butter sandwich at four in the morning.”

Same bar patron to owner: “You remember him? Yeah, he shot himself in the face.”

Owner in response to bar patron: “Well we are pretty old – I’d probably shoot myself in the face too.”

It’s impossible to relay how awesome this place was – if you’re ever near Gibbon/Kearney/Nebraska/a living human being with any sense whatsoever, go visit Sportsman’s on Main Street in Gibbon. You won’t be disappointed!

We drove back to Shelton so T.J. and Mike could continue on. Amber and I pulled ahead to Grand Island to our last stop, where we discovered a Git ‘N Split/Doctor John’s combo gas station. Wow. Nice.

T.J. casually skates into Grand Island

We met Mike and T.J. at the third stop between Shelton and Grand Island before pushing off for Doctor John’s. I called Mike to let him know where Highway 30 splits off into Husker Highway just outside of Grand Island and for him to take the latter route to find the great oasis. Unfortunately, Mike and T.J. missed the sign for Husker Highway and ended up skating 3.5 miles more than they needed to, straight into Grand Island’s rush hour traffic on Highway 30. Mike called me to pick them up and insisted that there was no sign for Husker Highway. I know I’m right though.

Minus this little last-minute screw up, today couldn’t have gone any better. Now we’re all resting at the Petrick Family’s awesome house in Grand Island. Topless from the couch watching “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” Mike agrees: “Good day for sure. My foot’s done, but I think I can push through it. Can’t wait to see our friends in York tomorrow night!” T.J. and I are pondering going to skate Grand Island’s park when it cools down. THE TIMBERWOLF DOES NOT STOP, FOLKS.

Since the guys skated more than they needed to into Grand Island, we’ll only have a 38-mile trip into our tentative stopping point in York tomorrow. Excited to see all the York dudes and skate their park for the first time! Come out and hang with us if you can!