Anatomy Of A Road Trip

Every skateboard road trip starts with a dream, the dream to skate some rad spots.  Even if your local skate spot is the best thing ever, you are limiting yourself if you do not travel to expand your mind (and bag of tricks) at another skate spot.  The dream is only the beginning.  Many road trip just never flourish from the initial dream sadly.


Leon hitting the gnarly coping at Sculpture Skatepark (Detroit’s biggest D.I.Y. project) with a backside smith grind.


This trip began with the idea of going back to Ann Arbor since we got rained out a month ago.  Somehow the trip destination changed to Pittsburgh and Cleveland without my knowledge.  Those are two cities I have never skated before, nice.  I did have an issue with the two cities though.  Even going on a four day trip, I was looking at 6 hours of driving for each of the four days.  That is a lot of driving to still be able to skate too.  After hearing that my boss and his boss were taking the week before off I thought to myself, « Why not take three days off to have a nice long weekend? »  My boss could not refuse my vacation request since he was not there.  My back up boss did care at all if I took time off, haha.


Jordan Wells jumped in on the road trip the day before we left, to grind down his trucks a little more.

Frontside 5-0 over the stairs in Ann Arbor.


MarkBest_BSSmith-PitcherParkNo worries Mark Best, I captured your backside smith grind at Pitcher Park.



The trip had now become a Friday (morning) to Tuesday (night) road trip with two days of less than 6 hours (2 – 2.5 hours instead) of driving.  Leon was down for the trip.  Mark Best and his girlfriend were coming from Hamilton and Chanimal with Kutzi from Toronto.  Six people in three cars seemed a little crazy (environmentally) but that how it was going down.  That is until the day before the trip when Andy jumped into Kutzi’s car and I got Jordan Wells from Ottawa to come in my car.  Kutzi also got Ian McRuer from Kitchener to get in on my car.  In one day we went from 6 people to 9 people, sick!


Here is the basic road map of the trip.  Click on the image to go to Google Maps.


The basic plan was 2800 km of driving.  The Hoof (Toronto), King City, Pitcher Park (Pittsburgh), Crooked River (Cleveland), Sculpture Park (Detroit), and Ann Arbor were the planned spots to hit.  All the those spots got sessioned for multiple hours during the trip.

Leon_FSBlunt-AnnArborSorry Leon that I cut off your arm on the landed frontside blunt in Ann Arbor.


JordanWells_FSFeebleToFakie-AnnArborYes Jordan, your angle for the photo is better than mine on this frontside feeble to fakie.


IanMcRuer_BSSmith-AnnArborIan McRuer casually did this backside smith grind out of the blue.



My brother lives in Toronto so people in my car were able to save some money by staying there.   A motel was booked for two people with two double beds through Expedia.  Expedia usually charges extra money any time more than two people stay in a room.  Often if you would book the room at the motel or off the motel’s web page they do not charge an extra person fee.  For that reason I always book rooms with a maximum of two people.  To date only motel 6 has even cared if there are three or four people in a two double bed room.  We did not know if the third night would be spent in Cleveland of by Detroit so I only booked that motel the day that we needed it.  Now a days websites like Expedia allow you to book a room that same day.  This option comes in handy when your road trip plan is not written in stone or is dependent on weather.

JordanWellsLeon_Doubles-CrookedRiverLeon frontside blunts the extension while Jordan frontside salad grinds the backside quarterpipe.



Some Duty-Frees happen to sell gas.  The Detroit/Windsor Duty-Free is one of those.  The gas is not much cheaper than at a regular gas pump in the United States but it could still save you a couple of dollars.


CharlieBowinsSkateparkThis a great way to remember my friend Charlie Bowins (Ottawa).



PitcherParkMemorialSkatePark-BowlPitcher Park’s (Pittsburgh) flow and bowl sections.




Tri-Star Skatepark (Cleveland) has a great shop and skateboard museum and this little indoor skatepark.




CrookedRiver-PooCrooked River’s (Cleveland) flow, bowl, and pool.


Here is the break down of the different costs of this trip excluding food and beer for me.  I went a little crazy on the beer buying.

Car rental       ($311.18 CDN – $20 [donation]) / 3 [people] = $97.06 CDN


Gas                                                         $50 CDN / 3 [people] = $16.67 CDN

$35 USD / 4 [people] * 1.33 [Exchange rate] = $11.64 CDN

$35 USD / 4 [people] * 1.33 [Exchange rate] = $11.64 CDN

$39 USD / 4 [people] * 1.33 [Exchange rate] = $12.97 CDN

$50 CDN / 3 [people] = $16.67 CDN

$15 CDN / 3 [people] = $5.00 CDN

$15 CDN / 2 [people] = $7.50 CDN


$82.09 CDN


Tolls                                                                                                   $3.15 USD

$5.00 USD

$5.25 USD

$5.00 USD


$18.40 / 4 [people] * 1.33 [Exchange rate] = $6.12 CDN


Motels                                                                                                $135.66



$214.35 / 4 [people] = $53.59 CDN


Total                                                                                               = $238.86 CDN

JordanWells_FSAir-TriStarSkateparkHoly stink-bugs Batman!


On the last stretch of driving between Ottawa and Montreal, Leon and I had had just about enough with being stuck in a car over the last five days.  I had spent $239 Canadian on the requirements of the trip and around $450 all told.  All this to experience 5 days of fun skating some great skateparks with friends.  It was so worth it.

Leon_FSFastPlant-ScultureParkLeon with a (slow) frontside fast-plant at Sculpture Park.  I have no idea how he found the speed for this trick.

TriStarSkatepark-NoSmithGrindsHaha, the majority of the ramp was to mellow to smith grind.