If you haven’t been reading about our journey so far, then check out previous updates here. Now, on with the show – when you left us we were in the wilderness having just left Salt Lake City.
Josh rang the local sheriff’s office, and was referred onto highway patrol, to boldly ask if we would be granted permission to skate on the Interstate (our motorway equivalent) as sadly there was no alternative route. A short phone call later and he turned to us and nodded his head, telling us that they required us to skate on the left side on the hard shoulder, into oncoming traffic. Holy shit.
We slowly made our way up the exit where me, David, Matt and Tom were welcomed by countless no entry signs and large lorries piling past us. The hard shoulder was relatively wide but had huge amounts of debris from the traffic as well plenty of roadkill. Some was fresh, some could have been there for months and the stench at times was unbearable – always serving as a constant reminder of the danger less than a metre to our right.
Lorries continued to fly past us, some moving over a lane to give us some space and some ignoring us all together. Then when we were going down a gentle hill I lost a wheel nut and my wheel came straight off – I fortunately managed to avoid falling into the interstate and under a lorry but then just sat on the ground, a little shaken.
After gathering up the pieces from my wheel from four lanes of traffic and putting it all back together we got on our way again and thankfully got to a road where we could turn off. The road immediately became a dream, smooth surface, no traffic, gentle hills, it was perfect.
It even rained for the first time and after 28 days without rain we were all buzzing. The roads remained decent for the rest of the day and we manage to finish up at 80 miles, even with enough time before dark to celebrate the 4th of July with a BBQ and then later on some fireworks.
Day 29, and we woke up a little achey from the night before but got out on the road quickly. We were greeted by the rain again, however the novelty of being wet and cold had already worn off. We were back out on the interstate again but thankfully only for a mile.
The roads straightened out once we had turned off and we could literally see for miles. The day went by relatively quickly and in the evening we were greeted by some awesome hills. That night after 53 miles in the bag we camped by a river, which didn’t turn out to be a good idea AT ALL.
The next morning we were COVERED in mosquito bites, my arms were swollen from them all and we were constantly scratching what was literally at least 100 bites each. Once we got out on the road the excitement started to swell, as we hit the 1000 mile mark before lunch which we celebrated by crossing a roll of loo paper held out in the middle of the road.
That afternoon we were hit by a horrific storm, with torrential rain, flooding in the road, thunder/lightning, and hail. Thanks to the amount of water in the road we were constantly being hit by mini water tornado things being whipped up by the passing lorries (which despite being nasty to skate through made great footage). The rain passed and we decided on calling it a day at 46 miles when Tom started to feel an acute pain in his foot slowing him down immensely.
Day 31 was our last day till we got another rest day, which we felt would be much needed. The roads in the morning were great, it was just me and David and we were flying down these smooth hills where you could see for miles (so didn’t have to stress).
Then we passed under a cloud and suddenly the fun was over, hitting a strong headwind that meant we would have to push even when travelling downhill. We came across a man in his 60s who was walking across America solo by the side of the road and stopped for a quick chat and a picture with him.
We pushed on, inspired by the man 3 times our age, doing 30-40 miles solo every day without a longboard. Then we hit hills, big, shitty, uphills. We resigned ourselves to walking, which is always so frustrating as it slows us down so much. Forced to walk for hours through the tail end of some mountains stemming down from Yellowstone, we made it to Lander just before midnight, meeting the van guys at a McDonald’s in the centre of the town.
When we arrived we met a massive group of teens who had gathered around the bus to take pictures, they all wanted pictures with us but I was pretty uncomfortable putting my arm around these over excited 16 year olds and smiling when I hadn’t showered for 5 days and all I really wanted to do is just collapse. Thankfully I was asleep in the bus after about 20 minutes and a huge McDonald’s meal.
The next day we awoke just outside of Yellowstone National Park, after Josh had driven there over night. In all honesty were all pretty excited to explore and spend the day doing something that didn’t involve standing on a plank for about 12 hours.