It’s been a week since our Sk8 the St8s road trip came to an end. But yesterday marked the full culmination of our adventure, when I said goodbye to our reliable chariot.
The 15-passenger Dodge van that I had purchased in Jefferson City, Missouri from Pastor Mike, and which carried our crew 3000 miles – through tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri to Dallas, Albuquerque, Phoenix, L.A., San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland and home to Seattle – has been sold. Within two hours of posting an ad on Craigslist, I received a call from a potential buyer. Two hours after that, standing in a supermarket parking lot with a pocket full of cash, I watched it drive away, with some regret.
Our crew of skateboarders had loved their van, with its five rows of seats and wide windows and cranking air-conditioning. They all suggested we keep the thing and use it for annual skateboarding road trips. My son Leo suggested it become his 14-year-old brother Sean’s first car. My own dream was that the van would be purchased by the owner of Windells skateboard camp, where I had delivered Sean, Leo and Willem last Saturday (they’re due home today). I envisioned the van ferrying young skate campers to and from skate parks – a fitting new phase of life. But the owner, Tim, decided that with the economy is such funky shape, “it may be best to hold onto the cash Windells has.”
So instead I accepted a wad of cash from Amir, who runs a Seattle transport service called Caspian Mobility. Just as I had given a stack of bills to Pastor Mike in a parking lot less that three weeks earlier, Amir handed me a wad of $100s outside my local Safeway market.
When Leo called from Windells later that night, he was sad to learn the van was gone. “I mean, I’m glad you sold it and all,” he said. “I guess I’m just bummed I won’t be able to see it again.” Leo and the others had seen and experienced a lot during their days inside that van – talking for hours, sleeping, taking pictures and videotaping each other, wrestling, eating junk food. And I’m sure they won’t forget the day we stopped in the desert and plastered stickers on its flanks. (Watch the video here.)
But I’m convinced the van will live on in their memory, just as the army ambulance of my own cross-country trip lives on in mine. (Read about it here.) And I’m looking forward to the day we spot our van on the streets of Seattle, a big white reminder of our zany summer of 2011 exploration of America’s skate parks.
To check out the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, visit http://sk8thest8s.cbslocal.com/