San Fran Trip: By worry shin/jon labez

Photos by Jon Labez

 It’s a quiet Thursday with the cold calm of night surrounding us.  The hookah is ready and waiting, the chairs are on the front porch and the rustling of the leaves is all we can hear.  Anthony, Dan, Brian and I were smoking a lazy Tuesday night away, talking about the past week and upcoming days.  Apparently, Anthony and Dan, as well as Greg and Jonathan were driving up from Long Beach to San Francisco to meet up with Xsjado’s AM, Kevin Yee, to skate the spots all around the infamous hilly city.  They were calling it the “Get out of LA Tour”.  With no plans for the coming weekend, I soon found myself coming along for a ride that I would never forget.  
What clothes should I bring?” was the thought that flew in everyone’s minds.  San Francisco is known for it’s chillier climates (relative to Long Beach), calling upon apparel such as jackets and sweaters.  I arrived to my good friend’s Anthony Gallegos’s home in the morning to see him enjoying a hearty breakfast with his mother.  After a quick call to his dad asking about car maintenance, Anthony and I began to clear out space in his Ford Focus for the trip ahead.  “Wheels…check.  Frames…check.  Do you think we’ll need these extra bolts…probably.  I’ll just bring them along just incase”.  After the initial preparations and packing we were all set to pick up Dan, Greg, and Jonathan.  


The path from Los Angeles to San Francisco is quite simple.  A straight shot up the 5 northbound for hours on end, then a change to the 580 west for a little over an hour.  Needless to say, just because the directions to San Francisco were easy didn’t mean the drive would be.  We passed endless fields, empty plains and miles and miles of smelly cattle grounds.  “Dude, did someone just fart?”, Dan asked right before opening the window letting in all the worst smelling air possible.  The numbness within our asses and driving by cattle manure pastures would be the most horrible part of the trip.  After hitting up the restrooms and chowing down on some Jack in the Box food along the way, we finally reached out destination after a grueling 7 hours of driving.  To fly or not to fly? That is the question.  But after the time spent on the road—my new verdict is to fly, unless you have hilarious characters in the car to make the time seem shorter.

While driving into the city, we mistook the Bay Bridge for the Golden Gate Bridge, Anthony called up Kevin for directions to his place.  We finally met him at his neighborhood Safeway.  After getting out of the car, I instantly felt the temperature differences between San Francisco and Long Beach.  We all wore jackets for the duration of our stay.  And to my surprise, everyone we encountered was over 6 feet tall.  Believe what you will, exaggeration or not, people in the Bay area were tall.  There must be something in the water.  

After the initial hellos with Kevin and his roommates, we were now in a dilemma regarding our living arrangements.  After a few minutes of combined thoughts and ideas, Kevin calling a hotel and haggling a price, Anthony and Jonathan left to secure some cheap hotel rooms for the five of us.  By cheap hotel rooms, I mean we were planning to pay for one room and sneak us all into one room.  

Upon Anthony and Jonathan’s return kevin took us for some death hill rides.  Believe me when I say this—it looks a lot safer on television.  There are cracks everywhere, and side streets at every block.  When you are going down a hill at 30 plus mph, the thought of an SUV coming out of nowhere from one of the side streets goes pumping through your brain.  To top it all off, when you have to break, say goodbye to your wheels.  Dan had just brought new wheels and by the time he was finished braking, the angle of the street was clearly visible. 

When we finished cruising around the hills of the Mission, we called it a night and tried to sneak past the hotel management, into our one room villa.  It didn’t work. That plan failed miserably.  I had to pay for another room for Dan, Greg and I.  Tired from the drive and being so late, we called it a night.  Well, not before Dan brought out a handle of the most vicious vodka known to man.  Sans Greg, we tried out best to swallow our pride and forget about our earlier fiasco.  It wasn’t easy, especially without a chaser.  Dan did manage to find some beers out in the hallway.  One of which he forgot in the freezer (what a shame). 

Bright and early the next morning, we were off to skate.  After a quick breakfast and a local bakery, we made our way towards 3rd and Army.  This spot has been in numerous videos and we saw them first hand.  Even better, we got to skate them!  With their big fat white rails above and no annoyances such as cops in sight, we had a good session at these ledges.  Jonathan took out his camera and took some great photos of Greg doing the ledges and much more. 

Left: Kevin chatting up the cashier, waiting for his breakfast bagel.  Anthony practicing self-cannibalism. Below: Greg just couldn’t win at Rock Paper Scissors. 

  Above: Greg surprising us all with ledge-rail royale, toe roll the edge 540 out.  Kevin has a clip of it.  Below: Wory taking in the sights and sounds.  He somehow ended up with all the interesting portraits.  I think it’s because he’s asian.  They make everything look stylish.  Case and point: Kevin and Soichiro.

After 3rd and Army, we made our way towards a park. Overall, this new place was magical.  There was a curved ledge that dropped to another ledge on the right, a steep stair rail in front and some nice balance rails towards the back.  Even though there was a school of some sort inside the park, we weren’t bothered at all.  It was nowhere like Long Beach or Los Angeles.  Maybe at that time, everyone was friendly and minding their businesses.  Who knows? All that mattered is we were left to do our business in peace.  Anthony being Anthony, he made short work of that spot.  

He got a nice clip where he does negative fishbrain to top soul on the stair rail—backslide to spin out on the benches—soul the balance rail to roll the ledge—then royales the gate 180 out.  It took a while… but it was worth it.  I suppose the clip will be in Kevin Yee’s new video. Or in his Inri section, I’m not sure which.

We met some people at 3rd and Army, and ended up checking out a spot up way up in the hills.

The view was absolutely stunning.  It definitely put into perspective how high and long the hills in San Francisco are.  Best advice: change your brakes before visiting.

We ended up heading over to San Francisco Community College afterwards.  The view there was just phenomenal!  The clarity and scenic visions that sprang up were awe-inspiring.  I have to say San Francisco is now on my list of places to live in the future one day.  

We skated some balance rails, while Kevin made short work of a line down a roll in and a stair rail.  Anthony skated a metal art sign that required stepping onto a flat rock to reach.

Kevin made this line look too nice.

Kevin and Anthony brainstormed about how to jump to this.  My solution was far easier: I dragged the flat stone over to step onto.

With daylight fading, we decided to head to a new spot.  Greg had one place in mind he just had to visit —   Hubbah’s Hideout.  I remember throughout the entire drive up to San Francisco, Greg was ranting about wanting to skate there.  With Kevin as our guide, we were not disappointed.  He led us to Greg’s dream ledges. 

It was surreal to see a spot that’s been so embedded into the collective consciousness of rollerblading history.  It brought back memories of being 15 again and watching Jon Julio sections. Above: Anthony wanted to get a souvenir shot with the ledge.  Below: I followed suit with my own tourist shot.



Upon first glance, the ledges were chunky!  They must have been famous for skateboarders, bikers and rollerbladers.  Hell, probably even scooterists too.  The cracks and missing chunks in these ledges were ghastly!

That didn’t stop Anthony, Kevin and Greg at all.  They went berserk and killed the already killed ledges.  Anthony was truly creative and did something Kevin said was probably a first there – he top souled the down ledge and dropped soul to the brick landing.  What is that you ask?!  To be honest, I don’t even know myself!  Kevin scored the footage, so you’ll have to wait to see!

Above: Greg catching a clip with Dan filming the most stylish backside torque.  Below: Anthony with an impossibly flat sweatstance.

Above: Take Anthony to any spot and he’ll find a new way to skate it.  Below: Kevin took three tries to lace this snazzy fakie 450 back royale on the chunkiest of the two ledges.  I had less than 10 seconds to figure out how to light him!

It got dark to skate Hubbahs, which meant we needed to find ourselves a night spot.  Kevin had just the answer: A skate park in Berkley that was lit until 9 pm.  It wasn’t big in terms of square feet, but big in that the ramps were moderately to vastly bigger than skate parks in Long Beach.  I think few people have bad times in skate parks; there’s always something to do at any given time.  We all did our thing and had a blast!  

Daylight was long gone and that brought to my mind one thing — the San Franciscan bars.  After we dropped off everyone who wasn’t of drinking age yet (Dan and Greg), Anthony, Jonathan, and I began to hit up the bars.  That night was definitely a blur.  I recall us having a drink and moving onto the next bar.  We kept repeating this.  San Francisco has bars every half-block, so this was easy to do. All I can remember is that we drank Adios, after Adios, after Adios……blurred vision…. Zzzzz.  Ha ha, good times. 

The next morning was our departure day.  It didn’t mean we wouldn’t be skating one last spot before we left though.  Kevin took us to our last spot for our San Franciscan skate journey.  It was at Junipero Serra elementary.  The spot was just the right place to chillax, skate and think about the great time we had in San Francisco.  There was a rail alongside a kinked stair ledge, as well a stair ledge that only went halfway down the stairs. Kevin Yee found a piece of plywood and placed it on the bottom of the stairs.  He booked it up the makeshift ramp, grinded fishbrain up the side rail to backslide down the stair ledge (a photo of it will be on Kevin’s conference interview soon).  It was very wicked. 

We dropped Kevin home and said our goodbyes, we took one last photo of all of us minus Jonathan, because he’s the cameraman.  Curse of the photographer right? 
Above: Greg spotted out the hidden mickey Valo sticker by Kevin’s house.  No product placement here.
After checking everything in the Safeway parking lot, we began our long journey back home.  
All in all, I’d say “The Get out of LA Tour” was an astounding success.

~ by efficiencyiskey on March 6, 2010.

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