From Neal…

Our Sk8 crew got a dose of new blood when Willem’s dad, Paul, hopped aboard in San Francisco. It’s nice to have a co-pilot again – corralling four teen boys is no easy task.

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The addition of Paul has also helped provide some much-needed perspective. Paul is a skateboarder, and an observer of the dynamics of different skateparks and skate scenes. One of my expectations for this road trip had been to develop some insider’s understanding of the culture of skating, some deeper sense of what inspires my sons and their friends, some revelation. But it’s been hard enough just getting from place to place, feeding kids, washing clothes, with little time left for reflection.

But hearing Paul’s views of the few skate scenes we’ve visited – in San Francisco and Sacramento – has given me a different view of the subtle social interactions among skaters. For example, at the Tanzanite skatepark in Sacramento, our boys didn’t interact much with the other skaters. (Though I did meet two skaters visiting from Portland, and gave them a couple bars of Max Williams’ homemade Ledge Lovas skate wax).

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donating Ledge Lovas wax to locals

At the FTC skate shop in downtown Sacramento, on the other hand, the boys instantly befriended the two shop owners, who were friends with the Uprise shop we had visited in Chicago and knew a couple of our Seattle shops (35th North, Goods). We gave them some Ledge Lovas skate wax and some ‘Sk8 the St8s’ stickers, and they gave the boys a discount (shoes for Sean, cruiser boards for Leo and Nathan, a hoodie for Willem).

FTC Skate Shop, Sacramento

One of the managers and I talked about how intimate the skate community is, and how it shrinks the world a little. “It shows kids that the world is smaller than they realize and that people in different places are more alike than you’d think,” he said.

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To follow the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, check out http://sk8thest8s.cbslocal.com/