"Could I start you gentlemen off with some drinks?" the waitress at an empty steakhouse in Deming, New Mexico inquired.
"Sure, I'll have a Tecate," Ed, a staff photographer from a skateboard magazine, replied before the rest of us had the time to respond.
"What about you?" she asked me, moving around the table clockwise.
Startled, I looked up from my phone, "uhhh, I'll have another Dos Equis."
"Me to0," Jason added, draining the remnants of the round of beer we had ordered at the bar.
Before the rest of the contingent of our group could select their flavor of cheap beer, she blurted, "I have to ask, are you guys in a band?"
Laughter broke out amongst the six of us. Earlier that day at a Denny's outside of Tucson, our waiter had asked a similar question.
"No. we are skateboarders," Mike said smiling.
"Ohh my son is a really into skateboarding. What are you doing in Deming?" she let slip with a hint of booze in her manner.
"We are on a road trip looking for abandoned pools and ditches."
"Are you guys pros?!
"Thats' Mike Vallely," Tyler slurred after a day of drinking Tecates in the back of the Elephant van.
Everyone except for Tyler and the waitress cringed.
"Would you be interested in signing your autograph for him? He'd be thrilled."
"Of course, I'd be happy too. Do you have a Sharpie? We'll all sign it for him," Mike said turning towards the rest of us sitting at the booth.
Three days earlier, I left my Syncro in LA and met up with Mike and the Elephant Skate crew for a week-long trip toeing the Mexican border through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. On the search for abandoned pools and street spots, we explored floundering housing developments and drainage ditches throughout the desert. Dusting off my skateboard, I tagged along with a crew of veteran skaters and filmmakers, hearing their stories from years on the road.
No vacancy and no maintenance.
After the shot.
Jason and Tyler watching.
Mike ripping the hook.
Mike sweeping out a pool.
Road rash in the making.
Tyler Mummar doing a layback.
Red, White and Blue #vanlife.
Jason Adams taking a breather.
Our trusty Ford E series Van.
Ready to rip.
A minute after I took this photo, a large pit bull chased Ed and Tyler over the fence.
As promised, the waitress reappeared after the steaks and burgers were finished with a medium sized Sharpie and a printout of Mike airing on a quarter pipe. Standing in excitement, she watched as the print and Sharpie made its way around the table.
Ed handed me the paper and Sharpie and I nervously contemplated my signature. Cursive or print? Looking over the photo for some free real-estate, I took a moment to read the signatures. Tyler, Jason Adams and Mike Vallely's signatures were well-honed, but on the verge of legible. Mark's resembled a check signature with every character clearly scribed. Where was Ed's? A large printed name offered a hint.
Looking over at Ed, I burst out laughing.
"What? I always sign this shit as Peter North."
Here are some links,