Pipe Reems

Road trips are always fun and I had a good one planned this week: get up early and drive to Upland, CA to skate the Mt. Baldy full-pipe, and be back in time for a half-day of work. After rounding up the entire Big Gun Project skate-team and a particularly surly Driver at 6:00 am, we drove across LA and into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains to ride skateboards in a big concrete tube buried in the ground.

The Mt. Baldy pipe is a 15ft. high, 300ft. long concrete drain pipe, and is generally regarded as one of the burliest skateboard spots ever found. You have to trespass on federal property, waddle through pitch-black drain tunnels and scale a 12ft. wall just to get there. Don't sweat it though, most people can't even find it.

Baldy is hairy. The darkness turns to blackness and the walls close in and the echoes ring forever and the end of the pipe becomes a little circle of light far away. You start skating downhill, creeping higher up the walls with each carve, going faster and faster until you finally break out into the light and try to stop yourself before you fall down the 12ft pit from whence you came. Your board will probably go down at least once. You will probably leave some skin on the rough concrete walls. Them's the rules. It would be ridiculously easy to cripple yourself and die in the Mt. Baldy pipe.

Anyway, I was going to write this article about how amazing an experience the trip is, what a burly place it is to skate, and how skateboarding completely embodies the whole theory of Land of Plenty. When you are skateboarding you see things differently. Empty swimming pools, drain pipes, curbs, cars- everything is reduced to a pure, physical level to be taken advantage of. Useless things receive a purpose. Urban trash becomes creative fun. Blah blah. Plus, it was good excuse to get some shots of me skateboarding in my sharp red jumpsuit, which I thought would be kind of cool.

Well, we made the trip and climbed over the fence and hiked the hike, only to find the Mt. Baldy pipe flowing with water. All the snow was melting off the mountain, and the pipe was unskateable. The small drain pipes leading in were submerged, so we couldn't even climb in just to look around. Fuck. So, with nothing else to do, I pulled out a gun and shot everyone, with no one for miles to hear their screams.

Not really. I didn't even have a gun. We hiked back to the car and went out for breakfast burritos. Everyone was a good sport. The trip was still fun, it is nice to get up that early every once in a while, and we planned on another Baldy trip sometime in the summer. So look for that and hold on to your butts.

Lessons to be learned from this LOP misadventure:

  • Things aren't always perfect; prepare for disappointment.
  • Anything can be fun with the right attitude.
  • Bring a gun wherever you go.
  • Have a 'Plan B'.

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  • hey don, go look at plan b: forward

    hey don, go look at plan b: forward