Morro Bay resident Jack Smith is skateboarding across America to raise money for Alzheimer's research. Smith and his "A Push to Remember" team is hoping to raise $100,000 on their three-week trek from Oregon to New York. For the team's route and other information, visit http://www.apushtoremember.com/.
The day started on a bad note. Marc was very sick. For the first half of the day he was puking at every stop. Once again we were beaten by the narrow, no-shoulder, twisting, of roads of Pennsylvania, that seem to be populated by wannabee NASCAR drivers. Made it to Colleen's parents house for a nice lunch and then headed to NYC. Noel Korman met us at the GW Bridge and guided us to the Dark Tower Hill.
We were met there by Haluk Luke Ayata and Matt Burke of Blue Sky Longboards and about 30 skaters who were there to skate the last 10 miles with us. Josh Maready, who skated across America with me in 2003 was also there and skated with me at the back of the pack, and guided me through my first "NYC street skating" adventure, something I'm not sure I wish to repeat!
We made our way to Uncle Funkys shop; hung out there for awhile, it was good to see Jeff again. What a great store. Then it was on to the Longboard Loft, our final stop. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a bunch more skaters and the Push Culture crew of Brian Jacob Davenport, Travis Davenport and Jenica Davenport. After a quick interview of the team, a raffle of decks and other goodies ensued, raising an additional $200+ for the Alzheimer's Association. Matt of Blue Sky Longboards, through his "Pushing Wood and Doing Good" initiative also made a donation of over $300 to the Alzheimer's Association. Blue Sky will also be auctioning off one of their Finch decks that was signed by all the PTR skaters, so keep your eyes open for that. After more interviews it was time for dinner, showers and sleep...at least for me and Cathy. The rest of the "kids" went skating!
A big thank you to the NYC longboard community for the tremendous welcome we received. Special thanks to Noel, Luke, Matt, Brian, Travis, Jenica and Shayne.
As I type this, the rest of the team is out sorting gear and cleaning up the support van, our "spaceship" for the last 25 days. As we all go our separate ways today I want to thank Colleen Pelech, Marc Juvinall, Melanie Leilani Castro, Dylan Smith and my wife Cathy for their incredible efforts on this journey. They all took a month out of their lives to skate across this great country, raising awareness, research and care funds for Alzheimer's Disease.
They put up with my constant and overbearing harping about safety, being on time and my general lack of patience. They did this with good cheer and good attitudes, which led to a successful push on many different levels.
I would also like to give special recognition to my son, Dylan Smith, who built the PTR website, did a great majority of the route planning before and during the trip. He was also my personal skateboard mechanic during the push. It was a great experience to skateboard across America with him.
Without the tremendous support and patience of my wife Cathy, who talked me down from the ledge numerous times, the push would have imploded very early on. I am a very lucky man to have such a wonderful wife. I have promised her, that next summer is her summer!
Our team photographer/videographer and fill in skater, Dylan Baumann also did a tremendous job documenting the push.
Once again I would like to thank all the skateboard companies, non-skateboard companies and individual sponsors who made "A Push to Remember - Skateboarding Across America to End Alzheimer's" possible. A quick special thanks to Billy Smith and Bill Luffee my bosses at VS Athletics for understanding why I needed to make this push. Also a shout out to Jackson Harper and Austin Law for keeping the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum running during my absence, and to Bill and Tracy Shewchuck for taking care of the bus.
This was a very personal journey for me. My dad was with me every push of the way, just as he was throughout my entire life. And though he didn't quite understand it when I started skateboarding at age 17 in 1974, he soon became my biggest supporter. Without the financial support of my mom, Barbara Smith, Dylan would not have been able to make the push...thanks mom! Another thanks to my brother, Vince, for supplying the support vehicle.
Once again, the kindness shown to the PTR team by the people we met during our push has reaffirmed my faith and belief that there are good people throughout America, sometimes you just have to push your skateboard through their town to find them.
Over the next few weeks we will be posting more articles, videos and photos...stay tuned.
Jack, Dylan, Colleen, Melanie, Marc, Cathy and Dylan (Treeman)