Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Comprehensive Guide to Street Skating Spots in Pocatello

I don't have a blanky. Don't hold any lasting affection for a G.I. Joe set I once owned. I tell you this to say simply that I'm not a sentimental guy by nature. Things have just been things to me since before I can remember. Not that I didn't enjoy, play with, or love my things, I did and I still do. But I'm not the guy that keeps a thing around just because. Those people are of a different kind.

The sentimental well is dry when it comes to things, but places, that's a different thing all together. I'm really attached to places. The Oregon coast where we vacationed as kids, our cabin in Ashton that had grasshoppers the size of small cats, the mountain that stands behind my parent's home that was the finest lizard hunting ground in town. Those are the things I get sentimental about. I have a lot of places that are special to me.

While visiting my parents some weeks ago, I decided to take Natalie out to see some of my special places. Skateboarding is a big part of the mixture that makes up Josh Ormond, so I took Natalie to all my favorite skate spots around Pocatello. These spots were my friends. Like, for real. It's weird, it's funny, it's crazy, I know. But they were. Each one had it's own personality and I treated these spots as my friends.

Taking Natalie to these spots was a lot of fun. I found myself driving the exact routes I did as a teenager. Coming in from the back alley or the parking lot across the street so I wouldn't raise suspicion and get rolled out by the cops. It was totally unnecessary of course, but habits die hard. Every spot had its own set of memories and just being in those spots let me relive them. I tried to describe the highlights to Natalie, but I'm not sure she was all that interested in how long it took Dustin and I to get this one curb to actually grind right. Being in these spots was like being with old friends, some had changed, some had passed away, but most were the same as I remembered. So here's a list with some pictures of my favorite skate spots in Pocatello.

Simplot Square

Pocatello was divided into three distinct skate zones. There was old town made up of Pocatello High School, various banks, and Simplot Square: the university with tons of rails, stairs, drops, bumps and curbs; and miscellaneous, which covered pretty much everything else we could find that was interesting and skate-able.

Simplot Square was the nexus of the old town skate zone. It wasn't even in the center of old town, but some how every skate session would start and end there. It has curbs aplenty. A sweet step down. Shade, water, and seclusion from cops. It was rare to get kicked out of the Square. It's one of my favorite spots to this day. On any given day you could roll up and find the place packed with skaters.

The skate park has taken it's toll on Simplot Square. Ever since it opened, kids have skated real street less and less. The Square shows its neglect. Previously buttered curbs, now dry as a bone. When I arrived on the scene to take these photos, there wasn't a skater in sight. It was rare to have a moment to yourself in the Square. I made the most of it and took some laps over the step down.

(The Simplot Square step down. Lots of tricks were learned over this thing.)

Key Bank Parking Lot

Also part of the old town skate zone. This spot had a good mix of features. There was a large round rail that ran on the side of the drive-through on the far right of the picture. A manual pad on the other side of the drive-through (not pictured). And ample room to do flatland tricks (it's a parking lot after all). But most of the action centered around this little curb. It's a parking space with a concrete peninsula. The peninsula was great for all kinds of grinds and slides. And if you were feeling really creative, you could throw some flip tricks over it. It was a great little spot. And Simplot Square was right across the street so it was in the perfect location.

I remember skating there one day with a huge group of like ten people. We were like a swarm of skateboarding energy. My good friend Jared, who wasn't all that good a skateboarder, was with us and trying to ollie up this side walk. He finally got up on it but lost his balance and looped out. Well he did something weird in the air and when he landed he broke is ankle. That was the first broken bone I witnessed while skating. There were more to come. Mostly mine.

Now, like Simplot Square, all the wax is dried up, no one skates there, and it's gone back to just being a parking lot. I had to snap a quick ollie over the peninsula just to stick it to the man.

City Bank Manual Pad

Directly across the street from the Key Bank spot was this little gem. It's essentially a sidewalk in the middle of a parking lot. But we used it to show off our tech skills. We would manual (that's skate lingo for doing wheelies) this thing for hours. That's all there was in this spot, just the manual pad. If you had really good balance, you would manual it the long way. I was never all that good at manualing so I never made it to the end the long way.

This spot was pretty fun. It was right off main street and cops would drive by all the time. I never remember being kicked out of the place. No one seemed to mind that we were just jumping up onto a sidewalk and then off the other end. The City Bank Manual Pad wasn't something you went to exclusively, but it was always part of the old town circuit.

The Bump (RIP)

The first reported casualty. This was nothing more than a heave in the sidewalk on the south side of the City Bank Manual Pad. Two segments of sidewalk came together and like tectonic plates neither wanted to move backward, so they moved up. It made the perfect natural launch pad. This is where we honed our flip tricks. It wasn't uncommon to see chest high kickflips thrown over this thing. For awhile we had a safety cone stashed behind some dumpsters in the adjacent alley way. We would set that up and throw everything we could think of over it.

Now it looks like the city finally got the funding to re-pour the sidewalk on that block. The bump is now a driveway. I was pretty bummed to see that it was gone. It was a great spot. It was out of the way, stayed in the shade for most of the day, and above all was really fun to skate. Rest in piece Bump. I'll be shredding you in the Celestial.

(Like standing atop a grave.)

The Blue Round Rail

The big wall you see behind me is my high school auditorium. And just to the left is my seminary building. This rail was skated a lot. It was one of the more technical rails to skate. You had to be totally committed to what you were doing or the Blue Round Rail would own you. The side walk was all rutted out from years of frost and melt. It was like a river rock wall turned on its side. The black top wasn't much better. It was rough and if you went down on it you were guaranteed a good shredding. Plus the rail itself wasn't all that smooth. It had dents, dings, and kinks aplenty. But that just added to its coolness.

You could start your grind from the blacktop and transfer over to the sidewalk. That was crazy fun. The rail was built to go around the perimeter of a credit union and the drive-through window ladies wouldn't take kindly to us shredding the Blue Round Rail. We would get two or three grinds in before they would start yelling at us over the PA. So the Blue Round Rail was a night mission spot, which added to the danger factor. You had to rely on the street lights from the school. So everything was covered in shadow. This is a good skate spot.
(It doubled as a decent chair too.)


Well this one is more of an institution than a spot really. It was on the border of the university skate zone, but really it was the middle of the Pocatello skate scene. B-Side was a little duplex turned into a skate shop, and it meant the world to us. The owner was a guy by the name of Brandon Flyg. He was a local skater, born and raised, that dreamed to open a skate shop someday. Brandon actually taught me how to do my first pop-shove-it years before he opened B-Side. We loved this shop. We were devoted to this shop. One of the guys I used to skate with actually got the address tattooed on his arm. Brandon converted the front curbs into the perfect ledges. He put angled steel caps on the longest curb and it was awesome. I'm sitting on what remains of our skate sessions there. The curb to the left is the end of the long angled steel curb.

Brandon eventually moved his shop into old town because rent was cheaper. By that time I was on my mission. I returned to find the shop in a deteriorating condition. Inventory was at a bare minimum, no one was around. It was empty. Zumiez had opened and the skateboarding naive abandoned the institution that put skating on the map for Pocatello. Brandon was forced to close his doors. He moved to California and took a design job for a skate company there. I still drive by the old shop and reminisce. That shop was our connection to the rest of the skate world. It made us feel apart of something bigger than ourselves. We were skaters and we weren't alone. That's a big deal to a bunch of kids that felt like they were on the outside.

B-Side was a force for change in the city. The Pocatello Skate Park Committee formed there. We got ourselves organized, lobbied for support, and raised a quarter of a million dollars to build our own skate park. And it all started on B-Side's front porch.

Fast side story. The building to the right in the image is a Kinkos. We used to get on the roof and ollie off it into the parking lot. Yeah, it was stupid. But I'll tell you what, when you can roll away after jumping off a building, you're the baddest dude around. The only thing that could make that cooler is if the building exploded behind you.

University Library Bank

The university skate zone was massive. There are too many awesome spots to list. But this one was one of my personal favorites. Well my favorite that still exists anyway. It was in the back lot of the university library. It was a bank that went from about knee high to waist high with a set of stairs in the middle. We used it as a quarter pipe and pulled some of the craziest tricks on this thing. Plus, there was a manual pad and curb across the parking lot, a loading dock drop, and one of the heaviest stair gaps in town just around the corner. This spot had something for everyone.

The one problem with this spot and all the university skate zone spots was security. University public safety were always around and always anxious to kick you off campus. As a result, we could never stay in one spot for very long, fifteen, twenty minutes tops. Public safety weren't cops, cops we could handle. Cops would roll up roll down a window and ask us to leave. No big deal. Public safety liked to make a show of force. They would screech into a spot in their cars and bicycles and just start screaming at you to "Stop what you're doing and line up against the car." Seriously, public safety would come out with two cars and four dudes on bikes. At best they would only take your name and kick you off campus for a day, week, or life. (I was banned from campus for life several times.) At worst they would slap cuffs on you, take your skateboard, and threaten you with jail time and huge trespassing fines. But the spots were worth it. Public safety bozos were the price we had to pay for the spots. And we paid it gladly.

Quick story about this little shed. One night Kyle and I were skating the bank. Kyle happened to glance over at the road that runs along side the bank just as a public safety guy drives by. We know that if one public safety car sees us, the bike patrol isn't far behind. So we bolt and hide in this little shed. Now Kyle's like 6'4" and I'm like 6'2"-ish give or take a foot (What? I'm only 5'9"? whatever). We were crammed in this shed full of hoses and lawn equipment and we can see out into the parking lot. As soon as we get the door shut, here comes the public safety car blasting around the corner. Then we see two public safety bikes zip by from the opposite direction. They're all just standing in the middle of the parking lot looking for us, and me and Kyle are trying so hard not to loose it. After about ten minutes the public safety guys gave up the search and moved on. Me and Kyle booked it to B-Side and shared the story about how we got away. It was epic.

So there you have it. Those are some of my favorite spots. The places I get sentimental over. In retrospect it isn't the places themselves that hold sentimental value to me. I guess it's the friends and experiences associated with these places. I'm still close to most of my skate friends. And their friendship never depended on a place, but I'm glad we had these places to share. We grew up together, met the world with each other, and I'm grateful for it.

I called these spots my friends, and they are. But really they're echos of actual people that I have the actual pleasure of calling my friends. I hope these spots remain for as long as my friendships do. Because when I'm in these spots I'm fourteen all over again. And when I'm with my friends I hope I'm the same fourteen year old kid that they trusted with their friendship. Now that, I can get sentimental about.

The Epicness Comes

Tonight brings forth a new post.

Tonight a craggy word peak will blast forth into the world.

The unicorn dance party in heaven is about to get down.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July Summer Weekend

Last weekend was fantastic. Weekends are always pretty great for me. I get to hangout with my BBF/husband Josh and we do fun stuff. But some weekends are better then other weekends, like last weekend.

Friday night we dined at Lonestar Taqueria. It is Utahs best Mexican food. I'm more of a fan of fresh beach mexican food then sit down "fancy" mexican food. Naturally I am so in love with this place!

Then we went to the Gateway to see Inception. Awesome movie with a great story, actors and action.

Saturday morning we did yard work. I have been working on clearing out/cleaning up an over grown lilac tree corner and I finally finished it! Plus earlier in the week we made $250.00 from the power company because our trees were up in the wires. So they paid us to cut down and remove the trees. It was a win win situation! So now that back corner looks nice and organized. Josh snuck this photo of me watering where my dad and I planted new grass seeds. The grass is totally growing back!

It was already in the 90's when we were outside working. We decided to go swimming. We went to Pineview lake to cool off. It was so refreshing to be in the water. Summer to me means beach time and this was the closest thing to a beach. There was even sand and baby waves. I had a lot of fun!

Later that night our friend Scott was staring in the King and I. It was a really fun play and Scott did an awesome job. It was outside in this really cool cutout grove of tress. Perfect temp.

Sunday we had President Monson in our ward. Which you can read about in my last post. Jackie came down and spent the night and we had fun with her too.

It was a great summer weekend. The weekend that I had just now was great too. I will be posting about it soon.

P.S. Yetti is so cute!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Surprise Visitor

This is not the "epic" post, but it's pretty epic if you ask me.

Most days at Church on Sunday are pretty routine. It's the way Church is done. You can attend any LDS Church anywhere in the world and they will be doing the same things as any other LDS Church in the world. So yesterday to my surprise it was nothing, but routine. After the opening announcements and Hymn was sang people started to slowly stand up. Standing up during church doesn't happen until after its over. So I was thinking what is going on, is someone hurt, did I miss something? Then some people opened the side door, which is out of routine as well. Then people came in though the side door.

You will never guess who came through the side door . . . Thomas S. Monson! The Prophet of our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I could not believe it. The Prophet was joining us for Sacrament Meeting. It was so surreal.

His great granddaughter was being blessed. It turns out we have relatives of his in our ward. This was by far the best Sacrament Meeting, besides the first one I attended. The Spirit was so strong in the room.

President Monson spoke at the end of the meeting. He spoke about his own family history since the theme of the day was on the importance of families, temples and eternal families. He mostly talked about he and his wife Francis' history. The story of how they meet and dated is so cute. When he joined the Navy her told her she could date anyone. He then said how dumb of him it was to say something like that. He laughed about it. In the end it worked out because they eventually were married. He also said he is a night owl. He stayed up till 1 editing his latest biography. He said he doesn't need much sleep, but others do like his Francis. He then told her to wake up. He chuckled again. It was fun to hear him speak when its not at general conference. He really spoke from the heart. Not that he doesn't do that already but it was more spur of the moment from the heart type of talk.

He also said to always trust in the Lord and to not give up on Him. The Lord is there to take care of your plan here on earth for you. He told the men to treat their wives like the angles that they are. In his final remarks he left a blessing on the ward and said the ward will prosper and that we will be blessed for the way that we conduct ourselves. He also said again to always trust in the Lord and to not give up on Him. The Lord is there for us.

It was a pretty fantastic to hear from the Prophet. His words of counsel were just what I needed. It was quite an honor to be in the presence of the prophet. I will always remember the Sunday when the Prophet joined us for Church.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Coming...

Prepare your minds because they're about to be blown.

An epic post of such galactic epicness that all the unicorns in heaven will simultaneously shout hallelujah.
The jubilation jubulates soon.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wyrick Week

It is beginning to be a tradition to have my family out here for a week in July. Last year they were here and we did this. So for the summer of the twenty to the ten we did this:

REAL game. Josh and I love going to Real Games so we had to take the family to one. It was an awesome game. 5-0 and fireworks! Plus Findley was back from the USA World Cup Team and he was amazing. Every time he had the ball and was close to the goal everyone went crazy!


After the game all of the Fans got to go down to the field to watch the fireworks. It was a good show. I was also admiring how beautiful the fields grass was. I wish my yard looked that good!

We also did a TON of yard work. I told my parents to bring their work gloves. My dad is a yard master and I asked him to help me. Every morning we pulled weeds for hours and hours. My yard is almost weed free! We planted new grass and cut away some of the plants on the east side of the house. My dad also helped me figure out how to water the parts of my yard where the sprinkler system doesn't work. It gets so hot here that you can only really do yard work before 9am and then after 6 pm. After last week the yard has been looking much better. The trash can proves it with all of the weeds and overgrown plants!

So remember how on Joshes birthday we went indoor ski-diving??? Well we had to take my Dad. It was AWESOME the second time. I felt like I was getting the hang of it more. My Dad absolutely LOVED it. He loves the science behind planes and flying so this was right up his alley. He had a huge grin the whole time. Michelle is the photographer for these photos. Videos to come, because my mom took video of us with Joshes new girlfriend/obsession . . . oops, i mean Droid Incredible.

I'm a birdie!

Josh is a flying jolly green giant!

My dad LOVING it!

We then went to Toy Story 3. I'm kinda a big fan of Toy Story. The first one came out when I was 10 so I was still really into being a kid and loving Disney (don't you worry I still love Disney). Plus it was my first Pixar Movie. The third one didn't disappoint. I laughed and cried. Then like really cried. It made me miss being a kid, playing and loving my toys. Ah the memories. If you haven't seen it go see it right now!

We watched the 3rd of July fireworks from the Bountiful Golf course. We watched them from a Stake Center nearby.

On Sunday the 4th we had our own firework show since we live in UT and people like the keep the Sabbath day Holy and they don't really do any shows on Sunday. We lit off some Roman Candles.

The cats have also been having a relaxing vacation. It is so hot for them! Look how cute they look.

Gnarly might look like shes not into me squeezing her and telling her how cute she is, but deep down inside she loves it!

We went to Raging Waters this year again. I just love lazy rivers and being outside in the hot sun in my bathing suit! Josh and I discovered some new slides that make you fly up in the air. They were fun. FYI it's not good to forget to put sunscreen on your knee caps. They turn really red and hurt.

My street had a Firework party on the 5th. Have I ever mentioned we live on quite possibly coolest street in America? We all gathered around the cul-de-sac for our exclusive neighborhood firework show. It was the best firework show of the weekend. It is so exciting when they are so close you you!

It was a fun visit. My parents also went house hunting. They could be moving here someday!

Here is the Michelle video from this trip. Of course Lady Gaga did the soundtrack and Josh did the video.