North & South America
My dream to skate across the US developed shortly after I began inline skating in 2016, while living in Portland, Oregon. One evening, I found an abandoned pair of skates and eagerly took them home. I remember the cinderella-like experience as I slipped them on and discovered a perfect fit! Inline skating was such a fun and efficient means to explore the city that I just relocated to. As I became a better skater, I was searching for longer, more challenging treks. Realizing the ultimate journey would be a cross-country trip, I set my sights on achieving this mission.
Inline skating brings me lots of joy and serves as an emotional outlet. When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, going out on my skates helps me clear my head. Since skating has served an important role in maintaining my mental health, I chose to support an organization that is devoted to mental health awareness.
The trek lasted 54 days - 49 days of skating and five days of rest. We loosely based our route off of the ACA’s Southern Tier Bike Route and adjusted it to accommodate rollerblade-friendly terrain. We departed from San Diego’s Dog Beach on September 1, determined to finish in Jacksonville, Florida. Four days in, a flooded highway forced us to scrap nearly the entire itinerary. Each day after, we used Google Maps to determine our route and journeyed into the unknown!
Inline skating through the southwest desert and dunes was something special. I have traveled through the southern United States a handful of times, always in a vehicle but journeying on skates was a whole new experience. We got to embrace all the elements of our surroundings and the simple moments like watching the sunset from the side of the road every day, made all our efforts worth it.
Also, not quite a sight but we also encountered a fellow cross-country biker early on during our trip, Kevin. Kevin joined our caravan, stuck with us for the duration of the trip, and became our dear friend!
Oh man, every section had a different obstacle. Overall, the main challenges were deteriorating roads, extreme heat, lack of supplies, and maintaining a positive mental state. The desert roads were filled with feet-wide cracks and potholes that were constantly challenging my balance. There were some parts where the roads became gravel or sand where I’d be forced to walk in my skates for miles. Additionally, many of the roads in Texas were chip-sealed, a total skating nightmare. The constant vibration made me extremely dizzy and brought so much discomfort to my feet. These sections would slow us down to 2-3 miles which became difficult when the temperature was peaking at 115 degrees. My partners Scotty and Kevin were really patient with me.
The journey really tested my mental fitness. Inline skating for 12 hours a day, two months straight, became repetitive and tiring. However, it was one of the best times of my life! I got to see the country in a way I never have and everyone we met filled us up with lots of love and support. I’m so grateful for Scotty to join us and make it a memorable and achievable experience.
Please consider donating with this link - https://give.twloha.com/fundraiser/3333182 Your support for mental health awareness and services is deeply appreciated.