Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tallahassee: Florida Panthers, Confederate civil war graves, and dozens of police saying "you can't do that here."

“Hey Matt, I think you just drove through wet paint.”
I walk out of the coffee shop, Ty’s hanging halfway out of my car, his torso hovering over a puddle of fresh, white house paint.
“I think we have a problem here…”
Thursday, February 28th, 10:30pm, Gainesville, Florida. It’s about 40 degrees. For the next hour, me and my friends Ty Stuyvesant and Mark Mulville scrub white paint off of my rims, tires, and wheel wells. By 11:30pm our wet hands are frozen, we’re tired, and we still have to finish the 2-1/2 hour drive northwest to meet up with another group of friends; Chad Degroot, Dave McDermott, Jeff K., and Brian Kachinsky.
This wasn’t the best way to start our weekend trip to Tallahassee.

(Check out my new white wall tires...beautiful)
About an hour away from Tallahassee the coffee is wearing off. I keep asking Mulville to tell me stories so I have a reason to stay awake. Off in the distance on the side of the road, my headlights reflect off of two marble sized objects. As we get closer, those marble reflections become the two eyes of an animal runs against us. Mark screams “Did you see that?” waking Ty up from the back seat.

I turn to Mark, “I saw it too…looked like a Florida Panther to me.”

For the rest of the ride to Tallahassee, Mulville and I revel on the possibility of what we saw. Spotting a Florida panther today is as likely as winning a million dollars on a scratch off ticket.

(Me in front of the Capital building wondering when our governor is going to come out of the closet)
By 1AM we roll past the capital building and into our motel room. Three days in Tallahassee; here we go.

A little background on Tallahassee:
1.It’s the capital city of Florida.
2.It’s probably the hilliest section of Florida offering up plenty of rails, ledges, and stairs for us to ride.
3.It’s the only big(ger) city in Florida that is reminiscent of the South.
4.There are two, huge Universities: FSU and FAMU. Both campuses have a ton of stuff to ride, but also have heavy security to stop you from doing so.
5.It has a dialed cement park. But like most skate parks in Florida, “no bikes allowed.”
(A really, really old and wild shaped live oak near downtown)
Friday morning we woke up and immediately pedaled into downtown to check out some spots and get some breakfast. By noon, we headed onto FSU campus. And within 10 minutes, FSU police had kicked us out and warned of arrest on our return. This cat and mouse game went down at the capital building, the stadium, under a random overpass, and finally at some federal building on the outskirts of town. By 5pm, we were kicked out of 5 dialed spots. In desperation to have a decent session, we headed to the skatepark in hopes that we wouldn’t get the boot.

On arrival, the park was packed. We loaded out and hung out in the bleachers like a bunch of vultures waiting for some spare carrion. Slowly we made our way in to shmooze with the locals. Rule of thumb: At an anti-bike-park, It’s always good to butter up the locals. Be friendly, ask questions, get permission to ride…this always seems to work. Well, at least it worked for us on that Friday night. We got a good three hour session in which pulled us out of a trip slump.

From then on we were pretty motivated and the weekend ended up producing some pretty unique (possibly) untouched spots on the fringe of the city.

(I just recently learned the difference between "cabbage" and "Washingtonian" palms. These are cabbage palms. In celebration of my new knowledge, I jump between two)

(Old city cemetary and dozens of unmarked, confederate civil war graves)

(Ty tabling out of an unrideable transition behind someone's apartment while I film in the blazing hot sun)

(The infamous witch grave of Tallahassee...old Bessie with Mulville as a model)

(Chad Degroot. Roof hop at FAMU minutes before we got kicked out by security)
-He Said

1 comment:

mangler said...

i really miss doin trips with you fla dudes. always a good time. so many good stories and memories have come from them. hopefully i can do it again in the near future.