Winnipeg Roadtrip report
Words by Michel Plonka
We started this off by leaving Montreal, Louis and myself, and heading to Ottawa to pick up Jeremy. This being done, we jump in the van and head to Claremont to catch some sleep at Matt's place, while obviously stopping to enjoy some delicious curly fries at Arby's on the way. Its always super fun to stay at Matt's place since his family is always stoked to help us out. The next day, we are finally good to go. So we get going on this 7000 kms adventure! We decide to head to some town (that will remain anonymous by respect for the jump builders) and we get some park riding done, and as we get to the park, a bunch of kids saw the van and were super stoked already! We sure had fun there, and as it got darker, we met up with one of Jeremy's friends, that has some super sick dirtjumps going. We headed there, checked them out, had some brews around a bonfire, and slept at the jumps.
As we wake up the next morning, the guys just arrived with some coffees for us! We had a super sick day there riding and chilling with everyone, despite a pretty windy day. Big thanks to the guys@the jump, we had a wicked time! Then, we went back on the road, stopped at a couple spots to eat, chill and enjoy what the beautiful northern Ontario has to offer. We drove for a long time and stopped to sleep at some rest area.
We woke up to this nice view and fresh Ontarian forest breeze, really sick place. We then drove the couple hours we had left to get to Thunder Bay.
The skatepark was super sick, we sessioned it for a couple hours, and got back on the road, drove for a bit and got to the Kenora skatepark late at night. It was raining, so we snaked into some camping place where there was this picnic area with a roof over it, perfect spot for a nice nap! We only got kicked out at around 11am so this operation was definitly a success! Then, we headed to the Kenora skatepark, cooked some breakfast and spent the day there. It really drives us crazy to see that a town like that with a population of about 17 000 people has a park that destroys anything we have here in Quebec!
We took showers in the sport complex right by the park and kept going towards Winnipeg, where we arrived a couple hours later. We first needed to find a place to camp, and the Komenda skatepark happened to be the best spot we could possibly hope for. A crazy ass brand new skatepark in the middle of nowhere, while still being at about 20 minutes from Downtown Winnipeg. This place became our home for 3 nights, it had a perfect spot for a fire, nobody that would care about us sleeping there, some random cars that would show up in the parking lot to smoke their tires every hour or so late at night, you know: the usual suburbs neibourhood where theres nothing to do...
We rode 3 parks there during our 3 days stay: Komenda pretty much every morning and night, since it was our Home, the Forks, and some other small concrete park. Forks is such a crazy park, huge skate plaza kind of thing, and a huge bowl, everything pretty much brand new!
After our nice three-day-stay at the Komenda skatepark ''campground'', we jumped back in the van and slowly started heading home by the US and A. Got searched at the border as usual, and then we drove all day through Minnesota, getting lost in some fields with towns of not even 100 people. Oh, and Matt jumped down some pretty epic roof like it was nothing. We made it to a point where sleep was calling us so we drove off the highway and drove into some small gravel road in between fields. We thought it would be a good idea to setup a tent for 2 of us and 2 would sleep in the car because there was a lot of bugs. About an hour after going to sleep, the craziest thunderstorm I have ever seen woke us up, almost tearing the tent appart like it was a peice of paper! We took the tent down in about 45 seconds and threw everything in the van, started to drive back to the main road and it started raining and hailing like crazy! So we slept like shit in the van. After that, we headed to Minneapolis to ride some stuff but ended up realizing that the legendary Mall Of America was only minutes away, so we had to go check that out! Place was dope, we bought some cheap shoes, Jeremy was pissed because the VANS store had no half cabs in stock, so we went back on the road, stopped for some KD,
got back on the road for a while and stopped for a little sleep in some parking lot. The next morning, we headed towards Milwaukee, we found this nice prefab park right beside the highway so we rode that for a bit,
and then headed to 4 season skatepark, which was really sick!
After this session, we went to a little restaurant 10 minutes away (that we really recommend, if you are around) because it has some really awesome burgers.
After that, we chilled a bit in Milwaukee and got back on the road.
We kept seeing signs for a town called Kalamazoo and we thought it sounded funny so we got there and there was some big party at the local bar, but it ended up being pretty shitty. We found a sick spot for sleep, in a parking lot behind a church, so we had a couple cold ones and passed out. We got woken up around 10am by a man offering us to take showers and have breakfast in the church, how awesome is that? We felt a little awkward in there but still, it was really appreciated!
This being done, it was time for us to head back to Canada, so we started driving to the border, which was supposed to take about 3 or 4 hours, but we ended up getting lost twice because nobody would pay attention to the signs, as we were too focused on the crazy freestyles happening in the van (after all, its pretty easy to get confused when the H-69 crosses the H-96 isnt it?). We finally made it back to Canada, and we decided to spend our last night on the road in some small college town near London. We spotted a church right by the main street so we parked there, emptied some beers and headed towards the bars. There was 4 bars, and three of them had live bands, thats pretty sick! This being done, we went back to the van, chilled a bit, and as we all went to sleep Matt thought it would be a good idea to go cruise around the parking lot on the skateboard. Long story short, he went down a road leaving the parking and crossing the main road (a pretty good hill) and ended up getting hit by an upcoming car, at 3:30 am! He cracked the windshield, broke the side mirror, he definitely got hit hard! The cops and ambulance showed up, took him to the hospital and all that, and before we even woke up he arrived on foot, from the hospital, at like 6:30am, with like 2 minor scratches!!! Unbelievable! Our trip had pretty much come to an end, so we dropped off Matt at his place, then drove back to Ottawa to drop Jeremy, and we headed back to MTL. There was a party at TRHQ when we arrived so that was pretty fun. Overall, this trip was a great success, even if myself and Jeremy barely rode bikes due to injuries, we still met some good people, had an awesome mic/laptop/live beats/sound system setup in the van to make the road more fun, saw some awesome places, washed in lakes, gypsy to the fullest!
There will be a video of the trip dropping sometime soon, featuring pretty much only Matt and Louis with some clips from Jeremy, should be pretty sick!