Back in 1991, I headed from Virginia to Florida for a big bmx skatepark competition. It was a really big deal back then. As I recruited some friends to go, we decided to rent a (dum de dum dum duuummmmm…..!) mini van. I had never drove one yet, but I thought they were cool. So we rented a Pontiac Transport that was 1/2 car and 1/2 space shuttle. It was cooler than cool.
Now I realize that a mini van isn’t cool. But when you’re in college, the thought of all of your friends getting to travel in one car instead of two was really exciting, especially back then when it didn’t happen often. So, we rented a mini van that could seat seven, but ended up with nine going. We crammed nine bikes, spare parts, safety gear, luggage, and people into that thing, and left on a Thursday night to drive through the night to Daytona Beach in Florida. It was nuts! We had bikes and parts strapped to the roof, to a WAY overloaded bike rack on the back, and crammed floor to ceiling in the van. We had people literally buried under suitcases who had to be rescued whenever we stopped. We had guys riding on the floor next to seats. It was packed, loaded, close quarters, hot, and smelly. Hands down, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
It was great because I loved the guys who went. And we were out to accomplish the mighty task of having fun and adventure. The conditions only made it that much crazier and funnier. We loved every truck stop we hit, with people counting as we got out of our clown car. We laughed at jokes, yelled at each other, and generally had a time of mayhem.
There are so many stories from this one trip. We lost the place we were supposed to stay, so we crashed in a single hotel room, only to have eight more guys join us. We have at least six stories from just the competition itself. There is a classic story of Eight Ball having a run in with a Quickie Mart clerk in the middle of Georgia at three am. So much fun and memories.
When I think of what community can be like at it’s best, I think of this trip. I miss those guys. I miss those times. I miss being that well known, accepted, and loved. I long for it. I mean, my family far exceeds those bonds, don’t misunderstand me. But outside of my family, it’s hard to come by those types of relationships. We are too busy, too pre-occupied, too overcommitted, too tired. But I know one day, this world will pass. There is more to life than what we see here. So, I’ll continue working to build community with those around me. I’ll love, give, pray, and hope. But I know one day, there is a world of mini vans and too much luggage coming. Actually, one far far better than anything I’ve ever seen or tasted yet. I’m ready for that road trip, no doubt!