From Neal…

Last week in Charlotte, NC, we had experienced our first run-in with the legalistic side of skateboarding. It happened again today, at Eisenbergs Skatepark, in the northern Dallas suburb of Plano. To protect themselves against lawsuits, skateparks in recent years have had to lawyer up, many of them now requiring waivers, release forms, notarizations and all sorts of warning signs – “No helmet? No skating!” In Charlotte, we failed. Today, thanks to our road trip’s cache of tech gear, we succeeded. 

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It played out like this…

After a five-hour drive from Tulsa, the boys were aching to skate. They had scoped out Eisenbergs online, preferring an indoor park in this heat, which has exceeded 100 degrees every day of our road trip. But Eisenbergs requires a waiver signed by a parent, which meant Willem and Nathan, with parents back in Seattle, couldn’t skate. In a flurry of phone calls, faxes, emails, and smart phone photography, we managed to get signed waivers from both boys’ parents within an hour. Nathan’s folks came through while driving (thanks to a smart phone and an iPad), while Willem’s dad relied on an old-fashioned fax machine at his office.

The two on-site managers, BK and Joey, were very patient and flexible with us. During the moments of waiting for emails and faxes, Lou and I learned a bit about the park.

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It was opened in 1997 by Vicki Eisenberg, a former publicity and literary agent, and her ex-husband. Their son, Arlo, was a competitive inline (i.e. Rollerblade) skater who founded a successful skate fashion company, Senate. Housed inside a massive warehouse, the park has 50,000 square feet of skate space, half of it inside and half beneath a warehouse roof with roll-up garage doors. There’s a stage for live music, a snack bar, a video room, an arcade room… It’s an impressive place.

The boys made friends quickly while waiting for all the paperwork, and by the time they got the okay to skate they were fired up. They skated for more than two hours and did flips into the foam pit. We had to drag them away so we could check into our swanky downtown Dallas hotel, the Fairmont. (Once again Hotwire came through with a cheap rate).

Tomorrow, after a morning skate session, we’ll start the long drive toward Phoenix.

To follow the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, check out