Words/photos courtesy of Eric Hennessey
Someone had mentioned that there was a town in western Texas that had abandoned hotels that might have pools at them. It’s a boring 7- 8 hour drive from austin to get there, so nobody ever drove to see if the rumors were true. We got word that there was some work for a week in a town called Alpine which was below the infamous “pool town”. We talked to the people and set a loose plan. Drive in the bus the 7 hours to alpine,TX, work for a week, and then let the search for animal chin begin.
After working 5 days at a waste water treatment plant (raw sewage), we drove to “Pool Town, TX” to see if the talk was truth or urban legend. The town had one main street running through it that was littered with rundown abandoned hotels. We centrally parked the bus and started pedaling from hotel to hotel on the hunt for anything transition we could find. Most of the pools had been filled in with dirt and after about 40 minutes of searching my hopes were getting low. And then we found the first pool.
Being filled with water, we decided to see if there was any other pools before we sank our last few hours of daylight into bucketing slimy swamp water. There was another perfect pool 2 hotels down the street. Unfortunately, the hotel was barely still open and the pool needed too much work to make it worth the risk of being kicked out before we even got it all dry. There was only 4 hotels left until the end of the strip. after the last hotel was nothing but fields and a highway. The first 3 hotels were pool-less and the 4th was a Ramada full of paying visitors and maybe the best looking hotel on the entire street, but we checked it out anyway. JACKPOT! The perfect pool. i have never seen anything like this thing. Perfect transition, perfectly dry, and a shape that i never could have imagined.
We jumped in, each took about 2 runs, and got kicked right out by one of the employees. i guess it was time to clean out the other pool. we were bucketing smelly water well into the dark with plans for a morning session.
In the bus that night all we could talk about was the blue double pentagon pool. we decided we would go back first thing in the morning and try and get another couple runs on it. We rode that thing the next morning for like an hour! And when someone finally did come kick us out we asked “how bout a couple more runs man?” he replied “ok no problem” Also, the white kidney that we spent all night cleaning out? perfectly dry and ready to rip with no one to kick us out!
After the pools, we planned a little loop back home with a bunch of stops along the way with skateparks that we found on the “concrete disciples” website. 4 parks total. Park one was a concrete park in Pecos, TX. that was made by the local driveway company with no prior transition experience. With bumpy transitions and concrete all over the coping, this park rode more like a bad-ass ditch than a skatepark (which was awesome).
A quick stop in Odessa to ride a brand new park that was flooded with kids swarming like bees in every direction. and a 20 minute drive to Midland, TX for our 2nd to last stop.
With plans on camping in the Midland Skatepark parking lot , the park had lights so we figured we would check it out and ride it in the morning. as we started skating around the park, an older guy was sitting at the entrance to the park and asked “hey you guys skate pools?” (little did he know we barely skated flat ground and were actually just bike riders rolling around until it was time to sleep) but we replied with “well, we dont normally but would love to try!”.
After the pools we rode in the beginning of the trip we were basically thinking that was going to be the highlight and we were just winding down on our way back to home. But Tim shocked us with what he had in his back yard. Could this really be ANOTHER pool? a perfect backyard pool?
After the unbelievable hospitality from Tim and his family, letting us sleep on their couches and trusting us to be there alone and lock up while they all went to work was amazing. Tim told us about how much he used to dislike bike riders and by the end of our stay with him he was offering for us to ride our bikes on his perfect pool and giving us old freestylin’ magazines from the 80’s.(the pool even got matty itchin to ride a skateboard and by the end of the night he was carving over the light in the pool. not a bad first day of skating.)
Just a typical trip with friends to see what is out there. but coming home with an appreciation for smaller things. I kinda understand what it was like for the z boys to search out backyard pools in the 70’s. it makes me just want to go and see what else is out there. its easy to get caught up in the same routine, but its the out of the ordinary that opens your mind.