Buschmann looks back on record trek
He did it.
Tyler Buschmann returned to Truckee last month after completing his four-month journey across the United States on a skateboard and in the process possibly setting a Guinness world record.
Buschmann transported himself on a skateboard (he went through three MBS mountainboards and two Sector 9 longboards) roughly 3,700 miles from San Francisco, where he left Nov. 17, 2000, to New York City’s Times Square, where he arrived March 12, 2001. Buschmann flew back to Truckee after a short stint in Manhattan, and has returned to work.
The last time we heard from Buschmann himself, the 19-year-old Truckee resident was still on his quest to become the first person to kick a board across the country; it was the middle of January and Buschmann was in Denver preparing for the second leg of his transcontinental trip, traveling through the Midwest.
His partners had left him – one announced, the other not – and the Truckeeite was alone on the national landscape, out looking for America and a place to stay for the night. After waiting out one snowstorm after another in Kansas, Buschmann pushed through what he considered the dismal plains of the Sunflower State through the Rust Belt over the Appalachian Mountains to the East Coast.
After 15 states, a couple of nights in jail, four pairs of shoes and hundreds of people met, Buschmann maintained it was a gratifying trip with more high points than low points, but he was glad to be home.
“Kansas was the low point. I was over it, mentally strained, financially strained,” Buschmann said, adding at that point he was thinking of quitting. St. Louis was also another spot where he considered ending the trip.
“I was getting rained on for three days straight. I was in the middle of the country thinking, ‘I have another month of this?'” Buschmann said he knew he’d “be kicking myself” if he hadn’t finished.
For the most part, the skateboarder was welcomed everywhere he went and invited into homes when he didn’t have a place to stay. In Northeastern Utah Buschmann stayed in a trailer with a group of Mexicans who didn’t speak a word of English. He got by with a few simple words; pointing to his mouth and asking “Comida?” and “Agua?” The Mexicans fed him and gave him water and put him up for the night.
Buschmann received an eyebrow-raising call from a woman in Lawrence, Kan., who invited him to stay with her when he arrived in the college town. Buschmann stayed with her and her husband, then went on his way to Kansas City.
By the time he arrived in the media capital of the world, Buschmann was done with the press and simply enjoyed his four days in New York City without contacting any media outlets, even though he was staying a few blocks away from the home of the New York Times. Buschmann, along with a friend from Santa Cruz and the Red Bull support van drivers who joined him for the last leg from Baltimore, merely celebrated the completion of the trip.
“Coming into Times Square, it was exciting, because I knew it was the end. It was a strange feeling because it was also the end of a psychological journey. It was not the highest point, but it was a good feeling,” said Buschmann.
The highest point for him was traveling through lonely and barren Nevada where he had the open road to himself for days. Besides that, the long days (Baltimore to Philadelphia, at 110 miles, was his longest) and the close calls on U.S. Highway 50 on the East Coast will stick with him.
In Cincinnati, an automobile passenger slapped his back as the car drove past, and after exchanging hand gestures with another motorist, Buschmann almost got in a fight in Ohio. Trying to cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn, New York, he was stopped for the last time by a cop, after innumerable times being pulled over.
“The cop said in this Brooklyn accent, ‘What are you doing? You’ve got two choices. Get in that car (the Red Bull support van), or get in my car.’ I chose the van,” said Buschmann.
As a result of the journey and interactions like those mentioned above, Buschmann feels like a changed man.
“I can handle off-the-wall situations a lot better than I did before. I have the confidence to do it. But I’ll do more planning next time – not just a green thumb go for it,” he said.
While the U.S. probably won’t happen again, Buschmann is considering Asia, Europe and other locales. For now, he’s just getting back to “the shock of living.”
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