On the Road Again

Warwick, RI Demo 

It is hard to believe, but it seems like just yesterday that Ashley and I were wrapping up the first Eastern Mountain Sports Outdoor Demo Tour.  If you were to ask me then if I thought I would be doing it all over again the following year, I would have given you a definitive maybe.  When we were asked this spring if we would again participate in the Tour, the answer was YES.  Like most things, it easy to look back and remember only the good times, as the fond memories tend to overpower the bad ones.  The sunny days, the psyched customers, and the cold beers with new friends to reward a hard day’s work are the memories that readily stick out.  

Great weather and great product at the Hartford, CT demo

Honestly, there are a lot of great things about leaving the store behind for three months.  The major one is that for three months instead of being inside talking about the gear we sell and the sports we represent, I get to be outside showing people the gear we sell and introducing them to the sports we represent.

Last year, I saw people: take their first steps on a slack line, get in a kayak for the first time, stand up on a SUP for the first time (if you were lucky enough to participate in an event with Joe Sherlock of the EMS Kayak School, you may or may not have also done the Hokey-Pokey on a SUP for the first time…that, or swam off a SUP for the first time).  Furthermore, looking back on the demo I am reminded of lots of great personal memories and experiences.  For me it was a incredible opportunity to visit distant stores, meet new people, and catch up with people I do not get to see very often.

Joe Sherlock and SpongeBob Squarepants (Knowing the SpongeBob theme song will score you extra points if Joe is around.)

As Ashley and I prepare to leave for this year’s tour, I am now reminded of all the things that can go wrong and am tirelessly working on avoiding last year’s pitfalls with some careful planning.  One of the great advantages of doing the tour again this year is that we know what went wrong last time as much as what went right.  I am reminded of the first trip I took south to Annapolis, Maryland.  I knew I was getting a late start, but had no idea how bad traffic could be on a Friday afternoon going through New York City.  That first trip South took almost twelve hours. (This year we will definitely be leaving earlier – and on a Wednesday – in the hopes of avoiding four unnecessary hours in the truck.)

Scouting a low bridge

I am reminded of the low bridge we encountered and feared it impossible.  Only after climbing up the bridge and measuring it with a tape measure did I dare to drive under the bridge, and I only did so with Luke Foley riding on top of the truck as a spotter for the trailer.  I remember hitting a  rock with trailer jack and bending it terribly.  After spending an afternoon trying to figure out how to repair the damaged jack and trying numerous methods, we solved the problem by simply hitting the same rock going the opposite direction.

Just making it…good thing my calculations were correct 

I am reminded of the truck dying while attempting to make it to our demo at Lake Desolation in Saratoga Springs.  Furthermore, I remember feeling nearly hypothermic as we shivered and huddled together under an EMS tent trying to avoid the chilling rain for the majority of the day.  A few weeks later the truck ruptured a hose while we were having lunch at Pizza By George in Raymond, New Hampshire after our Pawtuckaway State Park demo.  

One of my genius solutions to “fix” the trailer jack  

Despite all the things that went wrong on our first trip, I am still psyched to be hitting the road this summer.  More so I am excited to watch people take their first minimalist steps in our demo running shoes, and their first pedals on a new road or mountain bike.  Once again, we will have slack lines, SUPs, and kayaks.  See you out there.  

Ashley hard at “work” on the trailer last summer