A visit with Chris Watts

Chris Watts. Mute. Madison, Wi. Photo: Bales.
Chris Watts. Mute. Madison, Wi. Photo: Bales. (Click to enlarge)

A strong curiosity surrounds Wisconsin. On my first trip to Madison to visit Chris Watts, I was entranced by rural Wisconsin’s landscape while looking out the car window. Once Andrew Hall and I arrived in Madison, that curiosity was multiplied as we were shown a variety of amazing skate spots. We knew we would have to return soon. Fast forward a few months and Madison’s new skatepark was completed, prompting yet another journey north to session with our good friend. Madison often draws comparisons to Iowa City, and I believe there are some parallels between the two places. However Madison, being split by Lakes Medota and Monona, has some incredible views and vistas which make you feel like you are far from Iowa, but you aren’t. The same Midwestern sensibilities are present here, and people on the streets are both courteous and cautious. Rollerblading is meet with smiles and confusion. On this particular journey we stuck mainly to the skatepark before hitting a few street spots and some coffee.
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Gallery: 2015 road trip

Back country. Somewhere in Iowa. Photo: Goodell.
Back country. Somewhere in Iowa. Photo: Goodell. (Click to enlarge)

Words by Bruce J. Bales

I was reminded of my desire to turn the last five years of road trip footage into a documentary short by the changing of the seasons. As autumn takes over, my desire to create increases. I will begin sifting through all the footage next week, but before I start, I wanted to give you a taste of what last years trip was like. These photographs are only a small portion of the sights from our most recent adventure, but they are also some of the strongest. As each year passes, this trip gets more and more important to me, but this one was special because Josh Goodell came back from California to join us. Although this year was only four people, we left the road feeling the inevitable appreciation for our state. I hope to translate this feeling and more into something everyone can enjoy and relate to through the documentary short tentatively titled “We’re Still Here.”
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A Visit with Phil Austin

Phil Austin. Monte Rio, Ca. Photo: Bales.
Phil Austin. Monte Rio, Ca. Photo: Bales. (Click to enlarge)

Words and photos by Bruce J. Bales

When I think about our rollerblading community in Iowa, I think about brotherhood. We’ve long discussed and known about the strength of our scene. As it is people are leaving and new people are arriving. The cycles of life are always at work. Thus, I no longer find myself becoming sad when someone moves away from our general geographic location. No matter how far away, the rollerbladers who spend time in Iowa remain a part of this website and our community.

Phil Austin, the proclaimed Iowa City blading ambassador, has made the move to Santa Rosa, California. Both myself and Spencer Smith got the chance to visit Phil in his new home earlier this month. What you’ll see here is a small collection of photographs I made with my phone.
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