"In the philosophical sense, no day is the best or the worst"
Former Crested Butte resident Joe Rehana is inline skating across America, or at least most of it, to raise awareness for apathy.
That’s right, apathy.
Wait, it gets better.
It’s not that he is fighting apathy. He’s actually inline skating across America to promote apathy.
“I want more apathetic people,” says Rehana. “I’ve thought about this. A lot of people are riding bikes to raise awareness for something else. I met a guy walking coast-to-coast for autism. I’m just doing this for myself. How apathetic is that? I do feel guilty sometimes, but people should go out and have a cool adventure for themselves.”
Rehana lived in Crested Butte from 2000 to 2005, working three of those years for Crested Butte Mountain Resort. He left that job and the area to embark on his first major inline skate trek in Australia.
His plan was to skate in the interior of Australia, starting and ending in Sydney. He made it as far as Darwin, covering a total of 3,000 miles in three and a half months and using up 40 inline skate wheels before lack of funds, and a lack of decent pavement, forced him to call it quits.
“It was a lot harder than I ever could have imagined,” admits Rehana. “I was beaten up by the roads down there.”
While he fell short of his goal, the effort inspired his latest challenge—to skate from San Francisco to his current home in Olney, Illinois where he attends college.
“That helped spur me on to this challenge,” says Rehana.
While there are more direct routes from San Francisco to Olney, Illinois, Rehana opted to take a more arduous and far less direct route, known in the bike touring community as the Western Express.
The Western Express Bicycle Route was created and mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association, an organization that promotes long-distance bicycle touring.
From San Francisco, the route heads east to Fallon, Nevada and across the central part of the state along U.S. Route 50, including towns such as Eureka and Ely, Nevada.
Once the route hits the Nevada/Utah border it dives into southern Utah to include towns such as Cedar City, Henrieville, Boulder and Hanksville, skirting along the northern part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
From there, Rehana skated through Blanding, Utah, Dolores, Colorado up Highway 145 and Highway 62, including Lizard Head Pass, before taking 550 into Montrose where he rejoined 50 to turn east again.
After skating for 33 days and covering 1,420 miles, Rehana rolled into Crested Butte on July 2.
“There’s so much incredible beauty out West, and I love how much smaller you feel out here,” says Rehana. “It’s definitely a challenging route. There are some sections I would never want to do again, even if I was paid. It feels good though. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one to skate the route.”
Skating on K2 inline skates and pushing a Chariot CX-1 (the same rigs used by action-sport parents walking with their infants on Elk Avenue) full of camping gear and spare skate and Chariot parts, Rehana reaches speeds in the mid-20’s coming down passes.
“I hit 29 miles per hour once,” says Rehana.
So far, his biggest single day was from Eureka to Ely, 84 miles. He covered the distance from Montrose to Gunnison in a single day, 59 miles including two passes.
“Blue Mesa is definitely harder than Cerro Summit to climb, coming from the West,” Rehana points out.
So far, things have progressed smoothly for Rehana with no serious struggles. He’s had no “worst days.” Nor has he had any “best days.”
“In the philosophical sense, no day is the best or the worst,” explains Rehana. “They just have all been kind of good days.”
He’s received looks of puzzlement, words of encouragement and water along the way—all of which have helped him maintain his forward momentum.
“It’s weird how people react to it,” says Rehana. “A bicycle tour makes a lot more sense. People on the road have been helping me out and I start looking forward to the next interaction with someone.”
Rehana left Crested Butte on Tuesday, July 8 and plans to follow Highway 50 all the way to Olney. Once he hits the Eastern Plains of Colorado and rolls into Kansas, he hopes to hit the century mark in a single day more than once.
“I’m confident when I do get to the flats of Kansas, with prevailing winds, I’m going to break a couple 100-mile days,” says Rehana.
Ultimately, he plans on rolling into Olney by the third week in July after skating more than 2,500 miles total to get back in time for the start of his next scholastic year.
You can follow Rehana’s progress on his website, updated daily from his cell phone, at www.joetrek.com.