Today, we lost a Sk8er and a skate dad… Lou and Niall flew home to DC from LAX, leaving me the sole skate dad in charge of four teen boys (at least until Willem’s dad, Paul, joins the crew in San Francisco). I’m a bit terrified.

By nature, I’m a loner, and at first I was relieved to see how I’d fare flying solo. But I immediately started missing Lou.

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We’d made it from one coast to the other. We had a few challenges along the way, mostly related to my anxiety about our tight schedule and obligations to this blog. But we never got lost (thanks to Google Maps and an iPad and our smartphones). Never ran out of gas. Never broke down. And the only time we lost a skater (Sean), we found him again pretty quickly.

When we parted with hugs last night, Lou thanked me for dragging him into this trip.

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“Thanks for forcing me outside my comfort zone,” he said. “I needed that.”

I assured Lou I couldn’t have done it without him, and I thanked him for helping me explore my discomfort zone, and for adding another memory to our twenty-year friendship. And now, as I start the drive from LA to San Francisco, I’m realizing how much easier it had been having another grownup and copilot aboard.

During our last dinner together, Lou and I talked about how well the boys got along. Even during long, boring drives, they kept busy and upbeat. Their interest in skating never waned, not even in successive days of 100-degree heat. I’m hoping that’ll continue during the final stretch up to Portland and Seattle, even without Lou and Niall.

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To follow the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, check out