Anyone who knows me knows that I have some pretty zany ideas from time to time. I see things in my head and sometimes (even occasionally, foolishly) I try to make them happen. I want that said up front so no one thinks that I’m condemning the idea of wild and crazy stuff. I love it. If I didn’t, why would I be helping to writing a steampunk romance?
But here’s an idea that, in my humble opinion, is a bit over the top. A skateboard ramp – wait for it – that floats in Lake Tahoe. Now, this is going to sound derisive but I want you to understand it in its context. This floating skateboard ramp is part of a California State tourism campaign called “Dream Big”. Skateboarding professional Bob Burnquist “dreamed” this one up as part of their official promotion to get people to come to visit California.
The article that first caught my attention had an accompanying video. In the video Mr. Burnquist said, “Dreaming big man. That’s… that’s what I do every day. Just try to dream as big as I can.” And, the biggest idea he could come up with is a skateboard ramp that floats?
Now the engineers, designers, and builders of this thing, them I admire. A team headed by Jeff King and Jerry Blohm made not only a very functional ramp but a beautiful one as well. So, while I am less than complimentary about the idea, I have only the highest accolades for the execution of the project. But, back to my rant.
The first question that arises for me is, why do you need a skateboard ramp in the middle of one of America’s most beautiful and engaging lakes? I remember as a young man being on vacation at Lake Tahoe. It was amazing. Hiking trails and enjoying the scenery, the pristine water, the friendly people, it was communing with nature and my fellow beings at its best. At Tahoe, you can swim, snorkel, sail, or just laze away the day in the sunshine. There is enough to do at Tahoe that, and perhaps it’s my age showing here, I have to ask, “Why do you need a floating skateboard ramp?”
The second question that arises is this. Does a floating skateboard ramp really constitute ‘Dreaming BIG’? California is filled with wonders. There are first class educational institutions like USC, UCLA, UC Berkley, etc.; there are marvelous attractions like Disneyland and the Queen Mary (which we visited last year for research on our newest book – the décor and layout feature prominently in our ‘landliner train scenes); there are world class museums; unbelievable shopping; ethnic festivals and enclaves without number; gorgeous beaches; the wine country; beautifully restored historical sites like the Presidio at Santa Barbara and Fort Ross in Mendocino County (see the earlier posts on A Tale of Two Forts); breathtaking parks like Big Bear, Yosemite, and, yes, Tahoe; and the list goes on, and on, and on…..
Yet, someone in state government and in particular the Department of Tourism, decided that a floating skateboard ramp in the middle of a beautiful lake was a “BIG Dream”.
We have two daughters and numerous friends who live in California, so I say this with the knowledge that I may offend them but, this seems to bear out the old joke about California being the Granola State. The ones that aren’t nuts are flakes. Personally, I think this one falls into the nuts category. I’m pretty sure that it is a ‘one off’ and that the ramp won’t be there for every kid with a helmet and water-wings to use but I can see a number of ‘do it yourself’ imitations and you know what that means in a litigious society!
Want to dream big in California? Then consider dreaming about hiking some trails, improving your mind, or just chilling on the beach with a book. Oh, and be sure to visit a street fair or take in a festival.