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Inline Skating From New Jersey to California for Charity

roadskater's picture

Here's a story about an ice speed skater, Al Schiller, who skated "across the country" for charity. It raises some questions and sparks some thoughts...even some doubts...but is nonetheless interesting and for an important charitable cause. So here are a few thoughts and questions. I'd love to hear your impressions! 

It's great that Carley Dryden did such a long and thorough interview. I thought for the most part it was good coverage based on a nice conversation. It is clear she is friendly to the idea and to the skater. My reactions:

  • When people skate across the country (any country, but especially one with the Rocky Mountains or other significant obstacles), are we to understand that they didn't really skate the whole way, but that there were inevitably days and places where it was "necessary" to stay in the RV with Mom for the sake of "safety" or some other noble excuse? I'm just asking, not asserting. 3,500 miles even in 2.5 months (it says just over two) would be almost 50 miles EVERY DAY.
  • I'm glad he's wearing a helmet in the photo. It's a nice photo capturing a great moment, and I really can feel the joy of accomplishment there.
  • Dude definitely has the quads to make the journey
  • Skating against the wind...that's how it feels any direction I skate. Anyone know if there's a prevailing wind west to east across the USA? Does the jetstream translate to surface winds being prevalently from the west? I know that most weather systems in the USA do move west to east, vaguely, with some southwest to northeast going on in the southeast and midatlantic states, it seems. Weather thoughts!
  • Kudos for applying for and getting a grant from Pepsi Refresh Project and to Pepsi for picking an inline skating journey as a grant recipient.
  • Cool stuff about Amish country...by all accounts it's a great place to skate. I wonder what the laws are in Pennsylvania regarding wheeled locomotion. I know New York is inline skate friendly. If they could move their laws to where it's warmer that'd be nice.
  • I'd like to have a skating equipment budget of $3000. I think I could be set up pretty well for that. 
  • Anybody going to try to join this fellow for the skate across Michigan? I know some of you up there could do it if he's seeking company.
  • I went to the website and was surprised to see 2008 as the last update. I hope he'll get on there and add some stories from the road and a renewed appeal for donations. It's easy to get busy with DOING things so much that you can't write ABOUT doing things, but this is a reminder that it's important to do and to write.
  • It's really great that this mom and son got to have an epic journey together across the USA! 
  • This DID teach me a bit and remind me why defibrillators can be an important lifesaving piece of equipment.
  • Surely he can get sponsored by medical equipment manufacturers as well! 
  • Epic journeys are cool.
  • I doubt that nobody has ever skated across the USA, but maybe that depends on what you call skating across the USA (in terms of the completeness of it...I'd say you'd start out with a strict idea about it but law enforcement might play a factor in "discouraging" certain segments of the journey).
  • What a great way to reset the normal and go back to Milwaukee ready to train for indoor ice speed skating. 
  • It's hard enough for me to do my little projects! Imagine all the work and time and money that went into this! Sometimes awareness or branding or eduction or publicity are worth all the resources even if the trip "loses" money or does not raise much that you can directly claim. 
  • It sounds like small struggling towns made an impression with their generosity. People who are struggling seem to be able to relate to struggling better than those who feel they have it made, perhaps. It is easy to look down on others when you feel you have done it all by your own hard work and awesomeness. Once you've seen the downs AND the ups, it's easier to have some perspective. No brilliant insights, but good reminders for me. 
  • Now I should stop writing and DO something maybe?

Skater's cross-country trip to save lives ends at the pier - Beach Reporter -

Beach Reporter

Skater's cross-country trip to save lives ends at the pier
Beach Reporter
Schiller spent more than two months inline speed skating 3500 miles across the country, traveling through 13 states to spread awareness and spur fundraising ...

[Inline Speed Skating (plus Roller)]


Atlantic City, New Jersey
United States
39° 21' 51.4188" N, 74° 25' 22.5372" W
Manhattan Beach, California
United States
33° 53' 5.0496" N, 118° 24' 39.2724" W


eebee's picture

Jet Stream Vs. Surface

 "Anyone know if there's a prevailing wind west to east across the USA? Does the jetstream translate to surface winds being prevalently from the west?"

Not particularly, no. From what I understand - and I welcome any corrections on this - the west-to-east Polar jet stream above the North American continent doesn't necessarily mean prevailing west-to-east surface winds. The Polar jet is really high up there (23k ft +). Surface wind direction depends on high & low pressure systems, and uneven surface temperatures. Of course most of our large weather systems in the South East attack from the west, and if they are storm systems carrying derechos or straight line winds, those winds might well be westerly considering the momentum in the storms, but that's about it.

Just for fun I collected historic wind data from wunderground.com, for the past 10 Athens-to-Atlanta(s), and was surprised at what I found:

  • Oct 3rd, 2010:  5 mph NW
  • Oct 11th, 2009: 5 mph NE
  • Oct 5th, 2008:  3 mph E
  • Oct 7th, 2007:  6 mph ENE
  • Oct 1st, 2006:  5 mph WSW
  • Oct 2nd, 2005:  8 mph E
  • Oct 24th, 2004: 2 mph S
  • Sept 28th, 2003: 7 mph W
  • Oct 6th, 2002:  2 mph ESE
  • Oct 7th, 2001:  5 mph E

 So really we can only blame three of those years on headwind.  ;-)

Granted, this doesn't take into account those states Mr. Schiller skated through, and I don't feel like researching the prevailing winds in those states right now. But just for the South East, where we're so used to watching squall lines approach from the West like clockwork, you can see the variation in surface wind direction around the same time each Fall.

Sounds like he lucked out regarding rain. Great story. I can understand his Mother wanting to shadow him the whole way. Great cause, too. Defib equipment is handy to have near the lacrosse field, no doubt, in case of Commotio Cordis. 

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