Most people passing through New London on their way from Boston to Manhattan are probably doing so on I-95 or the railroad. Adam Abada and Zach Baker’s trip between the two cities is taking a little longer than these methods, but that’s the main point of their journey: The two are in the midst of an expedition from one metropolis to another on skateboards.
The two friends, who live in New York City, are shooting footage for a documentary film along the way. They’re interviewing interesting people they come across, detailing the travel experience and taking part in activities for a creative experience.
“It’s more of a documentary of the nature and characteristics of places and local areas than two guys skateboarding from Boston to New York City,” said Abada, a 25-year-old filmmaker.
“The reason behind this trip is more noteworthy than the actual trip,” said Baker, a 24-year-old bartender.
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The impetus for the trip came in a conversation between Abada and Baker. They went to the same high school and grew up skateboarding together. Abada has been skateboarding for 12 years, Baker for a decade. Baker later moved to Boston for some time to attend Northeastern University.
“It started out as a joke,” said Baker. “When I lived in Boston, I visited Adam a lot and I said, ‘Maybe next time I’ll just skate.’”
The idea took root, and the friends began looking into what it would take to go from Boston to New York solely by skateboard. They chose a coastal route, heading through Rhode Island and along the Connecticut shoreline, to enjoy the beaches and scenery. They looked into places where they could camp out or stay with friends, or friends of friends. They raised funds for the trip, set up a website, and contemplated how best to turn the experience into a movie.
“It’s funny how much planning there is for what seems like a pretty freeform adventure, mainly because of the film,” said Abada.
The film is also what accounts for most of the weight on the men’s backs. They each carry a bag containing materials such as the camera and battery charger. Other supplies include a two-man tent, clothing, ponchos for rainy weather, and food. Even with all of this gear, they have been averaging 30 miles a day since setting out on Aug. 1.
“We’d be averaging 50 to 60 miles without the bags,” said Baker.
Abada and Baker came into New London on the on Tuesday morning, following a brief detour to visit the island. They were planning to stay longer in New London, but their plans with the host in this area fell through. They intended to end the Tuesday leg of their trip with an overnight stop at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.
“This place looks great,” Abada said of New London. “Wish we had more time to kick it here.”
The trip has included some challenging points, such as a hazardous 9-mile section of Route 1A in Massachusetts and a downpour on their first day out. But both said the people they have met along the way offer encouragement and support.
“Providence was an awesome time,” said Baker. “The people in that place are really cool.”
Abada said the skateboarding pace allows them to take in more of the attractions of the communities they pass through, and that the film should be an encouragement to viewers that you don’t have to travel too far to see more of the world. He said he hopes to revisit places along the route to screen the film once it is completed and possibly enter it in film festivals as well.
Abada estimated that he and Baker will arrive at New York City on Monday. You can track their progress and find out more about the trip at their website, Backstreet Atlas, or on their Twitter account.