Skaters ride coast to coast in memory of dad

VENICE BEACH, Calif. The two college students hit the road with their boards on May 22. On Wednesday afternoon, two months and a week later, their cross-country trek ended outside Venice Originals Skateboard Shop. But the trip wasn't without a few bumps and some grind.

"From the planes in North Carolina," says Squadrito, 22. "We hit some crazy hills in Georgia and the Midwest. Texas was really flat and hot."

"Mosquitoes in Mississippi and rattle snakes in Texas," added 21-year-old Carlson.

Their journey was in honor of Carlson's father, William "Chief" Carlson, a /*CIA*/ contractor who was killed during an ambush in /*Afghanistan*/ in October 2003. The riders were raising money for two charities that support veterans and their families.

"These guys are risking their lives for our country," Carlson says. "They're dedicating their lives to our country. I want to dedicate my life to the people that dedicate their lives to us."

Carlson and Squadrito skated every day in shifts up to 50 miles per day, stopping at military bases along the way.

They say the experience was life changing.

"It helped me learn a lot more about myself, the planning for the trip along the way and the day-to-day stuff that we had to do to make sure this trip got accomplished," Squadrito says.

While they're not trying to make a political statement, they do have a message.

"Our country is a great place," Carlson says. "Don't take it for granted."

Would they do it again?

"I would," Carlson says.

"If I had the time," says Squadrito. "Graduate school is calling."

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