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Brothers grind across U.S.

7/13/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Skateboarding is a popular pastime for many, but few think of it for long-distance transportation.

But that's just what brothers Caleb and Tanner Childs, Mount Pleasant, N.C., are doing.

Caleb, 26, and Tanner, 22, are traveling cross country on longboards, boards wider and longer than a traditional skateboard. They walk when necessary, such as climbing hills.

They were in Hays for an overnight stay Thursday.

"We started on May 14 on the coast of North Carolina and are headed to San Francisco," Caleb said.

They hope to reach there by the end of September.

"We are trying to raise money for a few charities," Caleb said of the trip.

Semper Fi, a fund that raises money for wounded Marines, is their main charity.

The other two are smaller and closer to their home.

The Vickie S. Huneycutt Foundation raises money for teachers battling cancer, and the North Toxaway Food Bank "helps feed families in an area that's really hurting right now. They help 15 or 20 families a week," Caleb said.

Since he just graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Caleb was in a job he wasn't afraid to leave, the timing for the cross-country jaunt seemed right, Tanner said.

Neither did anything special to train.

"We're both pretty active. It's not like we're just couch potatoes and decided to do it," Caleb said. "We were both in decent shape, but it took some getting used to for sure."

"We had to figure out how to ride and balance with the bags we carry on our backs," Tanner said.

Their backpacks weigh approximately 30 pounds with the water they carry, Caleb said.

The goal is to end up in a town each night, so the distance they cover varies each day.

"Right now, we're getting anywhere from 25 to 40 miles," Caleb said.

They try to get a contact name in each town, but if they don't have one, they stop at a fire station. If a fire station isn't available, they look to churches for lodging. They've also camped out a few times.

"Our last resort is a hotel," Caleb said.

They spent some time Thursday morning touring Historic Fort Hays.

"We want to see what there is to see on our route," Caleb said. "We're both interested in history of the West."

Not surprisingly, the heat has provided the greatest challenge, and cooler temperatures are welcomed.

"We came out yesterday morning and it was 60 degrees, and I was shivering because we weren't used to it," Tanner said.

"We're not walking in the 105-degree heat," Caleb said. "We've been trying to get up and be on the road by 5 a.m. so we can cover all our ground by lunch time."

They log their progress on their website, longboardingusa.com.