Posted by Armada Wake Company in Aug 11, 2009, under wakeboard




July 23, 2009…. 10:30 pm


Katie Stracke and I,Tony Stracke, ARMADA team manager and owner, leave our house to pick up Nick Nichols, ARMADA team rider, and Kate Ybarra, photographer. Nick introduces us to Kate who we had not met before but within moments knew that she would fit in to our little group. Almost instantly Katie says to Kate “ im glad we like each other because this would be a long trip if we didn’t …. Plus we have the same name so I’m sure we will be BFFs.” Nick and I laugh and we are off. Immediately we realize we need to stop for some necessities and the only place is CVS. After hearing about how much Kate’s photo equipment was worth, I decided I would stay outside with the truck and they would run in. 10 minutes later they come out with the necessities… water, candy, beef jerky, sunflower seeds and of course Redbull. Now we are really off.


July 23, 2009….11:00pm

30 minutes later we are ready to stop again. We agreed that we needed real food in our stomachs, not just candy and Redbull. So we pull into Carl’s Jr.. We hang out and eat for a few minutes and we are off once again, not only full, but newly educated on Nick’s special burger, the famous star with no sauce, but santa fe sauce instead. Good stuff.


                                    July 24, 2009….2:00am

3 hours later I need to stop for gas so we pull into the 76 station in Barstow. I fill up with gasoline and Redbull and head off into the darkness. By now, Katie, Kate and Nick are tired and falling in and out of consciousness as I listen to some good ol’ honkey tonk music by Big Tweed. As I’m honkin out to “that girl at the bar”, Katie’s phone rings. It’s Emily Crews and Rudolph. They are nearing Baker as we are leaving Barstow. They were going to meet us at the lake on Friday morning. They were driving from Pismo Beach area. They reserved a room because they had expected to leave earlier and get some sleep before the big day on the water on Friday. Rudolph and Emily were going to stay for Friday and Saturday and head home because Emily was entered in a triathalon on Sunday. Talk about dedication.


The next big attraction for us was Baker and the huge thermometer. We said a few things about the size of it and the temperature, followed up by some “that’s what she said” jokes and Baker was a thing of the past.


Next we pass ZZYZX Rd. and I try to pronounce it to myself and probably will never get it right, and then think what I would name a road if I could. I don’t think I could come up with as good a name as that so I go back to Big Tweed. As I’m coming down the baker grade into Primm, my brakes heat up and start to shake the whole GMC crew cab truck, waking up Katie and she gives me that look like… are we going to die… so I say “sorry” and tell everyone I’ll stop using the brakes for a while. I smile comforting them, but little did they know I was serious. After all, we were on a schedule. I wanted to be on the water by sunrise.


We make it down the grade, quickly but barely, and see that we just missed the flash flood rains that everyone thought we would get stuck in. The dry riverbed at the state line was anything but dry. Seeing the reflection of the lights from Primm in the water gave me my second wind. I made it out of California with no sleep and into Nevada. Lake Mead before sunrise was definitely doable now. We pass through Primm and head down the highway until we round the bend and the lights of Las Vegas light up the early morning sky. At this point it is about 3:45 am and I am ready for some more gas in the truck and a leg stretch to try to stop the halucinations i was seeing from sleep deprivation. We exit on St Rose Pkwy and stop for gas and head out. This stop was like a pit stop. Fuel and restroom and gone.


                                                July 24, 2009….4:15am

We exit from St Rose onto the 215 then onto Boulder highway and into Boulder. One last stop in Boulder City for gas in the Malibu boat and more Redbull and this time a sweet breakfast sandwich from the heating lamp. Its about 4:30 now and the locals are pulling in to get their morning coffee and head off to work while we are headed to the lake. The struggle to stay awake was totally worth it at this point.


                                              July 24, 2009….4:50 am

No sleep, 400 miles, and a ton of that’s what she said jokes later, we were on the launch ramp. It was still dark but the sun was beginning to light up the horizon. It was 91 degrees out already and the only thing out was a guy fishing on the dock. I back up to the ramp and we all stumble out of the truck wiping our eyes saying “dude this is awesome.” The water was butter and not a boat in sight. We all agreed that these conditions were totally worth not sleeping.


Kate started taking some pictures as we loaded the Malibu with what we needed and threw everything in the truck that we didn’t need and the Armada trip was on………

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