SOTW 12-17-12: Mojave Desert Free for All


This week’s Shot of the Week features Larry Martin circa ’88 or ’89 out in the Mojave desert. There were better “skate shots” to pick from his batch, but I wanted to showcase the ramp and not necessarily the action or the photo. Here’s a little more on the subject from Larry:

I built this ramp on poached land in the Mojave desert near Lancaster, Ca. around 88… I had moved there with my wife after living in Ventura/Fillmore Ca. all my life. There wasn’t many ramps in the Antelope Valley at that time. The Palmdale one from the “Great Desert Ramp Battle” was toast. So, I made some new street/ditch skater friends and enlisted them in my idea to just build a halfpipe in the desert for anyone/evryone, and hopefully the police would leave us alone. They did, and we had it for about a year/half before the High School party crowd ruined it. We cut the templates with a jig, but the rest was all done without power tools. The wood of course was scavenged. This was during the savings and loan scandal, and huge housing projects were closed everywhere in the valley. Signs were just the easiest, as they were roadside, and blown over from heavy desert winds. Lots of funny stories of course surround the ramp. After it’s demise out there in the desert we rebuilt it 8 more times in backyards. Ahh, the good old dayz we all know so well.

Bonus shots after the jump.

What was it called?

“The Joshua Tree” officially, at least by the four of us who started (and finished) the project. But it was common to hear it called “Desert Ramp” also. Seems silly now, but we didn’t want it confused with the other one that was in Palmdale that everyone knew about.

This side of the ramp is my favorite.


He deserves a good action shot, so here’s Larry.



  1. Prickly Pete on December 17, 2012 - Reply

    Skating a ramp made of poached wood that you built on someone else’s land, without permission definitely ratchets up the stoke. Didn’t know people wore those shirts in ’88 though. Great stuff!

  2. Can we please see Tyler wearing that same exact outfit!

  3. sports bra!

  4. Super sick!

  5. talentlessquitter on December 17, 2012 - Reply

    Great story, I love everything about it.

    • talentlessquitter on December 17, 2012 - Reply

      …except the school crowd ruining-part. That happened over here too.

  6. Anyone named Larry is allowed to wear such a shirt. Mad respect!

  7. That ramp looks heavy. I like the pallet ladder too.

  8. Thanks SnA for the blog share!
    It was always a fun time making these monsters.
    The shirt, well I’ll just say it helped cut down on
    the Sunburns out there in the desert.
    The fashion faux pas was just that..haha FTW
    Thanks again Kilwag!

  9. masterochicken on December 18, 2012 - Reply

    I live right by the Antelope Valley. That’s crazy.

  10. Desert Folk are Gnar!

  11. That is so money.

  12. Why didn’t u just kick out the assholes

  13. Happened too fast.
    Whoever “they” were came late at night.
    Two nights ‘back to back’ actually. The first night they only used our scarp-wood for a fire. The second night,some a-hole drove a truck (I suppose) onto the flat and crushed the quarters (We had already rebuilt it once when a mini tornado had destroyed a half)..At that point we just became discouraged in the “community” build concept.

  14. Chris Evans on December 5, 2015 - Reply

    I was one of the 4 people who built and rebuilt this ramp. After the desert ramp was burned to the ground, we rebuilt it in my backyard. It was there till about 6 months after I broke my ankle doing a Mctwist and landing on the flat bottom.

  15. Chris Evans on December 5, 2015 - Reply

    I have a few pictures of this ramp, rebuilt in my backyard. Not sure how to post them here.

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