So I read a post on one of the Facebox skate groups I follow which stated;
"Last Adult Skate of the Season... Price: $FREE"
I've turned into a total whore for adult skate sessions over the last few years. This was being held on a Thursday evening just like my "Last Adult Skate of the Season" I'd attended the previous week in Kimberly, Wisconsin. This one was located at The Rink at Pine Creek in Illinois. It's approximately 45 minutes south of Rockford, a city I lived in about a quarter of a century ago. Their website boasts "the largest rink in Northern, Illinois".
Knowing the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Rockford, Illinois by heart, I proceeded to travel this journey without any trepidation whatsoever. Here on the Interstate 90 right before I exit to avoid the tollway portions, I got a look at what it said on this oversized load tractor trailer in front of me. Bass. Metal. Audio illusions of Anthrax instantly fill my head.
While I lived in Rockford, I rarely found it necessary to drive South of it. I knew of Byron due to a CD I once found at a used music store with the title "On a Clear Day You Can See Byron" over a picture of the cooling towers for Commonwealth Edison's nuclear power plant located there. When I began seeing these yard signs on this trip, I was awestuck with what an anachronistic bastard I must be. I mean, I still recall the accident at Three Mile Island in the news from back when Jimmy Carter was our President. The prevailing mood of the country then was "No Nukes!!" Save the Whales, yes, save the nukes? Never.
Anyhow, I really can't believe I even found this place. Thank the stars for Google Maps on smarty-pants phones today because this has to be the most rural location for a roller skating rink I've ever come across. It is quite literally in the middle of farm fields. I took the picture of its exterior about an hour before the session was scheduled to start and then proceeded West to a little town called Polo where I obtained a blueberry muffin along with something to drink at its grocery store as an excuse to relieve myself in their restroom after a long road trip.
Upon returning a mere 45 minutes later, there were just as many cars in this lot as when I'd initially arrived. That would be zero. So I sat in my ride burning tobacco while waiting for session time. Eventually, three cars arrived, each with a prospective skater as they all brought their own. I figured it was safe to assume there was actually going to be a session held and exited my car to join them. As I suspected, this was not "FREE" and I have plenty of experience not believing everything I read on the Facebox. The cost was eight dollars. That's about average for a typical adult skating session these days.
After entering, I could see that the claim on the website of being the largest rink in Northern Illinois is about as true as FREE adult skates. To the best of my knowledge, that award goes to Xtreme Wheels in Crystal Lake. Don't get me wrong; I came for an adult skate on a Thursday night and I expected and received one so I'm not bitching, just sayin'! With me imported, it made a baker's dozen adult skaters for the evening plus two employees. And I'm impressed that there were even that many of us in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
The interior has no relationship whatsoever to the exterior of the building. The floor I will describe as "church stone" as it is a surface I've only ever seen in some churches a long time ago in my life. I wish I'd taken a closeup photo of this surface but I was in a rush in the last five minutes of the session to take the photos I did and completely spaced out in this regard. The Rink's website actually has a photo which shows better than mine what I'm speaking of here.
This floor is in pieces about four foot by four foot I would guesstimate. Between each section is about an eigth inch gap or space which yields a minor bump as one skates across them. Also, although the floor is not as polished as smooth as I've seen it in those churches of yesteryear, it is still quite a slick surface to skate on. Had I known, I would've switched my skates to a somewhat softer duro wheel prior to travelling here. On a bright note, due to the slickness of the surface, I decided to try some skating techniques I'd watched video about but had not yet ever attempted; practicing iceberg!
Off of the skating surface, the surrounding floors are covered in blacklight reactive neon carpets seen at many skating rinks these days. There are a few games for kids to play, some junk to buy plus a small selection of roller skates for purchase. The snack bar is standard skate place fare. And the DJ booth is in the oddest place I've ever seen; in the middle of a long side of the floor.
Music was a mix of skate songs, modern pop shit and a dose of rock n roll including Ozzy Osbourne.