Stoke Factor: 6
Miserableness Factor: 4
Snot Rockets Blown: 6
Average Speed: 7.2mph
I woke up in a pile of drool. My head and sleeping bag were soaked. Ice formed on the inside of my tent and all over my sleeping bag. It got below 20 degrees at night. I wasn’t hungry at that second, but my body was begging for something to fuel it.
I woke up around 3am thinking about bears, but what really caught my interest was how predictable humans are. They sleep at night, they eat breakfast between 7 and 11, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner at night. They don’t drive at 3am and they all flock to the restaurants at the same time, knowing that if they showed up an hour earlier they could been seated, fed and out of the door within an hour. There were no cars on the road. The wind had stopped. Every natural and species-esque sound ceased to exist. My mind ran circles about what could have been lurking. Every noise was a gunshot, even my own tossing and turning.
Despite it all I fell back asleep and clocked 14 hours of sleep. Ive never done that before. That is something an addict would do after being being cold turkey for a few days. And at brass tax, that’s exactly what I was. Ever since I lived in California it was cocaine every weekend. I would go to parties and be disappointed people weren’t “having fun.” Who doesn’t fucking love cocaine? What an amazing drug. I started buying it once I built up a solid contact list in my phone of dealers. There was never a moment I couldn’t get my hands on it. The days leading up to my flight to Oregon were spent doing it, beyond a reasonable amount, at all hours of the day. During my going away party, I ended up being awake somewhere around 90 hours and didn’t eat for 72 of them. I watched the sun rise and set days in a row all within a single breath. I couldn’t fucking wait to leave that house. I know I’m so much more than that. I wonder how guys like Hunter S. Thompson managed to live their lives with so much of it all the time, but then I remember how he died and how we all know him as that great writer who had a bit too much blow. I wouldn’t say I was a full blown addict, I was still very much able to pack and film without it, and subsequently jump on two planes, win 3 races, and head out on the journey of a lifetime without cocaine. But with mother nature as my witness, I wanted it. I’ve never been so happy to be all alone out here with none of it around. I’d say day 1 was my official detox.
As I left for day 2, nothing was different. It was 12 miles to the nearest town, which I was informed had a rest stop with food. I say that like I had those 12 miles in me the day before, but after skating them on day 2 there was just no way. It was disappointing knowing I was that close to a safe place to stay opposed to a ditch in the road.
I emptied out more gear. I left behind a second battery pack, most of my clothes minus 2 pairs of socks and panties and what I was wearing, every compression sack, and nearly all of my toiletries. At this point I didn’t know what else I could lose to lower weight. I hate littering and it irks me to think I contributed to the masses of pollution, especially on such a well-kept road like route 20, but there simply wasnt an option. If every litterer was a solo, unsupported adventurer crossing the country on some strange contraption, I wouldn’t mind the vast amount of contributions made to a decaying earth. But, they aren’t, and I still feel guilty about it.
I learned that the pavement in the road was significantly better sealed than that in the shoulder. This added a new aspect to skating that involved me looking back every few pushes to see if cars were coming. They were, but I had it down to a science. I was very much miserable with little to look forward to except a meal.
I walked all the way up an additional 500ft of elevation, arriving at the Brother’s Stop Spot. I walked in to what seemed like a warm home. I sat at the counter and met Talya, the amazing woman running a post office, saloon, hotel, cafe, and rest stop. Talya was a sight for sore eyes. What a welcoming smile at a place that had it all. I was grateful to be able to eat before filming my entrace and everything.
Talya jumped right into it with the food and accommodations. I ordered an egg sandwich with ham, and begged her for anything green to go with it. She told me she could toss me a salad, but nobody really orders a salad, and veggie deliveries were few and far between out there in the middle of nowhere.
The sandwich was to die for. I almost couldn’t eat it all. What a cook! I felt like royalty as we filmed in her spot, and she helped with everything I asked for. I had a chance to check up on Facebook- 52 notifications, 30 on my athlete page, 100 Instagram likes, and a few texts. I saw that and cringed. No fucking way was I going to go through it all. I had amazing company right in front of me. I left a few little updates and turned my phone off- fuck it.
After the meal, Talya told her story of having 5 children as a teen, and owning the Stop Spot. She talked about how she wanted to do a Great Big Story on her life as the sole manager of all her businesses, while trying to find love. She said it would be called the Brothers Bathelorette (Brothers is the name of the town). I was told, “Once you have the alliteration down, you’ve already got a show.”
I unloaded more gear. This time, I was at a post office so I was left in good hands. I left behind almost all of my endurance fuel, almost all of my charging cables (and one I shouldn’t have!) my knife (which I traded for a smaller one), most of my skate gear, and my helmet. I also gave Talya my Amazon Fire. I was going to smash it in the road but it just seemed better to give it to someone who was going to use it- Talya is going to make a YouTube channel of her rest stop and her family. I also told her I would help with marketing and actually doing it!
About the helmet- I feel guilty about it. I’m about to drop 2000 ft tomorrow without it. I know it wasnt the smartest move, but I have 3,250 miles to go. I had to tell myself, “If you arent going to use it tonight, lose it.” Sure, I could keep it on my head at all times like Adrian Oh, but overall I want to have freedom to wear my beanie or hat, or do a ponytail to keep hair out of my face so I dont spit in it like I did today (terrible time to do it- right after I ditched my dry shampoo). There is no room in my life right now for something to swing from my pack. It’s being shipped to my house, or I have Talyas number, so should I decide I want it later on I can get it. I don’t care about what people say- what I’m doing is essentially fast walking and wearing a helmet for that is asinine. If I was bombing hills or street skating for a few hours, I always wear a helmet. Besides, if I get hit by a car, I’m dead anyways regardless of my helmet status. I don’t want to hear it, so dont offer your opinion. I am aware my excuses are bullshit.
I got my pack down to what feels like 14 pounds with water. When I get to a real town, ill check for a camping store and try to trade my current backpack for a lighter one. Mine is almost 4 pounds, although wildly comfortable.
After I walked in and out of the spot for different camera angles, I was off. Everything changed. The sun was out, it was 70 degrees, and the cars were limited because as humans are predictable, they all work 9-5 jobs. It was 3pm and I gave myself 3 hours to do 17 miles. I was rejuvenated and feeling good after my lunch. I pushed forward another 30 miles instead to the Glass Butte. The information I was given about it being at mile 72 and 77 was slightly off- I got to mile 73 on route 20 and stayed at a quarrying location just outside of the camping area. I could not get myself to do the extra 5 miles as it had been 6pm and the sun was setting.
Those 30 miles felt amazing. I was on fire, keeping a 10mph pace and never having to walk. My right foot began to ache from staying in the same spot for so long. I was technical and precise with getting between the shoulder and road for speed. I hit a hill at 35mph. If I wasnt able to do the 30 miles to the Butte, my plan was to camp at the next rest stop 17 miles east in Hampton. As I approached I had been taking full advantage of my water. I sucked it down, made an endurance drink, and didnt even consider the fact that the place could be closed. It was. I pushed onward, this time feeling an ache in my foot from my ankle brace. Ever since my injury on September 16th, I havent been able to get back into switch pushing, meaning I could only use my right foot for balance. This will prove over all the miles to cause me grief.
My ACL began to feel like it was ripping. I started taking shorter pushes, but I was a mere 9 miles away from target. Best not to push that pain. In my mind I can picture a hospital visit and a sorrowful “I’m sorry” video to all the people who donated literally thousands of dollars to getting me that far.
The spot I stayed at was less than ideal. Behind a pile of rocks at 4600ft up. It was literally 14 degrees out. Still, I sweat through the night as I whispered sweet nothings on my blog. Still without phone service, I had never felt luckier. Despite the wind and rocks, I was doing it. I rubbed Battle Balm all over myself and massaged my thigh and foot. Rest was necessary.
I woke at 3am to the sound of a pack of wolves howling in the distance. The wind was once again silent and the ambient noise was stale. Inside my tent it was 38 degrees- inside my sleeping bag it was 84. I couldn’t wait til sun up. It was my first time being alone, camping in a random location, ever. My heart raced as wolves turned to yelping coyote- something told me a coyote would be more of a risk. Their yelps got closer as the hour turned. “Only two more hours til sun up,” I told myself. Unsure of what to do if confronted by a pack of dog-like animals, or any animal, I prayed for the moment I arrived to camp the next day. Wi-Fi was there and I could gain valuable information on the subjects. That’s the beauty of 2017 when a wealth of information is at your fingertips. You’re never hopeless.
I thought back to Lewis and Clark. They didn’t have a zero degree sleeping bag or a 4 season tent. They didn’t have a Snap-On knife or a GPS watch. They drew images of the animals they saw that looked like things out of a nightmare. Every human was an enemy. There were no roads and any trail surely meant death by indigenous people. I nearly feel pathetic for using the assistance I have with today’s technology. I may never be as badass as them, but I was doing my damndest.