Stoke Factor: 2
Miserableness Factor: 6
Snot Rockets Blown: 14
Avg Speed: 8.5mph
The morning seemed way worse than it was. I woke up at 3am after writing my blogs for a few hours to the sound of coyotes. They were yelping and howling from behind the barbed wire fences hardly 100 yards away from my tent. Lots of pups. They seemed to leave until an hour later, when I realized I left my tent vestibule window open all night after attempting to smoke weed, then promptly passed out. I heard yelping as they sprinted across the desert, and was fully terrified.
Leaving the window open meant that my entire tent’s inside froze over as temperatures dropped below the 20s. When I closed it, all of the ice began to melt as I breathed and woke up in a puddle of water. Even still, I was dry and 84 degrees inside of my sleeping bag. Even though it took up most of my pack, it is the best piece of gear I had with me.
Once I left, I was used to the pavement and knew what I was in for. I lucked out with no wind, until about 10 miles in I heard a creaking in my board I hadn’t noticed before. Whenever I stepped on the front, the bracket would make an awful noise and I had to stop to check it. I saw that the top right bolt had nearly come off – I would have been screwed (pun?) if it did. So, I tightened it down and then checked the other bolts so I didn’t run into the same issue down the road. As I got to the bottom right front bolt, it snapped out of the Rogers Bros. Bolt bracket, meaning that now it was useless. The other side had snapped before- they just dont stop breaking and I curse myself for relying on them. In order to replace it with my one extra bolt thanks to Ryan at Subsonic, I had to use Talya’s knife to cut through the Loaded Pushin’ Cushion and the RDVX griptape. As I did, the knife slipped and sliced me down from my thumb to my wrist. With some heavy bleeding, I had to clot it with dirt. It would have been a good time for that first aid kit John gave me 4 years ago that I had to ditch at mile 5.
I carefully checked my other bolts and moved forward. It was only 57 miles to Hines, where I intended on getting a good rest at the local motel.
I hoofed it a good 30-something miles to Riley, another tiny town composed of 10s of people and only one store. I stopped in and saw they had frozen sandwiches, so I indulged. It had been more than a day since I ate. As I microwaved a chicken bacon ranch sandwich, the wall in front of me had pictures of cool cars that stopped in and cyclists who did pit stops there on cross country treks. The owners didn’t seem to care when I cautiously told them I was skateboarding across the country. I figured if anyone’s picture belongs there, its the foolish trans chick who left Bend in the middle of October. On the contrary, that could be my ego speaking. I scarfed down two sandwiches, bought too much water, and headed up a loooong climb. Every time I got to the top of one climb and down a bit, another hill waited for me.
I checked my Garmin Edge Touring and saw that my climbs were coming to a close, but I also learned not to trust the elevation data. Climbing a monster hill, a man named Kenny picked me up in a white pickup. I was grateful, but also disappointed when I saw the wonderous downhill I missed out on. Kenny didn’t want to be filmed when I asked him to pull over at Great Big Story’s car. The ride there was a bit awkward and only lasted a half mile. It’s getting harder and harder to put everything in words: “I’m trans, skateboarding across the country, thanks for picking me up.” It is a lot of ground to cover in in a short discussion. He was going to the same town I was, but if he didnt want to be a part of the story- I didn’t need the ride. I pushed onward.
There was a beautiful tailwind that carried me for 15 miles. After deciding I didn’t want to hitchhike any more after that weird interaction, I was revived and committed to my trek. I got a short boost out of passing 18 wheelers and adored seeing the vegetation blowing in my travel direction. I made it up a 500 ft ascent with a 9.2mph pace because of it! Didn’t walk at all.
As I came down, the tailwind turned into a headwind. Signs of life were everywhere. The road turned into the tiny town of Hines, and I followed signs for the Best Western until I was about to pass it. No matter what, I had to find a place to stay and a warm bed was something to look forward to. My plan was to stay there, then go to the hot springs 25 miles south and have a good rest day.
When I saw the price of the hotel I cringed. It was too late to go find another spot. I had to commit. I begged for the cheapest room and ended up with a $140 king bed single room. Of course, who doesn’t love a king bed, but who also doesn’t love spending zero dollars on the great outdoors? I didn’t know what to do with myself. My first thought was a shower, then food even though I wasn’t starving, followed by laundry, beer, and a hot tub.
I stepped into the shower and could hardly hold myself up. I was excited to shave, excited to clean off all the snot and sweat I amassed since day 1. I ended up sitting down and turned on the tub, loving the feeling of warm water on my grimey skin. I got in a full body shave – partially wondering if I could have benefitted from the hairy warmth, but also excited to express a little femininity. I shaved my legs and admired my progress- four years living in the world as a woman and proud as ever to be the beautiful person I am. Sometimes I take pictures of myself and just wonder if I am in a dream. I am really, truly, honestly nobody besides myself. Sometimes it scares me.
At some point I ended up dropping my phone in the tub. I was too excited to be able to update my followers on my status and chat with loved ones. I took it out, and it had no damage. I didn’t think much of it. From there, I did my laundry (even without detergent) and went to get takeout from the restaurant next door. All I wanted was a delicious salad- something green to fill me up and give me what my body needed. I looked up and down the menu and found nothing. Just greasy breakfast, sandwiches, and buffalo burgers. If I was road tripping I would have loved to settle down and have a great local meal, but I couldn’t even think about stomaching red meat.
The menu salads were along the lines of entrees with lettuce added and rearranged without the bread. I settled on a chicken caeser salad and a chicken bacon ranch wrap. Thinking it would be the fastest food to make, I stepped out and bought myself some drinks: a Shocktop 24 oz, a mountain dew, and a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. I can’t drink anything pumpkin spice without thinking about the last girl I dated. Sometimes I think I should send her a 6 pack of simething like that, but then I remember she blocked me out of nowhere and I have no reason to hang onto someone who never really shared a relationship with me. I wonder why I’m so hung up? Why do I fall in love with anyone who shows me the slightest affection?
I went back to the restaurant and proceeded to wait for another TWO HOURS for my food. I would, at this time, like for you to picture in your mind someone who skateboarded 57 miles, hadn’t eaten anything but two frozen sandwiches 30 miles back, who was sitting there smelling all of the passing food. I couldn’t contain myself. I almost scratched my hair out of my head. My hair had dreaded itself- over those two hours I managed to rip one fat dread apart, breaking every hair locked to another and scratching out the knots.
When it finally arrived, I left in a hurry. I checked on my laundry and it said “uneven load.” And hadn’t even started washing. Every minute for every thing that didn’t work out was less of a minute I got to sit and rest. I redistributed it, went to my room, and saw that my phone was stuck on an endless loop on the charger. After fucking with it for a while, I realized tbe tub incident fucked it up and I had no way to fix it. If the food didn’t take so long, rite aid would have been open to buy rice, but it did and it wasn’t.
My phone is my lifeline. Without it I cannot organize a place to stay or connect with supporters. Even without service, it is my music and my point of reference. As a millennial, I rely on it far too much for much too much. I lost my mind trying to use a blowdryer to no avail. I let my food go cold as I ran up and down the 20 looking for an open store. No dice. I ended up at an RV park and paid a guy $20 for a bag of rice. It was worth it.
I went back to check on my laundry and someone had dried it, and folded it. In my clothes was an extra pair of grey cotton shorts. I decided to hold onto them for the springs. Back to my room, with everything in order, I tucked away the beer and leftover food, and passed out with my watch in hand. I left Adult Swim on overnight – such garbage TV. All Seth MacFarlane all the time. Who gave that guy his platform?
After a good, long cry, I five starred on the floor and passed out. I didn’t make it into the bed until 45 minutes before my alarm was set. Needless to say, I hit the snooze button.