Stoke Factor: 8
Miserableness Factor: 1
Snot Rockets Blown: 6
Miles: 45.51 + 23
Avg Speed: 7.5mph
Day 6 was great. I woke up in my motel room, still wishing I had just camped. Its so easy to get comfortable when there’s a bed and electricity, running water, and an internet connection. I was still begging for a rest day. I spent the night tossing and turning on my sides unable to tell the difference between whether pulling my legs in or fully extending them helped soothe the pain. I passed out with the light on, which was slightly annoying – the light switch was just too far away.
I didnt wear my ankle brace. The ACL pain dissipated as well, but moved to my knee. I feel like I am getting old. I feel like after the skate is done I will never walk again. I have come to peace with that thought – all of my dreams are coming true now, so I can’t think about the future. However, during the morning in general I felt better than the day before, even after a 73 mile skate. Back in the day (two years ago) I would go off on a 75 mile skate with no water and no plans. Now, I am encumbered and generally cautious. The difference may be that I am out here in foreign territory opposed to only being able to skate far enough to where it is a slight annoyance to pick me up. I remember when I skated to Vermont 100 miles out of the way on my birthday and Joey came and picked me up.
As I checked out, a different office lady at the motel said “Good luck” and I said thank you. I purposefully did not give them a business card because I didn’t want them to read anything negative I said about the motel. At the same time, that’s probably pretty sociopathic of me and I’m not going to sit here and dwell on that thought. Ontario was a very strange pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. There was a protest going on in the street – apparently the motel charged me tax because out of all of Oregon’s towns that don’t pay tax, Ontario does. Like the protesters, I think that’s a pretty shitty way to run a city and therefore have to place the Calleigh Stamp of Disapproval on that one part of Oregon.
The city roads were okay to ride on. I could not stress enough how frustrating it was to stare a full day’s skate in the face knowing that there was nothing but chip seal ahead. Being off route 20 was an accomplishment and pivotal point in this journey. When I got to the back roads, I had a 10 mile stretch of the most amazing pavement ever with a tailwind. The roads were attractive, I got to say hello to all of the cows, and was chased by a few dogs as well. At some point I had to say, if taxes pay for roads like those, it makes sense that the rest of Oregon was made of up shit roads.
I carelessly pounded miles away and made it through Nyssa, gazing upon the Idaho border. I really did it- I skateboarded all the way across Oregon in only a few days with no rest. A picture with that sign was my reward. Ahead I saw more chip seal pavement on an uphill, 5% grade road. I looked at my map and saw that the Idaho Scenic Byway actually cut distance from the original route so I went that way. The pavement was, for the most part tolerable. The downhills were steep and terrifying so I walked part way down most of them. I cant risk a fall, especially on an uneven surfaced road. I strolled through onion farms and other indistinguishable vegetation. The harvest is over, the scarecrows are out, and the frost forced everyone to get what they could. It’s just about winter time here in the west.
In Parma I had excellent cell phone service, and decided to call up Katelyn, who is doing a feature on me for Vice Sports. It’s been difficult to coordinate with everyone who wants to do an interview – I’ve never felt so wanted! I’m invested in sharing this story, I truly want to convey to trans people that its okay to be yourself- to travel the world and fulfill your dreams. Whether its a dream about going to a mall and not being bullied or breaking world records. The attention is very welcome after long days of me, myself, and I. During the call, a wonderful lady stopped and asked if I wanted a ride into town. I said no, and she was like “Why not?” In retrospect I can think of how dumb it must sound to not have your generosity acknowledged. I explained my story and she said, “I wish I had some cash to give you” – I thought that was so genuine and unexpected, whether she gave it to me or not. I didn’t ask, she just wanted to express how she wanted me to be safe. I gave her my cards and pushed on. The donations I’ve been receiving are so needed and so welcome. I have so many people to thank in the coming days and it is so great to know I have so many friends literally invested in my safety.
After the farms, I had a 21 mile skate on one long road. It was comprised of bad pavement and all uphill. I actually skated the uphill and was sweating like crazy, exerting probably the most energy I have yet. I was just in an amazing mood. The hill was in a really rich part of the state. There were golf courses and people speeding by in Cadillacs and BMWs. It didnt bother me though, I just kept truckin’.
When I finally got to the bottom I had my worst fear realized- the road ended. They closed the rest for construction, with a police officer who suggested I buy a cab. He wasnt going to let me pass. To the left and right was the worst highway ever. Tiny shoulders, fast cars, and roadkill literally lining the street. I was next.
I called Mama Wilky and asked for a ride for the remainder of the distance and she was excited to help. I decided to meet her up the road. I walked along the freeway and found a great use for my straps to put my board in. I felt like a true nomad. There’s something to say about familiar faces. While on one hand I am loving the solitude and grateful for every second on the road, seeing a friend that I know puts an ease on my mind. Usually when I camp I lay on top of my money and expensive items, or in the motels ive been lacing a leg through the straps. I didn’t have to think defensively. Mama Wilky had been checking in on me daily even when i didn’t have cell service. It was a relief to feel safe for the first time.
When she arrived, it was all hugs and smiles. I was blessed to have her, offering me a bed, shower, laundry, and food. We chatted all the way to her house and she showed me right to the shower- you never really understand what it meant to have conditioner available to me. In all of the places I have stayed, they give the 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioners. Those don’t condition! Most times I don’t even wet my hair because it feels awful without conditioner. After this shower though, I happily rubbed my head (the side with hair). We ate dinner, a delicious spaghetti with bread sticks. She will kill me if I say something about the salad so I’m not going to.
She loaned me some clothes and we washed all of my belongings. I am too excited to not smell like sweat or be covered in snot. Her son came home (I slept in his bed) and together we smoked some weed and talked skateboarding. The weed pretty much knocked me out and I retired for the night, with a full belly, familiar faces, a warm bed, and a day to rest. How lucky am I? I have friends and keep making them everywhere. I am loving life.
My mom messaged me on Facebook and said, “Where are you?” and I replied with a picture of me on the Idaho border. “Yikes,” she said. She was less mad than I expected. At some point I told myself not to tell her about my skate because I hadn’t received so much support in the past. She would tell me it was a dumb idea, or that I couldn’t do it and I just wasn’t prepared to tell her. She said, “I have known for a while,” which then in turn made me feel terrible. Of course my mother wants to know if I am safe and alive. I think it will be fun to update her along the way. I am very happy with where our relationship has gotten to. I am the only child of hers that is currently moved out of the house – that’s probably why I am the favorite. My mom always wanted a daughter, and though she didn’t get to raise one I think her and I have a special spot to connect. She said my uncle, whom I have never met, thinks I am hilarious- I reveled in that thought. If I can’t be the best skater, can’t be the prettiest, can’t find love, at the very least I am hilarious. It’s good to have a fall back if things fall apart.“
When I was younger my father said to me: “You’re going to be a great man some day,” so I spent the rest of my life trying to prove him wrong.