Stoke Factor: 1
Miserableness Factor: 9
Snot Rockets Blown: 0
Miles: 11.39 + 13
I was covered in wetness outside of my sleeping bag, and completely hating myself for having to pee. I held it off for as long as I could and eventually ran into the 30 degree night in shorts, a bra, and bare feet. I shivered all the way to the designated bathrooms- not that it remotely mattered whatsoever because I was the only one on the site, but I ran around the small building looking for a Women’s bathroom. Imagine my surprise when the options were ‘Family’ and ‘Men.’ I decided the Men’s bathroom was the closest and walked toward it. There was a sign on the door:
“The restrooms are locked for the winter.”
That was when I realized it was winter. It seemed as though nobody really gave Fall a chance. I turned around and freestandingly dropped my shorts and pissed into the air. No wind. It was dark. Tiptoeing back to my tent, I snuggled back to the warmth and fell asleep.
I accidentally slept through my watch alarm, and heard trucks rolling into the campground. “Park Ranger, anybody home?” Oversleeping meant that I had to pay to camp. I tried to explain my story and the ranger still charged me a lousy $20 for only a half day’s stay. He told me it was so expensive because I chose to stay at a unit with power. No discount for no water, however.
Getting out of the campground, I knew I was in for a shit storm. There was a flag in on the way out, strongly blowing west- meaning I was about to barrel into a headwind. And boy did I. It felt maybe between 15 and 20 mph, but in all honesty it was the least of my worries. The same pavement I thought looked good was actually some of the most hardcore chip seal I had ever seen. It aggravated my blisters, and paired with the wind every push was more work than it was worth.
I made it a single mile before I lost faith. It was 14 miles to Old Highway 30. It was less taxing on my body to walk with my board on my back than to push. I prayed that someone, anyone would stop and take me to the next turn. The wind never let up, and I climbed and climbed the long 1% grade road that never ended. At mile 3, a woman pulled up next to me. I thought she was offering to pick me up, but she said, “want some water?” …I felt patronized. I said no thanks and she said “how about a chewy bar?” …I felt like she was making fun of me. I couldn’t even think about taking it even though I hadn’t eaten in a day. What a jerk. Maybe she was genuine, but that smirk on her face pissed me off. Maybe I WAS just hungry.
I walked on. Only trucks came to pass, no cars. The grass was uneven, and the road was poor for walking. I started crying somewhere along the way pleading for the wind to stop. I begged and begged. I didn’t know who to pray to. It surely didn’t matter, nobody was listening. Every time I whine to something and get ignored I feel like that girl who filmed a bear ripping at her kayak saying, “Please Bear! Stop, Bear. Bear, Stop!” I fucking crack myself up every time I watch that video.
This is that video: https://youtu.be/B3qhEIZBlX8
I went on Facebook Live and screamed at the nothingness of Idaho. I felt so hopeless. I was in pain, against all odds, and completely losing it from no food consumption. It had been about 6 more miles to go when a lovely woman came and greeted me. She handed me a paper bag with hand warmers and tea in it. That was so nice! I gave her a card and told her about the trip. I could imagine I looked (and smelled) quite awfully. I probably looked like a horribly abused 26 year old dog.
She offered me a ride to Glens Ferry, my target location. I had to take it. I felt horrible. She showed me her view behind her house and it was amazing. We both agreed that once you stray off from the nothingness of the northwest desert, there is beauty to be found. Her home overlooked the Snake River on the perfect bend at the break of route 78. We chatted some more as she drove me on. As far as I could see, until it turned into route 30, it was 25 miles of awful chip seal. Even though I got a boost in distance and only went 11 miles, I decided to spend time in Glens Ferry.
She dropped me off at Alley Cat Pizza. There were two girls and a guy and I told them all of my travels while I decided what to eat. The guy offered me his mobile Wi-Fi hotspot while I ate. I was thankful. My service stopped along the way and I needed to tell people I was alive. I told the girls to just make me any pizza. They put together a delicious pie with cilantro and tomatoes and bacon. It truly was the best pizza I’ve eaten on this journey yet.
I couldn’t help but to notice the sheer insane amount of flies in the tent where the restaurant was. So far, flies have just become commonplace to me. I have encountered them everywhere I went, from Oregon to that restaurant. This time though, there had to be hundreds. I dont understand it. In San Diego, there are almost no flies to speak of. In even the cleanest spaces flies seem to find a way in.
I couldn’t help but to be reminded of the time I left a roast beef sandwich on the floor in my old Toyota Corolla some years ago. It sat there for weeks, buried under other sandwiches I ate from Whole Foods on my breaks at work. I basically lived in that car- it was where I changed my clothes to women’s attire because I couldn’t do it at home. I guess after living in it for so long the smell never bothered me- the smell of rotting meat under my passenger seat.
I picked up a second job as a dog groomer, and one day my coworker asked to borrow my car to get us all coffee. When she came back, she said “I can’t believe the smell in there, I’m going to clean your car.” She vame back after a few minutes and said I needed to look.
Maggots. Maggots literally everywhere- in the seat, under the seat, under the carpet poking through the threads, and anywhere I could see. I wondered how I never noticed. We sucked them out with a vacuum and I finally learned why every morning 10-20 flies would escape my car every time I got in it.
Maybe Idaho IS rotting meat. Maybe the people are all rotting away churning tbe cogs of small town life into early graves in their own backyards. Maybe there’s so many flies because their roads are fucking SHIT.
After my pizza, I checked in to the Hanson Motel. Quaint place. The girl who drove me said she wouldn’t eat anything from there nevermind drink the coffee. I had a different experience. The motel, albeit creepy as fuck with clown paintings on the walls, was overall clean. I warmed up and got to work on some personal care. After my shower, I realized there was no chance in hell I was ever going to undo the knots of hair that dreaded themselves on the back of my head.
I skated about a half mile down the street to Family Dollar and got some conditioner, a second charging cable, a hairbrush (in such a cute travel size!) and a lighter. All the things I needed in one place. A woman in line kept staring at me. “You’re not from around here are you?” I must have stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn’t even seem to notice, but she told me I was the talk of the town. She asked about my skate but I was so tired all I wanted to do was rest. I was probably rude. I just took a page from Jack Smith’s book and said, “I didn’t feel like working anymore so I decided to do this instead,” and I was off.
Back in my room I ripped my hair apart for hours getting the knots out. I lost a lot of hair and sanity. After, I ate at the Hanson’s Cafe that also ran the motel. I had a bacon burger with tomato onion and lettuce. Apparently I suddenly like tomatoes now. I used to hate them. Now they seem delicious to me. I asked for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but she brought me back a grilled cheese with no ham. I didn’t contest it, I just paid and left.
Fed, contented, and ready to rest, I retired to my room while my washed clothes dried. I washed them in the sink. Wasn’t sure what else to do- I was far too lazy to go to the laundromat next door.
I have been wasting time. It is going to snow on Friday. Bring it on. I feel I have only just begun.