Stoke Factor: 4
Miserableness Factor: 4
Snot Rockets Blown: 5
Avg Speed: 6.3mph
Waking up in a motel is always nice. I had everything strewn across the room, and made a complete mess. It was freezing cold in the room. I smoked weed in the motel and had the fan vent open. I couldnt even think about caring. Besides, I accidentally rolled up my sleeping shorts in my sleeping bag and had to sleep naked- I wasnt going outside for any reason.
Covered in warmth under all of the blankets, I continuously snoozed my alarm. The general idea was that I wanted to leave by 10 at the latest. I finally rolled out of bed and packed up. I felt like a sloth. Even though my feet felt pretty good beyond the blisters I was a zombie. Every time I get comfortable I act like I’m not even trying to skate across the country.
I had some breakfast. I wasn’t even really hungry but I figured since I had no idea where my next meal was coming from I better scarf it down. I had two eggs over easy, 4 pieces of toast, hash browns, and 4 pieces of bacon. I didn’t finish it all. I gave a woman a business card during my meal and she said she didn’t have or use the internet. What a strange thought! The internet wasn’t a thing for me growing up, I didn’t use it much until high school. Still, its hard to think of life without it. I wondered how Jack Smith did his skates in the 70s and 80s – where would I be now if I didn’t have such a connection to people all across the world?
With a full pack and water refilled, I sprang into action. The pavement was great. My Garmin Edge showed the elevation map for the route and it was nothing but uphill. Absolutely pleased with the pavement quality, I ignored it and accepted the challenge. There was a slight headwind but I didn’t mind. I used my time at the motel downloading some new music and just coasted along. Most of the beginning was downhill.
I came up to the first huge climb and powered through. I probably looked like the Hulk would if his girlfriend just caught a stray bullet, storming towards a military tank. One two one two. It never seemed to end. By mile 12 I was 3500ft up. The road slightly evened out at the top and climbed again in a 1% grade. I just kept going.
I probably had to poop since the minute I left Glens Ferry. I didn’t even think about it until I stopped to pee on the side of the road- bent over like an idiot dropping liquid on my waterproof shoes. Waterproof is great and all, but it still smelled piss. I often think back to the 2017 Ultraskate when the other girl said, “If you’re going to skate as a woman you should pee like a woman.” Ever since I always sit down to pee. She could have meant I needed to have a vagina, but let’s pretend I am naive. The color was golden. I needed to intake more water. I chugged down my 40oz water bottle and pushed forward, feeling that churning in my stomach for holding in defecation. I guess I’ve just lucked out with only having to release at motels- in 11 days I had never felt like that.
The road crossed over the 84 interstate and became a side route for truckers. The shoulder was small but the pavement got even better. I was able to glide along on the road with ease. Uphills weren’t even negatively impacting my times. I came into the town of Bliss, which was 318 people strong, with two gas stations. I stopped in at “Stinker Stores” to refuel. The water I got in Glens Ferry tasted strange so I replaced it. There was this girl at the cash register who continuously threw out the “he/him” pronouns at me. “Aren’t you that guy on Facebook Live all the time?” When I gave her a business card, she made fun of my outfit (My Supergirl race outfit looks fabulous, thank you very much). I shuffled out of the store and hit the road once again.
My travels led me to route 26. Route 26 is a one lane highway with a speed limit of 60mph. From there it was basically a straight shot up to Shoshone. The shoulder was wide enough, but I had been reading news about how many crashes, cyclist deaths, and generally awful stories specifically in Idaho that I was terrified to be on it. I cautiously trekked along, waving at all of the trucks who went into the other lane to thank them.
It was about 10 miles on route 26 when I saw an opportunity to take a side road that stayed parallel to it. I jumped into it, relieved to be away from so many near death experiences. The first house I passed had this horrifyingly aggressive lab- it chased me at full tuck down the hill and kept up. I screamed, “PUPPY STOP! PLEASE STOP! PUPPY NOOO” and yet it still went until I turned the corner. I took a minute to breathe and walked up the next hills, into the town of Gooding. Every single god damn mother fucking house had more than one dog. If fenced in, they barked. If not, they chased. Some dogs could be shooed away, others I had to stand my ground. I must have looked insane swatting at the air with my board to ward off all the dogs.
Gooding disinterested me. People stared. Nobody asked questions. I very clearly did not belong and they wanted me to know it. I saw a McDonalds on the map and set sail for it, but when I saw it was nearing sunset with 20 miles to go I had to skip it. I was STARVING. Usually my endurance fuel kept me feeling full but I haven’t been using it- it was so much work to pull my water bottle out of my pack so I hadn’t even been filling it up.
I got to the end of my side road with 14 miles to go. There was a dreaded sign: “PAVEMENT ENDS.” Luckily there was a different road only .3 miles away from the 26 so I took that instead. It was 5pm and the sun set at 6:50. Thankful for the good pavement, I pushed on faster than I ever did. Though I was starving and losing hope to make it by dark, I raced forth and went until the pavement quality left me. Chip seal and gravel dominated the shoulder as I counted down the miles. I was too focused to turn the music on. Sparing even a minute to stop was one minute I could have been skating.
The last two miles before Shoshone were absolutely miserable. I cried as the gravel whipped me around and launched me off the board more than once. I screamed and pouted all the way to the the “Entering Shoshone” sign. I grabbed a picture with the last bit of daylight left and headed for the RV Park.
Google Maps betrayed me once again. The RV park was nowhere in sight. I called the guy on the phone and he gave me a location, but it wasn’t there either. I stopped into a gas station, where 4 teenagers were working and they also had no idea. I wish in that moment I could have passed out and woken up anywhere else. I just climbed 3000ft over 50 miles. I was soaking wet with sweat, starving, and fatigued beyond belief. One girl pointed in a direction, so I risked it and followed. All I saw was another gas station. I stopped in there, and the girls were like…“its literally right behind the gas station.”
I stocked up on food. On the phone earlier, a man, George, told me that I could rent a cabin for $15 and there was power and laundry. Turned out that the cabin was the laundry room (a tiny bathroom sized area you couldn’t open the dryer door all the way in), and it also happened to be where I could plug my stuff in. I made the best of a misleading situation and set up my tent next to the building.
I spent the entire day thinking it was Wednesday. I misguided myself horribly by believing I still had one day to skate before the Friday storm came. I had to act fast- I staked down the tent and brought everything inside. I made the decision to make a rest day there in Shoshone in my tiny tent. I was lonely as ever. The people weren’t friendly and I was being berated by cyclists online for leaving in October. Temperature and weather are things that pass, no matter how tough. I wanted the adventure. Have you ever skateboarded across the country? Me neither. Instead of trying to make me feel stupid, I need the world to understand that I am here. I am in it right now. I have taken an impossible challenge and made it mine. I will succeed even if my fingers fall off at 7000ft up in Wyoming, or a pack of Coyotes rips my leg off in Nebraska- believe it!
I struggled to stay awake to charge my devices. Not feeling fully safe in an RV Park, I couldn’t trust to leave my electronics in the laundry room. By the time 1am rolled around I knew that I needed a rest day more than ever. Day 11 was a whirlwind of effort and I was proud to hit a new record in ascent. In fact, every day I take another push makes me proud. When I began, Joner told me its only a race against myself. Now I believe him- as I continue to burst my boundaries I can only smile, even if physically I am beaten.
I read a story from an older adventure cyclist who just crossed the Saharah Desert. He said it took 6 days to get halfway across. He drank bad water and got sick, puking up sand blown from the wind. He made it through raging sand storms over night. He battled a 6 day headwind. He got heat stroke and collapsed. And yet there he was, writing about his story and still gearing up for day 7. If that doesn’t attest to the incredible power we humans can compose, what else could. I am half his age and twice as motivated- there is little doubt in my mind that my trials will bring me out as a better person.