(Data incomplete and rounded)
Stoke Factor: 2
Miserableness Factor: 6
Snot Rockets Blown: 2
Miles: 35 + 35
Avg Speed: 9.5mph
I tossed and turned all night long. Since I spent quite literally all of my time the day before lying on my sleeping pad in my sleeping bag, my body became restless. I was in bed by 9pm and fighting the idea of getting up to charge my devices. Although it was only a short two-step walk to the laundry room to charge things, I couldn’t be bothered. I woke up at 11:30pm and stared at the ceiling, still unable to move. My watch told me it was 28 degrees in my tent, and 91 in my sleeping bag. Eventually I shuffled out and put my phone on the charger, and set an alarm for 7am.
My plan was to get up early and push until I physically couldn’t anymore. Of course, all plans seem great and doable when you have all of the time in the world on your hands, but in the face of a cold morning norhing takes priority over warmth. Luckily I didnt wait too long- I was out of the tent and packing up by 8. I stopped in at the gas station and had breakfast. The girl at the espresso counter offered me a “Bob Marley” latte for free, so I indulged. It was really just a latte with coconut and banana, but overall it was wildly delicious. I tasted neither coconut nor banana.
Coming back, the RV Park manager picked on me for not leaving yesterday. He said he kept looking out the window and thought that I left without my tent because he never saw me once during the day. I gave him money for the second night I stayed and finished packing. I was sloth-like. The cold had gotten to me. It chipped at my bones and wearing everything I owned didn’t help. I wasn’t even actually cold- it was 45 degrees. But, between the condensation issues in my tent, the fact that I had taken too long to get through Idaho, the earlier sun sets, and the dropping of the temps the more east I went, I was becoming hopeless.
I noticed that Gay Star Magazine sent me the link for the article they wrote on my behalf. I shared it, of course, and almost immediately my facebook friends began doing the same. At first I was happy- getting recognition for this skate is special to me. It’s not why I’m doing it, but after CNN dropped me I felt like any attention sent on my behalf was a positive. However, as I began to scroll through, I watched as tens of people continuously wrote similar things: “That’s not a woman” – it was the general summation of the comments, and it bewildered me. Someone skateboards across the country and all people want to do is denounce my gender. When I began this skate I was more than positive about who I was in the world, but with each passing day it became harder not to doubt myself. Nobody I interact with has had the gall to say it to me, but I am left to wonder if anybody even sees me as a woman. Nobody I run into on the road does. I spent no time entertaining the comments, but just reading them made every push that much heavier. I dragged along. What am I doing in Idaho? Who am I? Questions I seemed so positive on before became a hinderance. Where I once wanted my story shared so I could take the hate in lieu of other trans women not having to, I wondered how much more I could take. At which point does my thick skin break?
It was all uphill in the direction I was going. I had no planned location to stop, no clue if I would be able to eat, and no clue who I was. I started playing music until my speaker died within the first mile- the life slowly disappeared from my eyes. I tried to pump myself up on Facebook but it was futile. It was amazing how much stock I placed in social media, and how greatly it affected me. With heavy feet, I enjoyed the pavement from the oncoming lane. I felt infinitely safer pushing into traffic versus going with it. If only one of those cars would have just taken me right the fuck out so I could be done- There’s so little to keep me motivated.
Sometimes the road had buckled up and created almost a halfpipe in the pavement. It was smooth as butter and I was able to pump like a demon through it. The wind was calm or non-existent. In all honesty, minus the consistent, gradual uphill, things weren’t too bad. I held a 9.9mph pace right through 20 miles, and dropped down to 9 after that. It was my best speed yet.
After taking a picture with some roadkill, I came into the first town I saw and walked into the saloon. I didn’t belong there. Everyone stared at me. I talked about my trip and started garnering interest as I told my tales from the road. A significant crowd began to listen in and ask questions- it felt like being at some after party post-open mic night at the spoken word bar. I felt like I was putting on a performance. The saloon doubled as a motel, as they usually do around here, but the motel was too costly- I didn’t want to pay when I still had energy in the tank to keep going and find a spot on the side of the road. As I walked out the door a man ran up to me and offered to pay for my room. I told him no thanks- I couldn’t justify taking a hard worker’s money when I had other options. I pushed forward.
Not even a mile up the road, a man in a big truck stopped. He asked if I wanted a ride. He was going way beyond wherever I was headed, so I took an opportunity to gain some distance towards Arco. He said he would drop me off there as he headed towards Salmon. We talked about my journey and I kept the conversation going about him. It was hard to gauge what he was thinking, but overall Mike was entirely friendly and did me a huge solid.
We drove past Craters of the Moon, a giant lava rock park. It honestly looked to me like piles and piles of shit stacked on one another, but was cool because of the proximity of the volcano they formed out of. I called the Idaho Park Service a few days prior to get information and they told me nobody would be camping there because it is closed for the winter, but as we flew by, I noticed handfuls of cars and tents. On the other side of the road was a hidden hot spring. You couldnt see it from the road, but it made sense that it would be in a volcanic area. Typically the hot springs in Idaho require a lengthy or arduous hike. Regardless, we kept driving into Arco. Mike dropped me off at the DK Motel when the first motel we stopped at was closed.
I handed Mike a card to follow my journey. I always wonder what people think when I give them a card and they follow my links. Most people I have not even graced the subject of being a woman in conversation, so when they go check on my progress and see me whiny blogs about not being accepted, heads must turn. I wish I could be there to see the confusion on people’s faces.
Mostly, I just wish it didn’t have to be a conversation at all. Mostly I just wish I was seen how I see myself. Since my day was over earlier than usual, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I stripped out of my clothes and stood in the shower. I didn’t even bathe. I just let the boiling hot water run over me. I thought about shaving my legs again, but failed, again, to see the point. I haven’t seen my leg hair this long in years. It’s interesting when I see myself in the mirror- I see long hair, a pretty face, two breasts, and a fit body. I like how I look. I look, to me, like a woman. I feel like a woman, and I have lived my life as a woman. In the same thoughts, I also see all of the things other people see. Man. Boy. Big shoulders. Square jaw. Thick brows. Gap teeth.
I tried to fall asleep by turning the heat in the room all the way up. I began to feel like I was passing out from some kind of exhaust issue in the room with the heater. I felt like I was dying. I had to spring myself to life by opening the windows and door and letting the cool air in. I happened to notice the lawless wind breezing by- the road to Idaho Falls was surely going to be a challenge. The temperature drops as I head east and the wind blows in whatever way you ask it not to.
I ate dinner at Pickle’s Place. The food was mostly okay at best. I got a “finger steak dinner” and was surprised to find that they deep fried my steak tips- who does that? They included a cocktail sauce with it and i was beyond confused. The taste combination was off. The soup looked like a broccoli and cheddar, but was something different. I ate it anyways and scarfed it down with some root beer. Ever since CJ hooked me up with a surprise 2 liter back in Boise, I hunt for it every time I stop. Soda is bad for you, but since I’m not necessarily keeping track of my nutrition and mostly just trying to replace calories, it doesn’t even matter. The sodium content alone is actually better for me than not drinking any soda at all.
Knowing that I didnt even skate a full day after a rest day, but got a quick jump towards crossing the border, I anticipated a 70 mile day pounding miles out towards Idaho Falls. Once I’m there, winds are blowing strong to the east. I should be in the clear to find myself 7000ft up. All I needed was a warmer set of clothes and to ditch my cotton. I was feeling ready and prepared to take on the next state. I have grown tired of Idaho. Idaho is basically Oregon, except with a lot more nothing.