Stoke Factor: 7

Miserableness Factor: 3

Snot Rockets Blown: 5

Miles: 52.34

Avg Speed: 9.4mph

Ascent: 906ft

Descent: 1247ft

I got late start to the day. I didn’t mind at all. My alarm was set for 6:35am and I snoozed it all the way until 8. At the same time, an alarm in Trent’s room went off. I began to pack my things, and got myself ready. My clothes truly smelled awful. Though it had just been one day of skating, the body odor was strong. Part of me thought that because I ran out of hormones towards the beginning of the skate, perhaps the testosterone was returning that nasty manly musk back to my being. Paired with the intense workouts I was doing every day, that had to be the most realistic answer. Regardless, I put them on. It was predicted to be 70 degrees and sunny all day long. I was excited to get a nice long push into my system with little stress.

I sat on the couch and waited for Crystal and Trent to get ready. Crystal came out in her PJs and started making breakfast, after Trent admitted he didn’t know the first thing about cooking. She looked like a master chef running the kitchen. While Trent was in and out, her and I got to talking and instantly became friends. I suppose I have always been pretty great at making friends. In fact, there wasn’t a single person I wasn’t able to crack on the entire trip. It was great being open about being transgender and my identity as a woman. They were respectful and didn’t ask a lot of questions. We just…were. What a cool feeling to be able to be like, “Hey, I’m this way” and just have it be so.

I urged Trent to let Otis enjoy the outdoors. On so much land like the Admiral’s Cove Resort, the cat could truly have its way with the world. I told them that if you put butter on the paws before letting him roam, he could smell his way back if he got lost. Despite that, Trent let Otis play outside. Crystal and I bonded over Pumpkin Spice coffee. She had this flavored creamer that was simply delicious. I wanted to be able to drink it forever. If I did that, my heart would explode. Some days if I had more than two cups I could feel it bursting from my chest.

I had three servings of sausage, bacon, and eggs while everyone else had one. My calorie intake has gone through the roof, especially on those days where I have to work extra hard- like the day before getting to the lake. They were happy to feed me. I was happy to be fed. I still was unable to grasp the unrelenting kindness. After a day where the police were less than kind, and being scared of Nebraskans after that, Trent and Crystal were a light shining through the darkness. I continued to stress how amazing it was to continue to meet genuine people, who lived lives but still had room to help someone like myself. What a beautiful world it was.

After breakfast, it got to be about 10am. It was getting late. My goal was 50 miles to the town of North Platte, which meant that I had 7 hours to get there. In Wyoming, with all of the walking, 7 hours would usually only be about 35 or 40 miles. However, in Nebraska because of the great pavement, weather, and flatness, I could keep a mostly 10mph pace. I wasn’t worried in the least. Crystal ended up driving me back into town. Trent was on probation after getting released from prison, so with his curfew and everything going on he couldn’t be there for the big goodbye. I still gave him a big hug and thanked him for everything. I meant it.

Crystal and I drove into town and it was about a 30 minute drive. If I skated it, it would have taken all day. Weird how that works. If I drove across the country it would be ridiculous to have not made it already. It was nearly 4 weeks. I was grateful for the ride into town. Even if I camped out that day before, it would have taken most of my day to make it back to my route. Although it was foolish to hunt for that lake campsite, I was glad I did.

We discussed race and gender a lot, and she showed me her adorable shark week costume. She was Tuesday, with a grey ripped shirt covered in blood and a hat with a little dorsal fin on it. She explained to me that typically for the last 15 years, she religiously dated black men only. Trent was her first white guy in what seemed like forever. Having never dated a black person myself, I didn’t have much to add other than my old roommate who also only dated black men. I guess that with my lack of experience I never really knew the difference. In my life, I had never really had any intimate experiences with black people or people of any race other than white. I wondered briefly if I was racist or if I just grew up in an area and stayed in groups that were mostly white. The latter was true.

Coming up on my stop, Crystal was excited to have a selfie with me despite saying she “looked like shit.” If only she knew what I looked like when I was days between showers. I gave her a big hug and she was off to “go shave dog ass” as a groomer. Trent and Crystal were one experience I would never forget. They showed me the true Nebraska spirit. I looked forward to what was next for me.

I was in minimal layers. Everything I own smelled awful so I was glad to not have to wear it. The sun beamed down on me and put me in a great mood. The trains passed by, and after so much time as they rolled on, I began to ignore them. The same train I saw a day earlier saw me again and gave me a cheerful toot of the train horn. The pavement was rough in the beginning, but the further I got from town the easier it was to skate. Less traffic and better pavement existed in the land of nowhere.

I racked up miles at a 12mph pace for a long time, just cruising and listening to good music. I was in the most pleasant mood I could have been. If only all of America was that flat and sunny every day. I would be upset once Nebraska was over and I had to cross into the Appalachian Mountains. Mountains ruin everything in distance, but in downhill they are the goal. I spend a lot of time in my head debating on where I’d like to live after the trip was all said and done. Where could I go that had mountains and flatland at the same time?

I slowed my pace as I tried to register for health insurance. Open enrollment began that day. I went through all of the loops to finally begin my application, but once I started I ran into a snag. Every time I filled in my zipcode, it failed to recognize it. It frustrated me. Part of me felt like it happened on purpose. They truly don’t want you to get healthcare here in America. Outside of the niceties of what I’ve been experiencing, a whole world of political turmoil showed its fat face. Once there was something I needed desperately, it was only natural I couldn’t get it. When I turned 26 and lost my job, I couldn’t afford the hormones and couldn’t get prescribed them. I had been fighting with myself through depression and hormone changes ever since day one. Waking up with a raging hard on was something I hadn’t experienced in almost 5 years.

I had to return to my good mood. I put my phone down and skated forth, picking on stabled cows and skating alongside stampeding horses. Bulls stared me down as I blared my music and sang along. Nothing could keep me down. What a beautiful day it was.

About 25 miles in, I ran out of water. It wasn’t necessarily poor planning as much as it was neglect. I just neglected to check my levels- I should have known how low I was because my pack felt so light. I went into the town of Sutherland, but didn’t stop because I was on a roll. I thought that maybe the town of Hershey, Nebraska would have had services, but alas it did not. I took a picture with the sign of Hershey and posted online that I was in Pennsylvania. The idiocy of people who seemingly thought I was really in Pennsylvania showed through. If anything, it just meant that they weren’t paying attention to my ride and at some level it became easy to see who mattered and who was merely just an internet friend. Though I like to believe everyone is my friend, some people truly are enveloped by their internet appearances and I was just one person to collect.

The ride to North Platte eventually became frustrating with no water. As I hit 5 miles to Wal-Mart, the road stopped having a shoulder, and the pavement got choppy. I took a turn and wound up on a major uphill over a bridge. My feet started to hurt because of the wear in my shoes and my knee was in pain from holding me up over so many miles. I walked the bridge, and then down it. I was lethargic- I just wanted to sleep. However, it was still daylight hours and too soon to set up my tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. As I was pushing through neighborhood bike routes, my pace slowed incredibly. I passed by a million and one different places I could have gotten food or water, but I just wanted to get to Wal-Mart so I could get veggies at Subway, and be where I needed to be.

Once finally in the Wal-Mart parking lot, I slowly tip toed through the lot to the entrance. It was done- I finally made it! It was my first 50 mile day in quite some time. I took it even slower, and out of the corner of my eye a red SUV launched itself out of its parking space and hit me right in the knee, not even stopping. My blood boiled. The car was on top of my board. “BACK UP! WHAT THE FUCK!”

I went over to the window while the middle-aged woman just sat there. I saw her put her phone down. “You’re driving a 1,000 pound fucking car look at the fucking road you stupid fucking bitch you could fucking kill someone! ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED? BACK UP YOU’RE ON MY FUCKING SKATEBOARD!”

Everybody in the parking lot was looking. I had half a mind to reach in her window and smash her fucking phone. Instead, with one foul swing smashed her side view mirror off her car. It was a nice, newer car. You could see all of the electronics of heated mirrors and electric control over the view exposed. I kicked the mirror under the car, chest puffed out. I walked in front of the car so she wouldn’t leave and picked my board up. Of course, it was fine, but the fact of the matter was that this fucking woman was pulling out of her spot while looking at her phone. It was incredibly dangerous and she needed to be taught a lesson. “Would you just calm down? You’re fine,” she said.

“I am not fine! Somebody is going to die because of dumbasses like you! Fuck you you stupid old hag!” I smashed the metal bracket of my board right into her headlight, and then the other one. Glass was everywhere. I could see I legitimately scared her, so I jumped out of the way for her to make a move. She didn’t. She was frozen. People came running over to see what the noise was. She was going to hit the gas but another person got in front of her car and started saying he was going to take her plates down. “Don’t worry, we don’t need the police, I’m fine,” I said. He walked out of the way but before she could leave I took my board overhead and slammed it down on the other sideview mirror. It only broke a little bit, so I lifted up a leg and kicked it off. It landed on top of a blue minivan in the next spot over.

“FUCK YOU!” The woman sped out of the lot. Everybody was looking at me. The guy from before asked if I was okay and I said, “I am now,” still huffing and puffing. I was out of energy. I threw my board and bag into a shopping cart and walked like I just peeled the scalps of 1000 Nazis in the peak of WWII. Nobody was going to fuck with me.

I bought a gallon of water and a liter of water together. Nothing more, nothing less. After shopping, I stopped in to Subway. I got a sub, but couldn’t even eat the whole thing. My heart was still racing and I was waiting for the police to arrive, but they never did. You could still see the smashed glass all over the parking lane.

I opened Tinder to see if I could find someone to give me place to stay. It turned out that my first match, “William” and I connected. He was 20 miles away from me. I said, “Are you in North Platte?” and he told me he was in Sutherland, a town I passed only a few hours before. He was a very attractive man. Though I was feeling anything besides sexy or feminine, especially after destroying every exposed part of a car, I was definitely interested in staying- I explained that I wasn’t looking for sex, and he said, “Even if we don’t hook up, it would just be cool to help.” I liked that. He told me he has been with “TS women” before and respected me as any woman and found me very attractive. I agreed- I am very attractive.

After another hour, him and his dog picked me up. He was still in his dirty work clothes and I was still sweaty. I told him first I would need a shower- he agreed. I smelled terrible. There was nothing awkward about the meetup. Other than the fact that he was sexually interested in me, he was just any other stranger I met on the road. We talked about my journey and he explained his work to me. He made good money doing AutoCAD for a construction business in North Platte. He owned his own house right there in Sutherland.

His house was clean, albeit in the middle of construction. You could tell he put a lot of work and love into it and gave me a tour and told me all of his plans to renovate it. His dedication to making it his dream home was impressive, but he also told me he didn’t want to stay there forever. We went over all of the job offers he has declined. He tried living in other places but loved the small town life in Nebraska, even if he wasn’t making as much money as he was offered in other places.

I jumped in the shower and took over an hour to shave EVERYTHING and clean myself up. I tried to use my contact lens cleaner to refresh my eyes, but it turned out it wasn’t the typical Saline solution I was used to. It had Hydrogen Peroxide in it, and it stung my eyes worse than anything ever had before. I chose to wear my glasses instead. Besides, my glasses were very feminine anyways. I even put my eyeliner on. I was VERY interested in that man. After much time had passed, I came out of the bathroom and asked if I could do laundry. He was happy to help. He offered me some food but everything he offered sounded terrible…luckily I ate at Subway and wasn’t hungry anyways.

We spent the next 5 hours talking about anything and everything. His dog and cat were good to pet as we talked and we watched conspiracy theory documentaries for background noise. We didn’t need inspiration for discussion- everything felt natural. I asked him about his experience with trans women and he said “pleasure is pleasure.” He didn’t discriminate by gender, and had experience with men, women and everyone in between. Though he was braggart in a weird, sexy way, it didn’t mean anything to me. The night got late. It turned into 12:30 before either of us even noticed. We each smoked some weed and took to our tobacco vices over all of the hours. It felt like a good match and he said my adventure was the most attractive thing about me. He said all of the right things.

When it came time for bedtime, I told him I still wasn’t feeling very sexy or feminine and wasn’t interested in sex. Of course, I was interested but I just wanted to throw it out there that kindness wasn’t paid for in sexual favors if that was what he was thinking. It wasn’t. He pulled out blankets and pillows for me to sleep on the couch. He made me feel very welcome. I told him I’d rather just cuddle, because who doesn’t love having someone warm to sleep next to? He said, “Good, I’m a world class cuddler.”

Nothing I could write from this point on would be beneficial to my image or anyone else’s. I suppose you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out to find out what happened.

I fell asleep on his chest, comfortably, safely, and soundly. I was so happy to not be camping behind a Wal-mart.