Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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Trans* Continental — Day Three

14 June, 2012

I got a late start today, leaving at a quarter after nine instead of eight. I needed the extra sleep, partly because I was exhausted from the day before and partly because cats do not understand time zones. So when five-thirty rolled across the hands of the clock he decided it was breakfast time and no rational explanation of central versus eastern time zones could convince him it was actually four-thirty and dissuade him from head-butting me until I got up to fed him. After eating, he wandered about the room muewing in that petulant tone that demands answers to such questions as why aren’t you up yet and do I have to ride in the carrier again?

The first three hours of the trip were uneventful. Drove till I needed gas. Fuelled up. Ate a burger on the road. I was feeling good, fairly positive about myself, and even my hair decided to shape up nice. The sun was shinning and there was a cherry glow in my rearview mirror . . . and blue . . . cherry and blue. Shit. It’s a cop. Instant panic mode. Thank goddess, my amended license had come so everything matched up, but would the cop read me correctly? Would he see me as just another woman on the road or as a sicko in drag who needs to be patted down, just in case?

He approached and said “license, miss?”

Miss? Did he really say miss? He did! Not only was I read correctly but I got called miss! I look young! He said he would give me a warning and asked how the trip had been. He spent more time looking at my legs than my face. When he was explaining to me the speed limit in Wisconsin was sixty-five he spoke slowly and reminded me to “always read the road signs; they tell the important information.” Yes, officer. Gosh, I didn’t realise that. But that’s okay because you gendered me properly and are letting me off with only a warning; if you want to assume I’m a flighty girl who cannot read roadsigns, that’s fine. Seriously. I could not have paid the ticket.

After that experience the skies were grey. Literally. During the twenty minutes I sat on the shoulder of the interstate, storm clouds had rolled in. Just a few sprinkles and then the skies ripped open and dropped a deluge so heavy and hard I wondered if animals were going to start arriving in pairs. I had driven into a lightning storm. White and blue streaked the sky with the occasional blast of red and orange. It was brilliant. It was freaky. It was gorgeous. It was way too close to the car. One forked bolt stuck five hundred yards from me! It scared me senseless, but I appreciate the magnificent display now, sitting on a sofa, in my pyjamas.

I pulled into smallville, Minnesota at four-thirty and was at my parents house a few minutes later. Thirteen hundred miles in three days. It was a haul but one made worthwhile by the smiling faces and hugs that greeted me.

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Trans* Continental — Day Two

13 June, 2012

The Red Roof Inn was a pretty comfortable stay and it was almost as big as my one-room flat so Spooky-Mulder did not take long to settle in and chow down some Fancy Feast wet food. The room was quiet and dark and I got a good night’s sleep. Dealing with the hotel mirror under the harsh fluorescent lighting, this morning, robbed me of the restful sleep I got. It put me in a bad state dysphoria-wise because the lighting magnifies and hideifies every minor flaw. This was compounded by a friend’s parallel between Mrs. Doubtfire and me. I think it was meant as an innocent comment, I won’t ask because it is too embarrassing to broach, but it sent me into a dysphoric nosedive and tailspin. So I had a panic attack, which delayed my leaving by half an hour.

I skipped breakfast because I felt too ashamed of how I looked to be in public. I had plenty of gas from yesterday’s fuel-up so I just got on the road and drove. I crossed into Indiana before I needed fuel and decided to grab lunch, as it was nearing eleven-thirty. I stopped at a place called the Flying-J Plaza, which is like a trucker pit stop with showers, a salon, an arcade, and two restaurants. I still was not comfortable in my skin so I skipped the sit down and went with Subway. I asked for a bag but, whether it is my Midwestern accent or I just cannot pronounce things, they could not understand me. I had to repeat myself four times and they still weren’t getting it and would end up not getting it because now people were staring at me. I left with my sandwich and pulled the car around to fuel up. I swiped my card and got a “see attendant” message. So, back into the lobby and the staring people to authorise the pump, back out to pump the gas and back in to pay for it. At that point, I had enough of people and I ate my sandwich while driving.

Spooky-Mulder cried for a bit in his kennel case, which broke my heart, but he stopped before we entered Chicago. I had dreaded Chicago. When my ex- and I drove out to the coast six years ago, Chicago was a traffic nightmare. Six years of DC/Metro traffic later and it was pleasantly navigable. The GPS, set to avoid tollways, took me a roundabout ride through the city and onto Highway 12. I thought getting off the interstate was a bit strange, but apparently Garmin knew a better route. I didn’t worry until it had been an hour, I needed gas and had to pee, and had not seen another car for thirty minutes. Now, there was no need for panic. I had the GPS and as long as I didn’t get out of the car I would be fine. Fifteen minutes later my Marcus Brutus of a bladder forced me to pull over at this tiny, dilapidated gas station. I scoped the interior out through the cracked window while I pumped gas and determined it relatively safe for restroom use—safer than the tavern across the street, anyway. Inside, there was no visible bathroom and the serial-killer-esque attendant directed me to the single seat room behind the counter. The door did not have a lock. I did not think I could take care of my business faster than I did in West Virginia; I was wrong.

Another forty miles and I was back on the interstate and in Wisconsin. I found an AmericInn in Elkhorn and snuck Spooky-Mulder in via the back stairs. I do not feel bad about the latter because they overcharged me for the room (a hundred dollars for one night). Now, I am off the road and ready for bed. Four hundred thirty-five miles traveled; four hundred twenty-nine to go.

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Trans* Continental — Day One

12 June, 2012

I have finished the first leg of my transcontinental journey from Virginia to Minnesota. So far the trip has been relatively smooth. I stopped three times while traveling. The first was an urgent need to use the restroom. I was hoping to make it all the way through West Virginia without stopping, but my bladder forced the issue. It was a nerve-wracking experience because the stall doors didn’t lock. The entire time I was in there I worried about someone walking in on me and flipping their shit. It was the fastest tuck ever, but I got out with nothing more than a few bemused stares. Thank you West Virginia, this is the reason so many trans* people get bladder and kidney infections.

Next came a Pennsylvania fuel stop. “Fuel for me and fuel for my baby,” as Dean Winchester would say. While at Hardee’s (I haven’t been near one of them for a while) I had a couple of gawkers making me their dinner entertainment but other than prolonged rudeness there were no issues. Sheetz, the fuel station, sat just across the road with an easy turn back onto the interstate. They had a lurker there. He stated at me while I was pumping gas and then followed me about the station while I got a snack for on the road. When I paid and headed back to the car I kept my keys laced between my fingers, just in case, but he stopped about fifteen feet shy of the car and just watched as I drove away.

Another three hours on the road put me just outside of Columbus, Ohio. Five o’clock came fast and I had grown tired of asphalt (no pun intended but intentionally left in). I stopped at a Comfort Inn first. I wondered if it was going to be too expensive for my budget, but never got the chance to find out. As soon as I walked in the door the manager, Ahmed (according to the shiny, brass name tag), said, “May I help you, SIR?” I smiled and shook my head. “Apparently not,” I replied. I headed down the street to the Red Roof Inn. Here ageing rocker Kelly was polite and used the appropriate pronouns. (See, Ahmed, not that difficult.)

There is a café across the lot where I’ll grab some supper tonight before getting some sleep. Three hundred thirty-six miles traveled today. Eight hundred and sixth-four miles across three and a half states left to go.