Hitchin' Denver to California: What Could Go Wrong? (Pt. 2) (1 Viewer) Photos 

Honey Crust

Wise Sage
Nov 4, 2018
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I woke up.
I heard voices.
It was still pitch black outside so it had to be at least before 5am. I looked to the north and saw a flashlight scanning the trees a little ways up the path from us. The flashlight was getting closer.
I didn't know what to make of it, I didn't know whether to wake up Mike and be prepped to fight someone off or if I should just lay low and hope they pass.

"Girl, what are you doing?"
"I don't know, I just feel like a person's just gonna be standing right there."
"There's no one out here, we're fine! It's like four in the morning."
"Yeah, I guess you're right..."

Whoever was holding the flashlight either turned it off or stopped pointing it into the trees right before the beam could fall on us. I laid as low as I possibly could, and waited for the footsteps to fade into the distance.
Holy shit.

"That's fucking hilarious," I managed to whisper to myself while trying to stifle a laugh that surely would have drawn attention to our little camp. I was able to compose myself enough to fall back asleep, and I dreamt of mazes and puzzles. And then I woke up to this:


You're such a good fuckin' girl, Jemma.​


That night turned out to be colder than I would have liked, and the dry mountain air chapped my lips to all fuck, but damn if this isn't a good way to wake up. The sun felt so nice against my face, and as I was more awake than Mike, I decided to get some breakfast going.

I wish I took a picture of my little camp stove setup, because honestly it's cute as shit, but you'll just have to trust me here. I took out my mess kit and opened my aluminum pot to set up my stove, one of those little beer can ones that you can make yourself and run on ISO alcohol. First, coffee. I boiled enough water for the two of us, and as it was starting to bubble, Mike was starting to stir.

"Hey, do you drink coffee?"
"You have coffee?"
"It's instant, but it's caffeine, and it's coffee. I figure a little whiskey in there too wouldn't hurt."
"Oh you had me at caffeine and whiskey."

Instant coffee? I got some mixed feelings about it. My boyfriend back in Colorado likes to spoil me with his french press and his fuckin whole beans measured by weight and then ground by his own self; but drinking that first sip of instant folgers boiled with gas station tap water mixed with just enough whiskey to make it interesting?

Oh, the Gods could try to make better coffee for us that morning.

I threw a can of soup into the now empty pot, and made us some cheese tortellini for breakfast. Once I finished my coffee, I poured myself my serving, and then Mike threw in some pre-cooked meatballs that the homebum from yesterday practically threw at us for his cup. It was surprisingly filling, and in that little trough, eatin' breakfast and soaking up the morning sun, I couldn't keep myself from smiling. It was going to be a very good day.


For once in my life I knew exactly how Jemma feels in this photo​

"Oh shit, it's fourth of July, isn't it?"
"Oh yeah. There's a parade going on in town today. Should be really good spanging!"
I knew that the money would be good for a small town holiday parade, but I also had a lot of ground to cover. I wasn't even halfway to Grand Junction and I only had 8 days to get to LA. If my rides yesterday were any indication, I'd need all the time I could spare.
Fuck it, though. I'll stay until lunch time, busk up enough for a midday meal, and then make my way to the highway. We packed up our camp, left not a trace, and started making our way to Main Street.

"Holy shit, there's a lot of people here."
The entirety of Main St had been closed off, and there were collapsible chairs lining both sides of the thoroughfare. The parade hadn't started yet, and we noticed some other street performers drawing small crowds before them. Not too much competition, and people seemed eager to donate to the various acts on the corners. We found a nice little spot for ourselves, and the two of us started our respective hustle. As Mike struck up conversations, I played folk tunes telling of travel and instrumentals that sound like a smile. Jemma was just being Jemma, and that's all she needed to be, as kids walked up to pet the one dog there that was smaller than they were.

Someone stopped by and accompanied me on their harmonica, another bought us hotdogs and slaw, some more folks asked where we were going, where we came from, and wished us luck on our respective journeys. We managed to drum up $15 each in just an hour, and then my phone got a little notification. I have this app called Co--Star, it's an astrology app that gives you little daily reminders based on your star signs and birth chart. Sometimes they're extremely accurate to whatever situation I'm in, sometimes they're just general affirmations or advice.

Today, this notification read "Sometimes wasting time isn't a conscious act."

Taking the obvious sign that I should keep moving, I exchanged numbers with Mike, and bid my farewell to him and Jemma. I would meet up with him about a month later in Denver, and make some loose plans about hopping together later this fall, and I was excited to finally find a road dawg that I would honestly trust with my life. I made my way to the I-70 on ramp north of town, set my bag down, and stuck out my thumb.

It was a beautiful day, and I had PUP on my mind, so I popped in my headphones and threw on their latest album Morbid Stuff. A crazy fun soundtrack for a bright summer day, it was about fifteen minutes in when Scorpion Hill came on and my first car stopped. It was a Subaru Forester with a bunch of blankets and pillows in the back, and a real cute dirty kid at the wheel. She was only going to copper mountain which was five minutes up the road, and we both figured I'd get better traffic where I was now. She pulled away, and I once again immersed myself in music and resumed dancing on the shoulder of the highway. It was another sixteen minutes until a dirty old cargo van pulled up, and as soon as I saw the driver, I knew it was going to be a good ride. Half-kept shaved sides, shirtless, and exuding an energy of "dirty queer mountain biking," I eagerly hopped in.

This gentleman took me all the way to Glenwood Springs, CO, which was halfway between Frisco and Grand Junction. I at least wanted to make it out of the mountains today, and figured that with all these little towns all my rides would be less than an hour. After GJ, there's nothing until Las Vegas, and I could make that ride in a day. But for now, I was still stuck in the rockies, and this full day of travel would keep me busy. My ride dropped me off at a subway next to the interstate, and before I could even step outside, he gave me a departing gift, some powder in a sandwich bag.

"That's three grams of shrooms. I feel like you'd appreciate it!"
Oh boy, do I ever! I thanked him profusely and went into the subway, where I got myself some lunch and was able to charge my phone to full capacity. There was another on ramp a mile up the road with a TA according to Maps, but this ramp right next to the subway seemed to be getting a lot of traffic as well, so I figured I'd try my luck here before I walked another mile in the blazing heat.


I was getting real fond of these signs, I tell ya.​

It was 3pm, and while near the cover of trees, there was no viable shade where I could be seen by cars turning onto the highway, so I tried to get my skank to cover the back of my neck while I waited on the asphalt. The soundtrack for this ramp was Iron Chic's You Can't Stay Here, which I thought was a very fitting album title for the task at hand. This spot took the longest out of the whole trip for me to grab a ride, but when one finally showed up, I was happy to get out of the heat.

This guy had just gotten off of work and was heading home, and took me only a few minutes up the interstate to New Castle. It was a tiny town with not much in the way of traffic, but it did have a bus stop where I could take transit to Rifle, which had an actual truck stop and a lot more people passing through. It was only three bucks, and I'd take that guaranteed travel with air conditioning any day. I waited for about 45 minutes an the uncovered bus stop underneath the cloudless sky. The heat was intense, and I could feel one side of my face getting more than than the other. I debated throwing my skank over my face, but felt that would be too sketchy for this small town, and so I dealt with the sun until the bus showed up.

It was a quick ride to Rifle, and I had to walk a decent bit to get from the bus stop to yet another on ramp, but goddamit, I had somewhere to be. As I made my way south in the blazing sun, I came across a bridge that spanned the Colorado River:


Oh I can't tell you how much I wanted to take a dip in that holy shit.​

As I crossed the river, I again found myself smiling at the things I get to see, the experiences I get to have traveling like this, and I thought about how genuinely happy I'll be that I lived my life the way I have when I finally pass. Thunderbolts! by Iron Chic cheering me forward, I crossed the river and dropped my pack on the dirt shoulder of the ramp to the interstate. I drank in the cool summer breeze that greeted me underneath the shade of the trees above, and sat down, expecting another long wait. I was happily surprised when not too long after, a little red car pulled up and the driver said she was going to Grand Junction. Elated that I was going to make it out of the mountains before sundown, I hopped in her passenger seat and we pulled away.

After introducing herself as Kiana, and noticing that she was drinking a kind of canned juice you can only really get in Hawaii, I asked if she was Hawaiian by blood, to which she replied "yes." I told her that's where I grew up and we had a wonderful conversation about that, and she understood why growing up on an island in the middle of the fucking ocean would compel one to travel like I do. She asked me what my favorite song was right now, and not being able to answer with just one, I gave her my top five, with one answer just being the entirety of the album Harmlessness by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (Yes, that is the band's whole entire name). Kiana said that she had never heard of it before, so I offered to put it on, and she absolutely fell in love with it (as one should, it's a fucking phenomenal piece of art when listened all the way through. It's a fucking album).

As we pulled into Grand Junction, we came up behind a truck that was flying a flag that had the american flag fading into the confederate flag with a big ol' gadsden snake smack dab in the middle*. Kiana and I looked at each other and it was then that I fully realized that I'd be sleeping outside by myself in a town where people proudly fly this shit on the fucking fourth of July. That was also when I remembered that last I checked, GJ still had an active KKK chapter, and I immediately became more than a little frightened for my own safety just for the night I spent here. The sun was low enough in the sky when Kiana dropped me off at a Walmart on the east end of town that I knew I was gonna be stuck here, and it was late enough on a holiday that the buses couldn't get me to the truck stops on the west edge of town where I felt I'd be a lot safer.

I redownloaded Grindr, much to my own disdain, and updated my profile to ask if anyone had a floor or a couch for me to crash on for the night, explaining that I really didn't feel safe outside by myself as a trans woman in this kind of environment. I missed the comfort of knowing that Mike had my back, and me his, and instantly felt more alone than any other time that I've spent traveling. Luckily, my phone started getting notifications, and I began to wade through the swamp that is being a trans girl on grindr.

That's when Steve hit me up. Steve's a trucker. I'm only using Steve because he could get in a lot of trouble for this, so that's not his actual name. But holy shit. Steve was the fuckin' coolest. He was spending the night at a truck stop up the interstate, but offered the top bunk in his cab to me cuz he didn't want me to be stuck out there. He even fuckin came and picked me up from the Walmart at like 11pm, and as soon as I sat down in his passenger seat he felt like someone I could trust. Unfortunately, he was very adamant about not having any kind of substances on his truck, and knowing my luck, if I tried to sneak something past him, we would've gotten fucked. I left my little bag of shrooms behind a trash can outside of Walmart before Steve got there, hoping that whoever found it would enjoy the gift.

We pulled into the truck stop we were going to stay at for the night, and we both started getting ready for bed. I was a little over sleeping in my clothes, and not having any sense of embarrassment over nudity around strangers, I asked if he would be comfortable if I slept in my undies tonight. He said he didn't care and that he was going to do the same anyway, so whatever's clever. He then said "if you feel like cuddling, you're welcome to join me down here, but if not, I'm not gonna make you," which honestly made me trust him even more. I figured I've been touch starved for the last couple weeks of being on tour and away from my partners so I said what the heck. Everyone needs a cuddle sometimes. I laid down next to Steve, and almost immediately felt it was going to be more than just cuddling that night.

Gonna spare y'all the details, but fuck dude.
Steve knows how to treat a girl right.

The following morning, I awoke to the rumble of us pulling away, and still feeling oh so wonderful after the last night, I teased him a little by staying in his bed and waiting just a little bit to get dressed while we went west on I-70. After I finally got some fresh clothes on (oh gods, fresh clothes), Steve let me know what was going on as far as where he was headed.

"So. I know you're trying to head west, but I'm headed up to Salt Lake City to take my weekend. I can drop you at the junction of 70 and 15 south, but I don't know how good of a spot that'll be... Here's another option: I'm taking a load down to Las Vegas on Sunday, and if you're willing to stay in town for a few days, I could take you down there."

I thought about it; I had plenty of friends in SLC that I wouldn't have any trouble finding housing, and a few days for a guaranteed ride to Las Vegas sounded like a solid deal. I said yeah, I could do that, and started hitting up my friends as we made our way to the land of the mormons.
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Honey Crust

Wise Sage
Nov 4, 2018
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* I don't understand that flag. Like, does he not realize that those two things don't go together? That they were literally two opposing sides of a civil war? Like does he not know that confederate soldiers were killing american soldiers and vice versa? like??? What does that flag mean I really want to know what he actually fucking thought!! what the fuck!!
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