Right now I'm in Bozeman, Montana. I've driven roughly 1,000 miles in the last two days and my car has been a trooper the whole time. Speaking of which, I got to spend some time with two Wyoming State Troopers today.
I was in Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, doing 84 in a 65. I was on my way through the state after visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, where I spent roughly 10 minutes taking selfies among the hordes of visiting families in matching Favre jerseys and Harley Davidson jackets. The road was wide open. The hills around me gaped with sunshine and rural, relaxed lifestyles. I hadn't passed a car in about 20 minutes when the State Patrol vehicle sped past and flipped a quick u-turn. I mean, there was NO ONE else on the road. Of course they were coming for me. They hit the lights and I pulled over on Highway 16.
Both troopers exited the car and came around each side of my vehicle, and I was half expecting Mac to count how many times Foster can say "meow." I rolled down all of my windows because I didn't know who was going to speak first. The young trooper on my passenger side asked for my license and insurance. I promptly provided my driving related documents. He peeked at me from over his sunglasses.
"We pulled you over because of your speed. The speed limit here is 65 and you were going 84."
Haha, fucking duh. I was listening to the Young Jeezy album that came out my senior year of high school, of course I was speeding. Plus, I hadn't seen a speed limit sign in probably 50 miles so that meant let it fly. He started a short interrogation with me and my half full Starbucks cup.
"Where are you heading?"
"Oh yeah? Where ya comin' from?"
"Well that's neat! I'll be right back with your license and registration."
Neat. He ran my plates and all that specific jazz and returned to my window about 10 minutes later.
"I'm gonna give you a warning because everything checked out with your information. Watch your speed. When you get to the interstate, the speed limit is closer to 84."
Haha, what a jokester! I turned off my hazard lights and slowly crept back onto the highway. The statie car sat there for a bit as I watched it disappear in my rear view mirror.
NATIONAL TREASURE II
Yesterday and today were both long days, sitting at about 500 miles each day. Yesterday I was about 5 minutes from my hotel in Rapid City and the biggest thunderstorm ever was like, "BOOYAKASHA" all over the place. I pulled over with a few other drivers to wait for the storm to pass. It was amazing to creep up on the storm, seeing it off in the distance, slowly emerging over the horizon and swaying hills. I took a picture of my side mirror reflecting the serene blue behind me and the menacing turbulence surrounding the interstate. I survived and went to Denny's, where most South Dakotan dreams come to an end.
Out of the blue and into the black
Today was easier than yesterday. Montana is a big fucking state. Because I took I-90 instead of coming down from I-94, there's a lot more to look at. When I say "more to look at," I mean the hills are a bit greener and there's more refineries lacing the highway. My windshield is buggy and my passenger seat is less dirty than I thought it would be, a sea of fast food wrappers and Starbucks cups.
Baby car, big sky.
I had my first mishap today and I went into crisis mode momentarily. When I've been calling ahead to book a hotel room, I've been requesting rooms with a fridge to keep my insulin cold (once insulin gets to room temperature, it's only good for 30 days). In the car, I've been using an icepack and coldpacks to keep the temperature below room. It's been about $15 more to book these double queens/one king, but it's better than warm, unusable insulin. OR SO I THOUGHT. Foreshadowing.
I get into my room at the Super Hate and I immediately take my insulin out of my cooler and into the fridge. I lay down for a bit, and then head out to eat dinner at some place called Naked Noodle, which is kind of like a more eclectic Noodles & Co. I return to the hotel room and try to turn on the TV. I push the button located directly on the television and smash all the buttons on the remote for a few minutes before calling the front desk.
"I don't think my television is working."
"Oh, you need to flip on the light switch to turn on the television and the mini fridge."
FUCK. The fridge. I tear open the door and find room temperature insulin. The fridge was never turned on because I needed to flip a fucking light switch for it to work as intended. I called the front desk to complain, and I may have been more lippy than necessary.
"Most guests don't know that they need to flip the light switch for the refrigerator to turn on."
"Okay, well you should tell your guests about it. I'm diabetic and I need insulin to keep me alive. Once insulin gets to room temperature, it's only good for 30 days, so now it's basically useless but I won't know if it's bad for another month. That's why I requested a room with a fridge, assuming it was actually running."
"I completely understand."
If there's anything I hate, it's people telling me "they understand" when they have no awareness or idea about what I'm experiencing. I know it's the polite customer service thing to do, but trying to "completely understand" what I'm going through is impossible.
"I actually don't think you understand. I don't have health insurance right now. Without health insurance, the cost to replace that bad insulin is roughly $800, and I'm not looking forward to paying that because of a fucking light switch."
He had his manager call me after I laid into him some more, and he's going to meet with me in the morning to see what they can do to help me, whether it's comping me the room or giving me the funds to replace my weird smelling nectar of life. I took a shower to wash off the anxiety and smoked a cigarette in the parking lot of the Super 8 / Panda Buffet / truck stop / pawn shop. The fact of the matter is that I won't know if my insulin went bad for 30 days. But that means I have 30 days to figure out a solution, and I don't need to figure it out when I'm hundreds of miles from what will be home and what used to be home.
Drinking hasn't really been on my mind that much. Before I left, I assumed I'd be experiencing some cravings because I've been completely unsupervised for the last two days. I made it through my traffic stop without freaking out, and I've been more focused on eating a good meal for dinner rather than if I should secretly place my sobriety in jeopardy. It isn't worth the guilt, being hungover is dumb, and I'm committed to my path, even if it leads me to a Super 8 next to what could be a meth lab or a home with one too many tricycles in the yard.
Tomorrow I'll be heading to Coeur d'Alene, maybe even Spokane if I can hold a conversation with myself for another hour of driving. I located the Starbucks for the morning, and I'm watching a Hilary Duff movie. I miss my mom. The towels in this hotel room are purple because of my hair. My face looks tired and my left arm is super tan from driving west. The water tastes weird here. The halfway point is a nomadic limbo of this journey. I need to keep going.