1000 Islands and a Walmart Parking Lot: Northern NY Journey

So we are officially living full-time in the RV now. We stayed up at a state park in the 1000 Islands. Highlights include

  • No wi-fi for several days
  • My phone is dead, forever
  • First time I saw a praying mantis
  • First time in a 30-foot canoe

Now we are in a Walmart parking lot in Northern New York State. It’s been a bit of a rough start, but everyone’s doing pretty good, including the cats. Lack of cell phone means lack of easily accessible camera, and thus, I don’t have any pictures just yet. Brain is also tired, so I am short on amusing anecdotes at the moment. Stay tuned.

Oh, and apparently I can write three books before age 27 but I can’t put away macaroni and cheese leftovers in a bag. Somehow the bag ended up inside out and there is cheese everywhere. I…don’t know what happened… But the others had a good laugh.

Salmon River Reservoir: Richland, NY

We’ve been spending some time up in the Tug Hill region. This place is really beautiful. Rocky beaches, great for swimming. We’ll be staying up here for a week or so eventually, so I’ll have more to say then. Right now I’m honestly thinking about some upsetting news stories I just read- about yet more trans women, of color, being murdered. I’m feeling very privileged to be able to do this, particularly as a trans person. Life has been really hard for very long. It’s kinda stupid how meeting the right person has improved so much for me. Not that it fixes everything…It just bothers me that people can’t get unstuck in this country (world?). I was stuck for so long. I still don’t have much money. But I have relative freedom now. I have support. Anyway. I’m feeling very privileged, and a bit sad, and scared. I still feel unsafe, often. A part of me doesn’t want to reveal where I am on things like this blog. A big part of me would rather just disappear. But I do think it’s important that all different types of (trans) people write their stories. And I also can’t help writing and sharing. I could just do it in a notebook, but that’s less satisfying for me than it used to be. So I keep writing. In other arenas, I’ve been sharing more about my mental health, and past, and family of origin. It’s…scary. It’s hard to shake off the feeling that something bad is going to happen. But that’s life.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

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I’ve been feeling like the region around here is haunted. I know that sounds silly. Sometimes a part of my brain opens up and I find myself believing in the supernatural. It’s usually when my brain is seriously processing past trauma. Anyway, we were driving home the other night, through the country, and I saw three figures in the road. I was about to yell out to Joey to look out, when they disappeared. it was a man, a woman, and a child.

Joey’s currently hard at work with all the practical aspects of making this motorhome thing happen. I want to be more helpful in that area. My brain is in the clouds. It’s going to be ridiculously hot today. Lately I only really feel good when I’m under water. I should…work on that.

Malvern, Ohio (Flite Fest, Day 2)

On the left is my partner, Joey (I recently gave him a haircut). On the right is Drew, his kid. Drew is flying an RC plane, which you can’t see here. We are at Flite Fest.

And now, to experiment with pointless videos! Today I went to Flite Fest again in Malvern, Ohio. As previously stated, this event is not interesting to me. But, we are here for Drew, and that’s what matters. At some point I want Drew to explain why it’s interesting, perhaps in a video. I did like watching him fly his RC places. I am mildly curious about learning to do it myself. I did a lot of wandering the village around today, and I took some videos and pictures. Malvern was a small, mostly deserted town. I bought some blackberry wine at a gas station. The ladies were very impressed that I was all the way from New York (it said on my license). I have interacted with pretty much no one otherwise. I’m realizing I’m the shyest in these situations. Hm, what else has happened? Mittens is much more comfortable here at the hotel than she was the first night. That’s a relief.

Both Snowflake (left) and Mittens (right) seem pretty well acclimated to hotel life.

And now some of my photography that I took on my walk around Malvern. I have an obsession with rundown and abandoned buildings, if you didn’t already know this.

IMG_4972   Another fairly pointless video for you: And lastly, a deceptively prettier picture of the view from our hotel tonight. Through the bug screen.  And so, this is where I shall end. Tomorrow I have a couple writing assignments I need to finish, and I’m also hoping I can check out this nearby lake/swimming spot if possible. Drew and Joey should be back soon, and then I imagine it will be sleep time. So good bye! Oh and for the record, running through the grass was an awful decision. I’m still itchy.

Carroll County, Ohio

It is the first REAL OFFICIAL CAT ROAD TRIP! Meaning, this is the first time we have travelled a distance, as the entire family,  including Mittens and Snowflake. For the most part, it has gone very well. Snowflake seems comfortable and adventurous, as always. Mittens is a little skittish. She will definitely be happier when we have the motorhome. Note- we know our cats well and pay attention to them and we would not put them in uncomfortable situations that we did not feel they could handle. My partner Joey has trained animals all his life and did a lot to prep them for the trip. So don’t worry.

I write this from the third floor of a hotel in Carrollton, Ohio. This is possibly the most boring place I have written about yet. We are here because Drew is attending Flite Fest, in Malvern, Ohio. This is a gathering of people who do remote control airplane stuff. It’s…really really not interesting to me. But it’s nice to see him doing something he enjoys. It’s basically in this big cornfield (see below). I left to go do some work, because there was no wi-fi. I ended up at the Malvern Public Library, which wasn’t much bigger than our hotel room.

Snowflake enjoys the hotel room.
The view of scenic Carrollton, Ohio from our hotel room
We left a gift. You can’t tell, but the pin says, “Diversify Science!” Rainbows AND science. Clearly a hate crime.
This building in Malvern was interesting.
The view from Flite Fest.

It’s sort of nice to be on a trip that isn’t centered on my writing career. Actually, a week or so ago Joey and I went to NYC to see Morrissey live, at Madison Square Garden, but I never got a chance to really write about that. It was an overnight trip, and the concert was awesome, and the after party was fun, but the rain was awful.

OK I can’t remember anything else that happened today or yesterday. I’ll write more over the next few days.

The Cats of Chamounix Mansion, Philadelphia, PA

A penny jar at Hostel International at Chamounix Mansion

It’s been over a week since I last wrote and it’s high time I got to telling you fine folks about my trip to Philadelphia for the Philly Trans Health Conference. I know you’re probably dying to hear about how I actually did at the conference, and all the interesting things that happened being surrounded by so many other trans people…and how it was empowering, and uplifting, and blah blah blah. BUT. First, more importantly, I need to tell you about that cats at Chamounix Mansion.

The guest house where we stayed
The main building for the hostel

That is the place we stayed. We couldn’t pronounce it so we called it Shamwow Mansion. It’s an international hostel and it was cheap, but amazing. We had a private room in the guest house and it was only $55 a night.  It was located in this beautiful park about a ten minute drive from the convention center and downtown Philly. The first thing I noticed upon arrival were THE CATS.

This guy, who I call Spike Jr., kept walking out in front of people’s cars. He may have had a little bit of a death wish.
Tuxedo Jones (I have a habit of naming cats when I see them, so assume that these are the names I came up with unless otherwise specified).
This is Bacon. He is the only one who isn’t feral, and I didn’t give him his name. He lives at the mansion, sometimes in the masion. Nobody else is allowed inside. He is king.
Whitey II immediately jumped atop Joey’s car after we parked.

I was kind of disappointed that we had to go to the conference at all because this place was awesome. I could have hung out with the feral cats and horses and roamed the grounds all three days, if I didn’t have to sell books.

Another shot of the guest house, in the evening.
This is apparently the kind of hostel where people keep horses in a stable and play polo during the day…? So odd.
Smokey was very friendly and we chilled outside the guest house for a while and I tried not to smoke on him. He kept wanting to get in my lap though, so eventually I just put out the cigarette. It’s a good friend who tells you things you don’t want to hear. Thanks Smokey.
Joey took lots of nature photography from the windows. He was lucky and just stayed at the mansion the second day while I went to sell books at the conference.

Anyway, maybe I’ll get around to telling you about the conference eventually. Some cool stuff happened, though I’m having trouble remembering. It was all kind of a blur. However, as slippery as my young memory can be, I will never forget the cats of Shamwow Mansion.

Auburn, NY

Yesterday we went to Auburn with the objective of me giving a reading at an open-mic-style event for writers. As I often do, I got cold feet as it got closer to the time to go. We still drove out there anyway and gave it a try. There was a very small, homogeneous crowd of people who I felt awkward sharing my writing with. I didn’t feel like outing myself to a room of about five middle-aged to old, cis and straight appearing people. I don’t mean to be prejudice or stereotype, it just wasn’t comfortable for me facing the unknown. And I hate small crowds. It’s much more awkward than a large one. My social anxiety has been pretty nasty lately.

After we left, we went to a place called Emerson Park. Joey took some photography, and I took some phone photography, which actually works better for me than the DSLR camera. We were on Owasco Lake. It was nice out, and I had taken some Klonopin to relax for the reading, so I was pretty chilled out. I played on a playground and we looked at the water. We stayed til dusk.   Now I am back in Syracuse, in the Valley at a coffee house I’ve never been to before. I find it kind of funny that it’s called The Broadway Cafe because this is sort of the middle of nowhere and definitely not anything like Broadway. Oh my GOD I am craving a cigarette. I have this ecig thing but it just isn’t cutting it today.

I am mostly trying to keep this particular blog about my travels and not a lot of self-reflection. I save that for my other writing. But if it leaks out time and again, that’s fine. I can’t wait to get our motor-home and just be on the road all the time. I’m not sure how much longer that will take. I’m ready though. Then these posts will start getting more interesting.

So next trip is to Geneva, NY for the Finger Lakes Pride Festival, where I will be selling and signing my books. Here’s some info on that, if you’re interested:

Finger Lakes Gift and Lounge, 60 Seneca St., Geneva, NY

May 30, 10 pm

I’ll be reading along with other local trans storytellers.

Seneca Street Parking Lot, Downtown, Geneva, NY

May 30, 1-7 PM

I’ll be selling and signing copies of my books as well as art. Come say hi!

Skaneateles and Niles, NY

Yesterday we took a motorcycle ride to Carpenter Falls in Niles, NY. That’s sorta near Skaneateles. We also stopped in Skaneateles to charge Joey’s camera batteries at a gazebo in the park. It’s an odd place. Way more upscale than Syracuse. It’s a little too quaint for my liking, but nice for an occasional drop-in. Further south at Carpenter’s Falls, we did a lot of hiking. Or at least what I consider a lot. Some of it down and uphill with unstable terrain. It was mostly worth it. I like a little hiking now and again. Joey loves it though. He is a backpacking, survivalist person. He’s done a lot of that sort of thing. I like nature, but my attention span is too short for that. Also I only like physical exertion in short, controllable bursts. It occurred to us for the first time that we probably appear strange to people as two men on a motorcycle. I ride “bitch” so to speak. Sometimes I think my gender is indeterminable in a helmet, but lately I’ve had a mustache. And a beard, but that is hidden. Also, our water bottle flew off the motorcycle on the ride there, and we actually found it on the road on the ride back. Being on the back of the motorcycle gives me lots of time to myself to think. I especially like when I’m very tired and the breeze feels amazing and the sun is setting and we are riding through the country side. It’s lovely. Not much else is coming to mind to say about this trip. Here are some photos though. My next trip will also be to the Finger Lakes, because I’ll be doing a reading in Auburn on Thursday night. Until then! Unless something else happens.

Gazebo in Skaneateles, NY
Carpenter Falls
The middle of nowhere, NY.
The falls we had to hike downhill to see.
Carpenter Falls from the road.