Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Most Dysfunctional Vacation. Ever.

Today's prompt is for the "best and worst vacation" we've ever had. Since all my vacations have been pretty awesome, I'm choosing to write on the most dysfunctional one I've ever been on.

Of course, it was a roadtrip, because those never go as planned.
It started off simple enough. My sister implored our father to allow me to come spend June and part of July seeing some of the world outside rural Pennsylvania. I was 13 and she was 20, a newlywed, and living in Tucson Arizona. I pretty much thought she was the coolest person ever. It was agreed, I'd spend a month out there, and when my sister and her husband relocated to Maryland in July, we'd take a roadtrip back.

We took a flight out, and had a great time for the month while in Arizona. We went to Biosphere 2, Saguaro Natl Park, Mexico (Nogales), Tombstone, and the Grand Canyon. I was able to spend quality time with my sister, see what life was like outside my small town, and get taste of adventure.

The month ended, and it was time to pack up their belongings and drive to Maryland. Being in the military, this was planned well in advance, and I'm sure they spent many days planning the route. Since we were allotted 7 days to make the trip, I believe that we were expecting to travel I-10 straight across the southern US to New Orleans, then to Disney, then take 95 north to Maryland. Simple, really. A week was plenty of time to get there, after all, the entire route only takes two days of driving. Add in a few overnights, it should've made sense.

Have you ever reminisced over a 
point in your life and thought 
"That could've been made into a movie"? 
Day 1
About an hour after leaving Tucson, car #1 starts smoking. We stopped at some tiny repair shop in Bowie AZ and eventually they were able to fix the problem at the tail end of the day after calling around for the part they didn't have in stock. Sitting on the side of the road, I remember that I kept referring to it as a ghost town. All the shops were abandoned, and nature was reclaiming the entire town. We spent the entire day feeling creeped out by the attendant, and watching tumbleweeds.
Day 2
The next day, car #2 begins to overheat and it we have to stop every half hour (or so it seems) to let it cool. We make it to Silver City, NM and stop again at a repair shop. For whatever reason (I was 13, so I doubt they told me the specifics) we had to drive the 3 hours back to Tucson to get the part that this repair shop didn't have, and then drive it back to be replaced.

Also, SWARMS of bugs! We went through so much windshield wiper fluid these first few days.

Day 3
On our way, or so we thought. Ended up just getting a U-Haul with a tow dolly on the back. Made it to El Paso, and turned in early because my brother-in-law was now feeling incredibly sick.

Day 4
At the VA Medical Center, in El Paso. Brother in-law is very ill, but again, I'm 13. It was either so long ago I forgot or they didn't feel the need to specify. Long story short, they were getting him taken care of for the entire day, and I sat in the U-Haul with the dog and cat. Because every roadtrip is made that much simpler when you bring along two animals. Since they couldn't go inside, I remember keeping them hydrated in the blistering heat that was Texas in July.

Also, this is the day where I learned all the words to Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" and Marc Cohen's "Walking in Memphis". Those two cassette tapes were replayed over and over, to keep me sane as I waited.

If this trip were made into a movie, these would be the only two songs played, ever. 

Oddly enough, whenever I hear them (not very often, but still..) I smile and get those feel-goods that come from happy memories. What?! I should hate those songs, right? Guess I associated them with being around Spanish for the first time in my life, and since we did drive through Memphis, it all made sense.

Day 5
At this point, we had only traveled 300 miles from Tucson to El Paso, and had about 2700 to go before reaching Baltimore. We had only 2 days remaining, so despite my brother-in-law still sick and exhausted, we started to speed up a bit. It's amazing how fast you can go (130 in a U-Haul) before noticing that the speedometer only goes up to 80. Flat roads, no landmarks, the open road was calling us. That is, until we reached Dallas/Ft. Worth.

We ran over a baby turtle. And sat in a horrendous traffic jam. And we lost my sister's husband. I'm trying to remember, did they have cell phones? Walkie talkies? There was something, because we eventually reunited at a gas station after having burned an entire tank while waiting in traffic for several hours.

Day 6
Drove through Arkansas, then Tennessee and experienced air so thick you could cut it with a knife. Somewhere in Nashville I was told to roll my windows up and to lock my doors when we were pumping gas. Eyes, opened.

Later that night I made the unwise decision to bring up how I was upset we weren't going to Disney World. Yeah, I definitely showed my age there. The floodgates opened, and my sister laid into me on how she hadn't planned on things going this way either, how she wanted to go to New Orleans, and basically all the stress from the trip just came spewing out. In retrospect, that was a lot to put on her, considering she was only 20 at the time herself.
Day 7
We finally reached the military base for my sister's husband to check in, at 5 minutes to closing for the day. We made it. Big sigh of relief.

After this, we hurried over to Baltimore, to the depot where I had a bus to catch back to Pennsylvania. And, once you think that it's all good (we made it on time, after all), my sister and her husband had to run out because the police were trying to tow away their car because it was parked illegally. Only their car. With a whole block of cars left untouched. My sister about had it at this point, and said the east coast was hating on her California license plate, which made perfect sense when you consider how the week prior had gone.

I missed out on this of course, as I was left alone in a bus depot on downtown Baltimore. Not the most comfortable part of the city, for this small-town girl. But they came back, got me on that bus, and through the kindness of strangers and two great drivers, I made it home.

So, tell me.....
Do you believe the story could be made into some sort of major motion picture?
Or, do you have a crazy roadtrip story you'd like to tell?
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It's about that time again! Six months ago I wrote from A-Z, a different letter every day in April (except Sundays). This time around I'm going to write a post every day in October, hence Blogtober. Clever, huh?

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The Daily Tay

6 comments:

  1. Yes! You should totally sell the rights to this story!

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    Replies
    1. Well, maybe I have a novel in the making. Better get started I guess :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Epic in the most stressful and memorable way. I guess the word epic does work.

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  3. Oh Man! I can't believe all that happened in a week! Although AZ has some gorgeous cities, you are right there are some really creepy ones too. Even Tombstone "the town too tough to die" felt like it was on life support. I'm glad you made it out ok and that you are still friends with your family lol. It makes for a great story to laugh about now! Oh, and your soundtrack songs are two of my favorites! xo

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    Replies
    1. Tom's family has been itching to see the Grand Canyon, so hopefully I can recreate the month before the mayhem began sometime in the next year or so. And on hot summer days I'll start humming La Isla Bonita, and try to figure out why. Funny how our minds do things like that.

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