Road Trip

IMG_2764I’m sure most of us have taken a long road trip. If you have then I’m sure you are aware that they can either be super fun and relaxed or nightmares like the one in “Vacation” when the Griswalds were trying to get to Wally World.

If you have a great deal of time on your hands, even if there are family, car or other issues along the way then you can probably get through all of that and have a great time anyway. With no tight time table you can take in many of the cool sights along the way, stop to enjoy fine meals and put your feet up at night in either a nice hotel room or RV.

I’ve enjoyed some of those trips with our family (minus the RV) and have some good memories from them but it’s been a while.

Within the past five years I’ve taken two cross country road trips with our daughter Ashley during her moves out to the West Coast. The first was five years ago when she was moving to California. Although we only had four days to make the trip and although it was taken in her small Hyundai  that was packed to the gills with all of her stuff, we still have a pretty good time.

We took in the sights of New Orleans the first night and had a great meal. After a hellishly long drive the next day through Texas at least we got to relax in a comfy motel room. The next night we stayed at a cool resort in New Mexico via hotel points I had saved up and as we got in early that evening we even got to use the pool and other amenities of the hotel.

The last evening we spent in San Diego and I even got to surf at Pacific Beach before I flew back to Jacksonville the following day.

Even though time was tight, along the way we did get to take in a lot of cool scenery and stop for nice meals.

But that was then and this is now. Our most recent trek this past week was way our to Seattle and we had only five days to make the @ 3,000 mile trip. At first glace I’m sure that doesn’t sound so bad, but throw into the mix our travelling with all of her stuff in a tiny Chevy Spark along with a seventy + pound English Bull dog and you can easily see it wasn’t destined to be an easy trip.

So that Buji dog didn’t freak out if we left him in the car we ate all of our meals either in the car or at night in the motel room. In addition. as many motel chains (especially many of the good ones) either don’t allow dogs, especially big ones, or charged an outrageous amount if they did, we were limited in where we could stay.

Our room the first night (I won’t mention the chain) though seemingly pretty clean, was otherwise pretty crappy to say the least and also very noisy and sketchy. We ended up getting almost no sleep and ended up heading out before dawn as the car was preferable to staying there any longer.

The next two nights we stayed in very nice Best Western hotels and otherwise would have left them happy and rested but the first night Ashley was sick and we didn’t sleep well then the next night I was sick and we didn’t sleep well. We both believe we picked up some nasty virus that was lingering in the motel our first night.

Our last night was spent in a pretty nice room (same chain as the first one) but unfortunately the family staying in the room above us were up most of the night as their kids were running around which also got the dog all wired up and active. As you can guess, we got vey little sleep again and by that time were in a near Zombie-state.

Luckily, after Ashley left me off near the Portland Airport the following afternoon, I had the opportunity to sleep for about ten hours which made it possible to make it through a sleepless following night as I rode the red-eye back to Jacksonville via Dallas and Charlotte.

You would think that we would have ended up being at each others throats after all we had suffered through but believe it of not we actually got along famously. I’d like to think it was only because we are both such tolerant and loving people but I think a lot of it had to do with being way too tired to be anything else.

There were so many cool places to visit and awesome landscapes to see along our path through GA, MO, KS, CO, WY, ID and OR that we would have loved to have stopped but what with pushing 600 to 700 miles per day it just wasn’t possible especially with a dog. At best, the few additional sights we took in were more by happenstance.

The big thrill of the trip was when the GPS too us on an unusual and a bit frightening short cut between Denver and Laramie. It took us along a small country road where we ran into a sign that said “paved road ends in 500ft”. That it did and to be honest if Ashley hadn’t asked me to trust her then I would have turned around.

The road was really rough, was out in the middle of nowhere and the only vehicles that passed us were ones loaded from aggregate taken out of a rock pit we could see up on the mountain or vehicles that had used the same GPS suggested rout and hadn’t turned around.

Fortunately after about fifteen minutes, the road finally led to the highway it was supposed to which ran straight to Laramie and through some beautiful snow covered high country.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much especially since despite still being winter, the weather except for some rain and high winds on several days was at least warmer than normal. Had we hit snow and sleet we’d probably still be on the road.

As I sit here typing this I’m still a bit fuzzy brained but at least safe and sound. Bottom line though, the next time, if there is a next one, I will make sure we add a few days to the trip so we don’t have to push along so hard and it won’t be with a dog even if it’s with a nice one like Biji. I’m getting way too old and hopefully now too wise to tackle such a daunting task again.

Thanks for checking in and if you are planning an upcoming road trip I hope it’s a fun and safe one.

Aloha, Paul

About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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