Monday, May 16, 2011
The Worst Trip I Ever Took
What was your worst trip EVER?
For some reason this story popped into my head today and now, many years later, I can see how it's a little funny. A little. Do you have a trip like that? So bad at the time but later you can start to at least laugh about how bad?
I was living in Oregon and we made a trip to see extended family in Boise (about a 9 hour drive). I was pregnant and cranky and really would have rathered be home. My car had a loose belt and squealed something awful (we had tried the soap trick to shut it up but it never worked very well). I had tried to tighten it myself but it's really a 3-man job in that car and the shop wanted $150 just to do that and nothing else. They told me the worst that was going to happen if I left it the way it was is that it would sound bad. And it did. But sounds bad was cheaper so sounds bad it did.
On the way to Boise a deer hit my car (no, not the other way around). We had slowed down when we saw a few deer crossing the road and even stopped for them. When the one deer made no motions to cross the road to join his buddies we started driving slowly only for it to freak out and run into the front passenger side of my car. Since we were moving, the passenger mirror hit the deer in the head and gave it a good brain duster and left a LOT of deer hair all over the side of the car. We did stop, but the deer ran off and we just had to hope it was okay and continue on. About an hour later we realized it had popped the mirror off the holder but we decided not to go back for it. We figured we wouldn't be able to find the right spot in the dark anyway (it's a *really* long straight stretch and any guess as to the exact spot could be off by miles anyway). Down one mirror.
While we were there the car broke down and we had to take it to a shop whose owner turned out to be a liar and a ripoff artist who charged us hundreds more than he said he would for the job, money we couldn't afford. Unfortunately, we were a long way from home and really had no options but to pay the man so we could get our keys and go home after what was already an exhausting trip. Down a couple hundred $$$.
We got on the road and breathed a sigh of relief, happy to finally be headed home. On the way out of town I was going a little fast (about 80) and a deer jumped in front of my car (a theme?). Anyway, I stomped the brakes and we stopped just fine. Whew! We got going again and about a little while later the landscape opens up. The only thing to either side of the car for MILES is low grass and nothing else. You can see everything. So, I wasn't really worried about deer because you could see them coming in that area. So instead of the deer, the State Patrol got me. He said I really needed to keep it under 70 in case a deer jumped out in front of my car. I figured I probably shouldn't press my luck and tell him that I had stopped for the last one just fine when I was going faster and that the one that did hit me did it anyway when I was only going 15, so speed probably wasn't much of a factor. Anyway, I got a ticket. Down a couple hundred more $$$.
Then the storm clouds rolled in. What was a clear and dry road quickly turned to snow and ice and we crawled through it. That is until about 5 miles outside of Burns where we ran out of gas... In a construction zone... On a one-lane bridge... In a couple feet of snow in the dark. Did I mention it had gotten dark and was still snowing? Sigh... So my husband and his friend (wearing a thigh-high leg brace) got out and pushed us off the bridge and sort of off to the side (as much as the snow would allow) so that traffic, if it came by, wouldn't hit us.
At this point I should mention who was in the car. Me, pregnant. Husband, has developed a bad case of the flu on this trip. Husband's friend, wearing a thigh high leg brace. Husband's friend's girlfriend, whose English still needs practice and probably weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet. And one of us is going to need to go get gas because this was before any of us owned cell phones and not a soul was driving by. So husband decided he was going to have to do it since clearly the rest of us wouldn't do well at it and he left. Since we were still partly blocking the road he had us leave the headlights on so we wouldn't be a surprise in the dark if a car did happen to come along.
The nearest gas station was 2 miles ahead but had closed due to the late hour and he ended up having to go about 5 miles to get to the next gas station. The police passed him *3* times and, despite him trying to flag them down, did not stop to help. When he finally got to the gas station I almost couldn't believe him when he told me what he saw. The police car was parked in front of the gas station and they were sitting at a table inside having coffee and... eating donuts. OMG, the stereotype of all stereotypes. He thought about saying something but figured that instead of a ride back to the car he might get arrested if he opened his mouth so he got the gas and came on back. Probably not much of a surprise, his flu later turned into pneumonia.
So he gets back to the car and puts the gas in. We all get back in the car and get ready to go and... the car won't start. The lights had now been on for a couple hours with no charging and the battery had died. At this point we figured we should probably go wake a farmer up and ask for help. The one bright spot to this entire trip was a farmer who not only got out of bed very late one night to give us a jump but told us we should have asked him for the gas as would have given that to us as well. Thank you random farmer for being so kind to us that night.
Luckily, that ended the bad luck for that trip for the most part and we then made the last 5 or 6 hours without incident. How about you? What was the worst trip you ever had? Can you laugh about it now?