Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lessons Learned from What Started Out as the Worst Trip of My Entire Life

  • if you know you have an 11-12 hour drive ahead of you, leave as early as possible. should a client whose website you host call right about the time you're going to leave, do not answer the phone. i repeat, DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE. it could possibly lead to having to complete an hour or so of work before you can hit the road.
  • although it is a very romantic idea to just hop in the car and drive until you find a place to camp (one that will allow campfires), i wouldn't recommend attempting such a trip on the weekend of a major national holiday. you will quickly discover that half of america has had the very same idea and because they didn't have to complete a couple hours of work before they hit the road, they have gotten a head start.
  • when leaving town it is best to get all your supplies together before the morning of the drive. stopping by the grandparents to pick up a sleeping bag only leads to unnecessary chatting and long goodbyes. although it is nice to tell your loved ones goodbye, the morning of the trip is not the best time and will only put you further behind than you already are.
  • never, never, never stop at the Sonic in Dalhart, TX on a Saturday afternoon. it will take an hour to get your food and that is just unacceptable for a Sonic. this is supposed to be FAST food.
  • speaking of fast food...attempting to eat at fast food restaurants when you're a vegetarian can be a challenge.
  • if you didn't get an early morning start and your lunch took entirely too long (even though it was Sonic), i would not recommend you stop along the way to admire the view. it is more essential to get to your destination. oh sure the mountains are lovely and how often do you get to see a buffalo but you must refrain. it is the weekend of a major national holiday. this fact should always stay in the forefront of your mind.
  • if you are heading to the Aspen/Breckenridge area (in northwest Colorado) on July 4th weekend there will not be one single camping spot available if you do not arrive until 10:30 at night. not a single damn one.
  • you cannot always trust the internet. just because the internet says the temperature in northwest Colorado is 80 during the day/50 at night that does not mean it is true. even in July you may find that there is frost covering everything. FROST! trusting the internet could result in the possibility of packing inappropriately for such cold weather.
  • don't waste your time roaming around the Aspen/Breckenridge area (in the dark) attempting to find a camping spot. there won't be any! the other half of america arrived long before you did. there will not be a single damn camping spot.
  • if you do by chance find the one and only spot left in all of the Aspen/Breckenridge area don't turn it down because it's ugly. TAKE THE UGLY CAMPING SPOT. if you pass it up you won't be able to get back to it. now you have lost the very last available camping spot.
  • after wandering around the Aspen/Breckenridge area for a couple of hours and giving up on ever finding a camping spot don't think for one minute that you will be able to find a hotel room. IT'S THE WEEKEND OF JULY 4TH! THERE ARE NO HOTEL ROOMS AVAILABLE.
  • you can stop at every hotel from Aspen to Denver if you want to but i'm telling you now, you WILL NOT find a hotel room.
  • if you use the phonebook in a hotel lobby at 3:30 in the morning and actually find a hotel room available, don't expect it to still be available when you arrive at the hotel. IT WON'T!
  • attempting the romantic notion of hitting the road and just ending up wherever does not work on the weekend of a major national holiday and will only result in spending the first night of your much anticipated vacation in the last hotel room available---IN DENVER!!!
  • 4:30 in the morning is a very late time to finally arrive at a destination when you left at 10:30 the previous morning. that's 18 hours on the road--5 of which were spent roaming the Aspen/Breckenridge area in search of a camping spot or a hotel.
  • always, always, always take the interstate when traveling in Colorado. taking the side roads only leads to winding around the mountains of Colorado at 10 mph for hours. as much as you think it might, this roaming does not lead to finding a camping spot.
  • don't trust shortcuts. they may look tempting but they can not be trusted. you may just find out that the pass has been closed due to SNOW. sure it's July but were talking about a 13,000 foot level of elevation.
  • if after roaming the Colorado countryside you finally end up in Breckenridge please remember that on the weekend of a major national holiday you are going to wind up in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • if the driver of your vehicle finally looses it while sitting in the bumper to bumper traffic always remember that this is not a good time to argue with him about your destination. i would suggest you just sit back and keep your mouth shut. he's going to do exactly what he wants to anyway. save yourself the heartache...and the cursing and pounding of fists.
  • keep in mind that although it is July it does in fact rain ICE in Breckenridge, Colorado.
  • endless roaming around the northwest section of Colorado and the bumper to bumper traffic in Breckenridge is likely to result in turning around and heading home because at this point your just hopeless.
  • when driving back towards Texas there is no need to stop at every campsite you find along the way expecting to find one that allows campfires. if there is a level 2 fire restriction in most of the Colorado area you're not going to find a camping location that will allow campfires. it just won't happen.
  • you may really long for a campfire (after all what is camping without a campfire) but you just need to give it up. it's NOT going to happen. it's best to just LET IT GO!
  • 23 hours of driving around Colorado looking for a camping spot makes one extremely bitchy!
  • if you do spend 23 hours driving around the northwest section of Colorado you could at least take ONE photograph. it's just a shame to travel that far then turn around and head back home without a single photograph.

Don't worry. We did eventually find a beautiful location to camp and there was a happy ending to this tale. More on that in tomorrow's Grateful Friday post.


Blogger Susannah said...

Oh my god, M, what a *nightmare* it must have been - and yet you still make me laugh as you recount the tale :-) looking forward to hearing about the happy ending!

3:23 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

but look at the story it gave you!
thats the good thing
about sucky things,
they sometimes make the best

glad to hear it eventually got
better though

3:50 AM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

This sounds like a typical day in Mozambique!!! Seriously, we always plan for everything to go wrong no matter how well you plan or how early you leave for a trip.

Sounds like it was quite the experience. I look forward to reading about the good part!!!

5:01 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Ok I am really hoping for a happy ending or a silver lining somewhere because that was just sad!! Sounds like you learned quite a bit!

I'm always safe. I never answer my phone!!! :-P

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god--- the fact that you could make such strugle sound so funny is a testament to you!

so glad it got better-- can't wait to hear about the fun part-- so so sorry for the misery part-- glad it is in the PAST. whew.


6:11 AM  
Blogger Josephine said...

Poor Michelle!

Oh my God, I so was thinking of you and how you must have been having a really wonderful vacation. One you seemed to really need and deserve!

I'm eagerly awaiting your post on the rest of it, because this sounds like something right out of a Chevy Chase movie!!!

7:33 AM  
Anonymous samantha said...

Bless your hearts. Just bless 'em. This is hilarious, Michelle, and really the only thing to do is laugh after it's all over. I can so imagine this happening to Beaux and I, and it would be just AWFUL. (so far we've only taken one trip together, and it was our honeymoon. We got so, so lost.) And chalk it up to a 'learning opportunity'. It sucks, but you know, you learn. And learning is living, right?

8:39 AM  
Blogger Star said...

I'm so glad to see you've returned with your sense of humor in tact (although it may have been suspended for a bit?) Can't wait to hear the good stuff on Friday's post.

Welcome back!

10:26 AM  
Blogger ESB said...


1:26 PM  
Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

Other than the beginning 24 hours of the trip, it sounds fun. I love camping in the Rocky mountains, especially in Colorado. Whenever I travel to the mountains, since I'm from New England, I ALWAYS carry a change of unseasonably warm clothes. A sleeping bag is one of the things that lives in my truck too... Ex-Boy Scout... can't ya tell.

Driving around the mountains in the dark sounds like no fun at all...especially with gas prices as high as they are.

1:37 PM  
Blogger ♥ joleen ♥ said...

holy heck!!

2:00 PM  
Blogger *aimee* said...

Oh, I have to agree with my sister on that one. "holy heck!" I am so sorry you started your vaca. that way. I'm tired just reading about it. Can't wait to hear a happy ending.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said... made me laugh my ass off

My vacation was a disaster in many ways too-
7 hour car ride is nothing though compared to yours

Glad you finally found a spot-

look forward to hearing more:)

3:56 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I'm glad at the end, that you found good camping!!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Darlin' T said...

I'm still struggling to understand how a vegetarian can live in the Texas Panhandle!

Also, when did Dalhart get a Sonic? I swear the last time I drove through there it was a one-stop sign kind of town. I certainly don't remember any fast food establishments.

Looking forward to read about the rest of your adventure.

4:28 PM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

I am not laughing.
Ok. I am laughing.
But I feel guilty about it.
Sorry you had such a rough start.
Hope the rest of the trip made up for it.

4:35 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

I'm so sorry - I laughed out loud. Oh, sweetie, what a weekend. I'm glad it got better. :)

5:39 PM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

Aww man that sounds awful. I'm glad to hear there was a happy ending though.

6:50 PM  
Blogger dani said...


and of course i'll see you over the typepad.

1:59 AM  
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