It's YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday! Read more about this is all about here.
Well, given that I pretty much grew up on road trips every summer, and the fact that drama seems to just follow me wherever I go, I don't think I have slim pickins' on this one. Question is, which one to choose?
My first road trip was when I was 2 years old. We moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Whidbey Island, Washington by car. I was told it was a 5 day trip, but I have no memory of it.
There are also road trip stories which include projectile-vomitting toddlers, changing diapers while parked uphill in the middle of The Grapevine in Southern California, and sitting for 2 hours in completely stopped traffic on Pacheco Pass with a screaming 5 month-old. But I think I'll spare you all those details.
|Southbound I-5, approaching the Grapevine near Fort Tejon,|
|Pacheco Pass -- Eastbound 152, just past Casa de Fruta|
The particular trip I am thinking of happened in February of 2000. My brother in-law and his wife had driven from their home in Fresno down to San Diego to visit their two children who were in college. Because it was also his 50th birthday, his wife had secretly asked the rest of the family (none of whom lived in San Diego) to come down for a surprise birthday dinner at a Hawaiian-fusion restaurant. Of course, the whole family agreed.
So after work on a rainy Friday in February, we set out on a trip that we had made so many times before. We gassed up the car, grabbed a couple of In-N-Out burgers to go, popped in the newly released audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (read by Jim Dale, who is amazing, by the way), and off to San Diego we went.
It was raining pretty hard, and we expected that. However, as we made our way out of the Bay Area, south towards Gilroy (home of the garlic festival), it started raining harder and harder. Traffic was terrible. By the time we were in Pacheco Pass, it was about 8 pm, and raining so hard, the drops were coming at our windshield horizontally. We found ourselves ducking as bullets of rain shot towards us. Every now and then, gusts of wind would shake our little Honda Civic. We told ourselves, hopefully it will get better by the time we get to the central valley.
We were wrong.
We got onto I-5 -- the main artery through California, and for the next 5 hours, it rained. Hard. The whole time. At one point, we turned Jim and Harry off, because it was so stressful just driving. We wondered how it was possible for it to rain that hard for that long. Wouldn't the whole state be flooded by now?
|It looked like this. Found this on Pinterest here.|
Sometime past 1 am, we found ourselves in Irvine, CA -- halfway between LA and San Diego, about 2 more hours to go to our destination. Having taken turns driving, we were beyond exhausted. Howard, my husband, decided we needed to pullover into a parking lot and just sleep in the car. Well, he slept; I didn't. It was raining just as hard as it had been when we left the Bay Area. I spent most of the time worried that we would fall victim to some crazy ax-murderer. Crazy random thought, I know. But that's where my thoughts go when I'm exhausted at 2 am. It didn't matter that he parked us in a 24 hour gas station so that there was someone nearby. And it didn't help that the wind howled, and drops of rain falling from trees crashed on our roof every 2 seconds.
|Found this image here|
Anyway, we made it to the birthday party. We sat with our family at the restaurant, hiding behind menus as the waiter led Howard's brother to the table. He stood right next to us and didn't even register it was us until Howard yelled, "Surprise!" We laughed when he jumped back almost bumping the waiter, surprised to see his family before him. It was worth it.
So there you have it: our most traumatic, I mean, dramatic road trip.