Proceed with caution. I’m fucking serious about that. This post is not for the faint of heart, ie; folks who don’t enjoy vomit descriptions and anyone who hasn’t taken a road trip with children in a clown car or a Mazda Miata.
The red velvet drapes open on four stupidly happy people (Spoiler Alert: it’s my family) piling into a 2004 Toyota Corolla, Tetris style baggage in the mini-trunk as we dream of McDonald’s breakfasts and rubber band museums. This dream is short lived because before I have had a chance to have any coffee, my husband informs me of how many miles it will take us to get across the state of Nevada…the vaginal wart of America (aka ‘Merica).
“It’s going to take us about 9 hours and 24 minutes.”
That is 10 hours I am never getting back and I really wish I could. We saw a cement tree, sage brush, dirt, and other road trippers buying mediocre coffee in towns with names like “Runfast” and “Zombie Babies”. Finally, after numerous meltdowns on my part, it was over.
You will know you are out of Nevada and entering California when you are driving 85 MPH and getting tailgated by every fucking car on the road. Welcome to the land of assholes. After a day of walking around San Francisco, we needed a motel. Our plan at the beginning of our trip was to just wing it, find cutesy motels from the 50’s with outdoor pools and Elvis impersonators. Those places only exist in movies. We ended up at a Motel 6 where the first gentleman we encountered was a homeless man who was yelling at the top of his lungs “Just give me my goddamn room.” He didn’t really have a room, so he just wandered the stairs mumbling about his goddamn room key. After locking the car doors, I watched a young woman creep out of her ground level room, jump in a minivan, and duck down. We were staying at a hooker motel.
“I think this is hooker motel.” I told my husband.
“You always say that.”
Two hours later, after he went out for a vending machine Diet Coke, my husband came back with a revelation to share with me.
“I think this is a hooker motel.”
Luckily the cops drove through the parking lot about once an hour, so either they were getting discounted hand jobs or the sex selling situation wasn’t a big enough problem to deal with. Here’s a little tip to you ladies of the night: Ducking and running from your room into a minivan driven by a middle aged Asian dude looks more suspicious than just walking out and pretending you know the guy picking you up at 12:15 am in a motel parking lot. You’re welcome.
We saw beaches and oceans and ate sandwiches out of coolers. There were sandy toes and my teary eyes when I realized how big my kids are. The normal road trip shit. Until the day my husband woke up feeling strange. It became clear that he was near death when he didn’t finish his breakfast and followed that up with stealing the ice bucket from our room.
“Are you taking that?”
“I think I might need it later.”
“You’re not pooping in that. I don’t care how sick you are.”
With that, we headed to Portland. On a five lane freeway with the kids happily staring at their iPads in the backseat, my husband brought that ice bucket up to his face and began dry heaving. “You might want to pull over.” This was mentioned between gags while we were in the middle lane of a huge traffic jam. Then, as if someone had turned a spigot on his back, he spewed massive amounts of masticated food and stomach acid into the ice bucket while apologizing in between. “I’m so sorry you have to see this.” Moments before belly blowout, he had attempted to eat a banana and after the road side vomit cleanup there was still half a banana left.
“I’ll just throw this out.” I told him.
“That actually sounds pretty good.” At which point, he finished the banana. I have no words. That’s like me finishing off the bottle of tequila after barfing my guts out with nothing in my belly except tequila. Never going to happen.
The next day will be forever remembered as Bowel Movement Saturday. Imagine the number of times you are able to poop in one afternoon, then multiply that by 5. My poor husband beat that number by 2. I left my sick husband and two children in the motel, like the selfish dick I am, to have dinner with a writing buddy i had met at a conference. We got our moneys worth in toilet paper and cable television that day. Thankfully, my husband sent me a text every single time he took a shit that evening. EVERY SINGLE TIME. While I was attempting to eat food. That’s marriage, people. I don’t recommend it for those of you with weak stomachs or a penchant for privacy.
By Day 9, four states, and more truck stop bathrooms than you can shake a stick at, everyone was dying to get home. Everyone but me.
Me, wearing inside out underwear and drinking truck stop coffee: “We can stay a night in Boise and go hiking the next day. Maybe find a museum or a funky little restaurant.”
My family, in loud scary voices: “How about NO. We are driving 12 hours today and sleeping in our own beds tonight.”
I didn’t want to go home until around….NEVER. Bills, work, unpacking an entire garage full of boxes and not being able to order every single meal from the comfort of my car. No more motel chats or pigging out on jalapeno Corn Nuts and Cherry Pepsi. No more inside out underwear and laundromats next to cannabis stores. No more ABC sign games or yelling at Siri for not giving me a heads up about that fucking exit I just missed. Perhaps my destiny was to be a professional road tripper. It’s the truck stop snack aisle and the free motel ice (and ice buckets, apparently) that I just can’t stop thinking about. Until next time, my loves. Until next time.