Recently perusing nightmarish vacation stories on another blog, it brought back memories of my own vacation from hell.
The year was 1990 and my oldest sister decided to get married.  Out of the 5 of us, I was the second married and by this point had 11 years and 3 kids in.  My youngest was 2, his older brothers 6 and 9.  There was no question we’d be traveling to Colorado from Nebraska for the wedding.  I was one of her attendants, which included making my own dress or paying to have it made.  I did it myself.  Wedding aside, the rest of the trip was the nightmare.  We started out early morning and gotten no farther than 50 miles away when the car started to overheat.  Pulled to the side of the road and let it cool down, hubby did what he could to take care of it and we continued on our way.  Long day on the road, we pull into Denver about rush hour.  Timing is everything.  3+ lanes of traffic during this rush hour and all of a sudden the engine blows.  Hubby manages to pull into a parking lot of a motel.  Finds us a room and sets off to take care of the car. He finds a dealer who will work on it and proceeds to get it towed.  Not knowing Denver, he quickly finds out we’re on the north side and the dealer is on the south and catches a ride with the tow truck to the dealer and a taxi back, all to the tune of over $100.  A lot of moolah for us at this point in our lives.  The car wouldn’t be done for a while.  My parents drove from Colorado Springs where the wedding was taking place and picked us and our luggage up and carted us back where we rented a car.
We got the location of a hiking trail nearby and decided to try our hands at hiking.  As we were going up the trail, the older two boys were pokey dokeying along until we reached a place where we ate our picnic lunch.  The 2-year-old needed a diaper change and they were not wanting to stand around and wait so we broke the first rule of never splitting up and let them go back down the path sure we’d catch them in a matter of minutes.  Only a matter of minutes later and we hadn’t caught them and my husband did what he does best in these circumstances, starts to worry.  He decided to take an offshoot and see if they’d gone that way since there was no sight of them ahead of us on the trail.  He tells me to take the 2-year-old and continue on down the trail back to the car.  Yeah, sure.  No problem.  Except, I’m a city girl.  And there were no trail markers.  Somehow, and here’s where I’m blaming the 2 yr old, we got off the path.  Quite a ways off the path it seems and I find myself at a farm.  Where no one has ever heard of this trail or the veterinarian clinic where the trail starts.  Worse yet, not one of them offered me any help.  I still find this annoying.  I’ve got a 2-year-old who’s decided he doesn’t want to walk anymore (it’s nap time), a cooler and a diaper bag to carry.  I continue to walk finding more houses and no one home.  Back out to the road I go and by this time I’m starting to panic because I’m really feeling lost and I start praying.  Along comes a vehicle with a man and a large dog in it.  Stops and offers me a ride.  What do I do?  Take a ride with a stranger and risk not only my life, but my young son’s?  Reasoning that since he had a dog along, he must be a nice person, I go for the ride.  Ha.  Turns out after I get in and he asks where we had started hiking, he’s a Veterinarian and he knows where the clinic is even though, it’s miles away on a twisty, winding mountain road.  There’s no way I would have ever been able to get there on foot.  And oh yeah, the clinic has been closed for a number of years.  Thank you God!  I’m sure this was a guardian angel sent to help me.  We pull up to the rental car to find the older two boys waiting there and hear them say Dad has gone back to look for me.  I thank the nice stranger and he takes off.  Wait a few more minutes until hubby arrives breathlessly back at the car ready to call the police.  He’d been running up and down the trail looking for us.
While this might seem like enough of an adventure, we also encountered a sick child after a trip to the amusement park, the wedding where the 2 year old cried his eyes out in the nursery like the little hostage he was, a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where the tires on the rental car started smoking, and an overnight visit to my other sister’s house where one child had the stomach flu all night.  Anxious to get home we got up early the next day, started back to Denver to pick up our car and had to pull off the interstate to let the child puke.  Hubby started to pull back out of our parking place but hadn’t looked behind him the best and we were hit from the rear by another car.  So now, we had a rental car accident, a still sick child and a wait for the police.  I dragged all 3 kids up the stairs of a nearby building that was undergoing renovation to use a bathroom and back down again trying to avoid the construction debris.  We ended up with a ride in the patrol car to the dealer where our car was waiting and another long wait later we were back in our car headed home.
Hadn’t gotten very far when a check engine light comes on.  Hubby pulls over, calls the dealer and they assure him it’s nothing to worry about.  Make it back to Nebraska and the same city about 50 miles away where we had our first stop when the car starts overheating again.  We called a relative to come pick us up and left the car there to be dealt with the next day.  And for a long, long time never ventured back to Colorado again.



    1. I don’t think it’s contagious. You’re safe. 🙂
      However, we did end up wrecking another rental car on an entirely different vacation. My sister sent us crash test dummies for Christmas that year. And yeah, “We can laugh about it now.”

      Liked by 1 person

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