Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Worst Road Trip Ever - Writer's Workshop

(note: this post is part of Mama Kat's writing workshop)

Prompt: Yuck. Food poisoning

To be fair, this story isn't exactly about food poisoning, but it's close. One might say it is in the same genre. You'll see what I mean and hopefully you don't hold it against me. Also? I'm really reaching into the dark caverns of my memory bank for this one and, as anyone over 40 can attest to, can get tricky.

When I was twelve we took a MAJOR family road-trip/vacation. Now, when I say road trip I mean the four (mom, dad, brother and I) of us in my dad's 1976 Cadillac DeVille. The trip my parents planned was to go from our home in Santa Cruz, CA to Salt Lake City, Utah, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and then on to the Oregon Coast where we were going to rent a condo and get together with our extended family. Now that I think about it, this was a truly ambitious feat back in the days before minivans, SUVs and all mobile technology and media. Yes, back in the dark ages. To pass the time my brother and I did things like argue, play the license plate game, argue about playing the license plate game, sleep, eat, punch each other and argue about sleeping, eating and punching each other.


My father's pride and joy

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Here are the highlights from that trip as my memory allows: I don't remember anything prior to arriving in Salt Lake City. Probably because we left at some ridiculous hour in the morning to "miss traffic." How did we even get there without GPS or Google Maps? I remember seeing the actual Salt Lake, and I remember visiting the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square (home of the Tabernacle Choir). I also remember my poor mom coming down with some kind of stomach virus. She was vomiting and not having a good time. Fortunately, by the next day she was feeling better. It was at this point during our illustrious vacation that I, after being provoked into chasing my 10 year-old around our motel hallway, I twisted my ankle. Badly. I remember going to the emergency room, the swelling, the pain and the nurse handing me a set of crutches. I could not put any weight on it... at all. That night (in the middle of the night) I came down with the same stomach virus that my mom had. Only worse... much, much worse.

So, to recap: Strange motel room, bad ankle that I can't walk on, and the sudden, incessant urge to puke my brains out. I was so screwed. I remember crawling to the bathroom and holding onto the toilet like it was a life preserver. I spent the rest of the night in there. I remember the cool tile of the bathroom floor against my cheek was the only means of temporary comfort. The next day we left Salt Lake City and headed  for Jackson Hole. I was given a bowl, some 7-up and a towel for the ride (thanks mom and dad!). I don't remember much about our visit to Jackson Hole, other than what I missed. I missed going on the rafting trip down the Snake river (I stayed in the back of the car with my "throw up supplies."). I missed the Wild West show where bad guys and the good guys shot each other up in the middle of the street. And? I apparently missed some good food. They couldn't stop talking about the western buffet they had gone to. Without me. While I continued to involuntarily purge myself in a second strange motel bathroom.

Old Faithful
When we made it to Yellowstone I was almost feeling better, but was still weak from, you know, throwing up for 3 days.  While there I remember being amazed at the geysers and was positive that when we went to see "Old Faithful" that would be the day when it stopped erupting. Don't ask me why. It didn't. Stop erupting, that is. At some point during the Yellowstone visit it was my dad's turn to get sick. He was out for a day-and-a-half. When it was time to hit the road for Oregon, my brother got sick. He apparently got the "weaker string" of whatever Salt Lake-Bird-Flu-H1N1-Swine-Disease that the rest of us had, because his lasted only a couple of hours. Literally. I don't even think he was really sick. If anything he was sick from watching (hearing, smelling) the rest of us be sick.

When we got to Oregon we were all pretty much recovered and I remember having a great time with my cousins and grandparents. So? The trip, for me anyway, ended on a happy note. While we were there, however, My uncle (my uncle's brother who had tagged along) got sick and stayed in his room for most of the time we were there. We would find out later (after we had left and made it back to California) that one by one all of my family members got sick. Both my grandparents, my aunt, my uncle and my three cousins. Who knows where it spread after that...

My apologies to all of the greater Pacific Northwest Region for the "disease that went viral" during the summer of 1978.

Mama’s Losin’ It


1 comment:

The Local Tourist said...

Next time you will have to take the Great American Road trip to see Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills and Rapid City! Ipods, GPS's and Mini Vans welcome! :-)