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Instagram tells one story, reality tells another

"Objects in mirror are closer than they appear"

For the past few weeks, every time I catch up with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while the questions seem to be the same: “How was your road trip?” “Your pictures looked amazing” “It looks like you guys had so much fun.” The truth is, our road trip was indeed great, and we did take beautiful pictures and we did have so much fun but, unless you are a person that I talk to often, you didn’t get to see the other side of the road trip. The side were things inevitably went wrong and we had to adhere to the situations that were thrown at us. Sometimes it was serious, sometimes it was downright funny and other times one or both of us were just speechless.

Our car broke down…more than 3 times

We knew our van, which we named “Squeaky Bear” for obvious reasons wasn’t going to always run perfectly smooth without having us sit at the mechanic at least once. The first time it happened we were driving through Idaho. It was really hot and it was one of the days our AC decided to run on hot air only so I rolled my window down. After deciding I didn’t want to be bitch slapped by the wind any longer, I pulled the button up with my finger and…nothing. The window refused to go up. We tried everything: Google, calling Michael’s uncle, reading the car manual and we got nowhere. We quickly decided we would drive to Boise since it was the biggest city on our way, stay in a hotel and find a mechanic the next day. We were a little nervous to leave our window open in the hotel parking lot but we didn’t have many choices so we just left it up to the universe and to our make shift window made out of a beach towel. The next day our car and all of our things were intact. We did have to spend about 5 hours waiting for our car but the mechanic lent us his car and we had food from a food truck called “Taste of Nigeria” and it was the best part of that entire day.

The next time our car broke down, it was about 4AM and we were attempting to sleep in the parking lot of the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Now this night was already tough because we had already driven about 20 minutes to a campsite that I did not like and our only other option was to drive back and sleep at the casino parking lot. We didn’t consider that being surrounded by a desert sleeping in the car on this night was going to be nearly impossible. Opening the windows fully wasn’t an option because it didn’t feel safe and we couldn’t only keep the car on for a few minutes at a time. At around 3:30AM, we were already unable to sleep and Louie seemed to be having a really hard time with the heat so we decided we would book a motel. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, we realized we had driven over a giant nail and we had a flat tire. We did make it to the motel but the next day we were delayed again by a few hours while getting our tire fixed.

The next few times Squeaky Bear had a panic attack happened while driving through Arizona, Utah and Colorado. I was driving up a small hill in the middle of the Arizona dessert when the card turned off. We thought we were doomed and would have to end the road trip there and possibly fly home. After Googling and again, calling Michael’s uncle we were given the go ahead to try to turn it on again and keep driving if it worked but we had to get it to a mechanic ASAP. We like to push our luck, so we continued to drive the car (apparently the issue only happened when driving slow or up a hill). It didn’t happen again until we were heading towards some Colorado mountains to go camping except this time, it wouldn’t turn back on for way longer. We decided we would cancel the camping and head back to our closes city which was Grand Junction where we spent the weekend waiting for Monday and the mechanics to open up. We had bought a weekend’s supply of s’mores so of course we spent the entire weekend making the microwaved version of s’mores and making the best of our time in such a cool city!

Squeaky Bear held on for the rest of the trip.

We bought a hotspot and it didn’t work

The intentions were there. We wanted to get work done while on the road but because we spent most of our time driving through mountains, national parks and national forests, the hotspot couldn’t work without a cellphone tower and so we were basically unable to be productive. This was one of those blessing in disguise situations and it wasn’t necessarily a problem even though it definitely didn’t work out the way we planned.

I listened to a murder podcast

I enjoy watching crime shows and listening to crime podcasts but when I made the decision to listen to a crime podcast about a man that killed people while they were camping, I should have known that decision was going to really change the dynamic of our sleeping situations. That night, I refused to go inside any bathrooms alone and only peed outside. After that night, I was so anxious about the places we slept it was basically driving Michael insane. A part of him told him to stop me from listening to such a specific podcast but another part of him knew I was already invested. It truly didn’t help that I have OCD and was already about picky about our sleeping locations but now, I was being extremely picky and if the places were too lonely, or we got there too late and I couldn’t see my surroundings or if it wasn’t a legitimate camping place I had a lot of trouble adjusting and I only had myself to blame for that one. Michael was super patient and was okay with sleeping wherever I felt comfortable but man, did we spend a lot of time driving around figuring out where to sleep.

I also read about bears

Now I’ve been hiking plenty on times here in the East and not once did I ever worry about a wild animal. While preparing for our road trip, someone mentioned Bear Spray and so I went on an internet rabbit hole of bear attack stories and how bear spray saved lives. For some reason, even though I’ve never been attacked by a bear, I believed that bears in the West where just waiting for Carolina to arrive so they can feast on my flesh. I am sure it was entertaining for Michael to watch me arm myself with bear spray, a bear horn and make random sounds throughout our hike to make sure bears stayed away. This isn’t necessarily something that “went wrong” and I know I have my preparedness to thank for that one……;)

We paid two emergency visits to the vet

Which are the only emergency vet visits we’ve had. The first one was just a scare because Louie got a woodchip stuck between his paws which was causing him to cry in pain. The second one was a bit more serious and it included Louie’s bowel movements on my lap while Michael drove and blood. He got out of it nice and healthy but I can tell you, that was by far the scariest experience of all.

The most important things that I’ve learned while writing this blog are: 1) I will always care about transparency. We do consider our trip to have been absolutely perfect no matter how many things went wrong but I would never want to negate the part of life that tries us and makes us humans 2) With every single thing that went wrong, I learned something about myself and my relationship and how important it is for Michael and I to get through things together and laugh about them later and 3) Instagram always tells one story while reality tells another. Pay attention to the lessons life is trying to teach you and take charge of your own story.

¡Viva la Ughvolution!

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