The 17 Hour Car Ride From Hell

Imagine seventeen hours of an allergy ridden husband who let his prescription run out thus creating a cloud of kleenexes within our traveling pod so thick that if we were in an accident, no airbags would be needed. 

Add on top of that a set of twins that barely get along, and of course bought identical earbuds… of which each are suspicious that the other has somehow swapped out said earbuds. 

The dual car charger died mid trip so we had to get one of those hot neon green ones from the gas station that are five dollars.  Then they fight over who gets to charge which device and in what order.  So,on my vacation, here I am, making a chart. For two seventeen year olds. Who will, next year, be unleashed onto the world as adults. And they are in the minivan screaming at the top of their lungs like three year olds. 

The thirteen year old, bless his heart… all he wants to do is listen and watch his movie. He has his own DVD player and his own headphones because traveling stresses him out too much. When HE joins in and starts complaining that he can’t hear the fighting in The Avengers,  you know it’s bad. 

I know you’re having a hard time imagining it. Here’s a taste (My husband is identified as SNEEZES)

Josh: Where are my earbuds?

Marley (looks around, pulls them out from under his feet): Here they are. 


Josh: These aren’t mine. 

Marley: Well they aren’t MINE, mine are here in my purse. 


Josh sniffs the earbuds.


Josh: Bless you, Dad.  This is sick, Marley. These are yours. They stink!

Marley: They are NOT mine you idiot! That’s your earwax you’re smelling, and you’re whole body smells like that by the way. 

Joey: Can you guys be quiet? I can’t hear the movie!


Marley: Sorry, Joey, Josh is a moron. 

Me: Stop calling your brother an idiot and a moron. We’re family and we love one another. And we’re on vacation, so fake it at least. For me. 


Marley: But Mom…

Josh: You’re the idiot! (pushes her magazines off her lap)


Marley:  Hey! 

Punching commences. 

Joey: Hey! You’re fighting to the music. That’s cool. 


Marley and Josh scream and hit each other that can only be described as in the finest gladiator style. If they were Christians about to be sent to meet the lions in battle, I’d be impressed. 

But I’m not. 

Not by a longshot. 

And so the minivan gets pulled over. The tirade of lectures between sneezes begins.  We drive five miles. 

And Joey has to pee. 

Repeat this about twenty times. 

And then THIS doozie:

flat tire

And a husband who has no idea how to change a tire. Thank goodness Josh had learned from Boy Scouts of all things. Is there even a badge for that? There should be. 

Now, it’s really fun.  At some point during the great tire exchange of 2014, Marley has, from the goodness of her heart, rescued a turtle trying to make it across the road. She’s very proud of herself. I know this, because she says so. About five times. I assume she was making sure we heard her between Greg’s sneezes. 

16 hours in. Marley vomits all over the back seat, Josh, and the DVD player.  PROJECTILE vomiting. Screaming from the backseat.  We stop the car.  We do our best to clean out the car while Josh calms a hysterical Joey, and Marley continues to decorate the side of the highway.  Greg thanks Christ for his allergies, because he can’t smell the puke, so he gets put on the worst part of the clean detail.  Marley almost passes out.  We’re three miles away from a hospital, so we take her.  After waiting six hours.. SIX HOURS she’s finally seen. She has salmonella, which, guess what? TURTLES CARRY! So, the next time you see one of them trying to cross the road, use gloves or a newspaper to save that sucker. 

Marley’s released with a dose of phenergan that virtually places her in a coma. We decide to spend the night in town and get up at the ass crack of dawn. Marley is a zombie and quickly falls asleep in the van again. 

We drive an hour.  Exhausted we get to our destination: Yellowstone. And this is what we have: 

rainy road

Freaking rain. 

Our camping gear reeked of vomit thanks to my comatose child, my two sons bonded in a what I can only describe as an alliance against Marley, my husband still thanked all the gods ever known for his allergies, but still sneezing, and I’m wondering what the hell I did in my previous life to invoke the wrath of karma. 

We tanked the gear. We drove around for fifteen minutes and turned around and headed back. Marley woke up. But only 15 hours later when we had two hours left before reaching home. We had to stop and get Joey a new portable DVD player.  There was no salvaging the old one. 

At least we stopped at a hotel on the way back. The kids got to swim. I got a hot tub. (SNEEZE). 

I’ll say this: no matter what we do as a family, we always make a memory.