Feeling better, I joked, “Hope it’s not the Universe trying to tell us something.” Ha. Ha.
Jer looked over at me, shot me his best reassuring smile and turned his eyes back on to the road ahead…
Where a deer was standing, illuminated by our headlights and staring right at us in what appeared to be a very real invitation for the age-old game of chicken.
“Are you frickin’ kidding me?!” Jer yelled, so terrified he was unable to even swear properly. He carefully swerved the car away from the buck (yep, I was able to determine its gender, that’s how close we were to this dude) and there I sat, my hand still propping up the the vomit-catcher behind me and suddenly realizing the potential for roadkill ahead of me.
Wow. This day was already eating up most of my mental capacity and it was only about three in the morning.
So once we were righted back on our original path it was smooth sailing from there. We had about two hours down and only sixteen more to go. By the time we hit our first pit-stop Jack had stopped his random spewing (which also meant I was able to actually sit forward-facing eliminating my own frequent bouts of dry heaving), both kids had gotten a bit of a nap, Jer and I were still on speaking terms and we had no further contact with wild game. It was going to be a good day.
And it was. Until about forty-five minutes after the first pit-stop when one of the eight children in our group decided that they had to go to the bathroom. Again. Which prompted the other seven kids to have to go. And about four out of the five adults. Now, granted, traveling in a group with eight kids and five adults with varying bladder capacities and personal stamina is a recipe for multiple potty-stopping. But. Our kids were out of control. If I hadn’t known better I would have sworn they were actually getting paid some sort of stipend for each time we had to stop the progress.
And stop we did. Many, many times. We had more urine coming out of those cars than a lineup of portable toilets at the state fair. But, yet, we continued on. Our trusty GPS, “Wendi”, guiding our path, counting down our hours until we arrived at our beautiful Moab, Utah rental home where we would rest for two whole days amidst some truly breathtaking scenery.
I started noticing things were slightly awry about fifteen hours into the trip. “Wendi” kept changing her ETA on us.
“What’s up Wendi?” I asked, when I noticed that we had gained about four hours on our arrival time. “Jer, did you do something to Wendi?”
“Didn’t she estimate our arrival time in Moab at somewhere around 9:00p.m.?”
“Yep,” he answered, my man of many words.
“Okay, well now she’s showing after midnight,” I said, slightly panicked.
“Seriously?” he asked. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Um, seriously. Jer. I can’t do another five hours. I think I’ll die. Or I’ll kill someone. This isn’t good,” I pleaded. “Why would Wendi do this to us?”
“Okay, wait. It’s not five more hours. Seriously. What time is it? And did you factor in Mountain time?”
“Jer, it’s seven o’clock. Mountain time. And Wendi, the little twit, has our ETA at 12:05a.m. Mountain time. Now, I’m no math whiz but I’m pretty sure that adds up to FIVE FREAKING MORE HOURS!” I may have teared up a bit here. Anger does that to me.
Jer quickly got on his radio and informed our fellow travelers of this newest development. I’ve always heard the expression, “You could cut the tension with a knife” but now was actually experiencing it.
My sister-in-law, who took on the monumental task of planning the trip, came on the radio and asked, “Are you sure? Because that means I was off by like almost four hours. I don’t get it.”
“Well, did you take into account all the potty stops? Or the Mountain time difference?” I asked.
“Um…I…I don’t think I was really anticipating having to stop every fifteen minutes for bathroom breaks. And I completely forgot about Mountain Time,” Sara admitted.
“Well, next road trip we’re hooking the kids up to catheters and only traveling within the Pacific Time Zone,” I suggested.
“Great idea,” Sara said, and we all buckled down for what was beginning to feel like the drive that would ultimately end us all. There is no more defeating feeling than complete exhaustion. We were willing each other on over the radio with ridiculous positive affirmations and words of encouragement like, “Seriously, what’s another like four hours anyway?”, and “Truck drivers do this kind of stuff all the time, I mean, haven’t you seen Ice Road Truckers?”
And, oddly enough, it worked.
We pulled into the driveway of our gem of a rental home at approximately 12:25a.m., 21 1/2 hours after we left our own driveway. We stumbled into the house, quickly located our beds and hit the sack with visions of a sound sleep and a leisurely breakfast complete with steaming cups of coffee dancing in our heads.
We had officially made it through the first leg of our trip. And, if judging by the events of the first 24 hours, it was going to be one heck of an experience.