Getting There Is Only Half The Fun

My family is notoriously bad at road trips. Whether it is the car going up in smoke and my dad making us stand in knee-tall brush in the Texas summer heat, or me accidentally releasing a dog bowl flying out the window, or the plethora of other incidences that should have convinced us by now that we should probably just fly.

I have spent a lot of time in the car in my life, and I have filled it with many things…20 questions, Eye Spy, the alphabet game, singing, and staring out the window pretending I am in a dramatic movie. However, nothing I have ever done on the road has prepared me for the horrors that are inevitably going to ensue during our Spring Break trip (as proved by our track record of catastrophe).

This upcoming Saturday we are going to be taking the longest trip to date: a 20+ hour drive to Colorado. With our dogs.

Allow me to explain to you why this is possibly the worst idea on the planet.

The last road trip my family took was over Christmas break and it was just to Dallas. A harmless 3 hour trip we had taken many times before, just never for a funeral, and never with both of our dogs.

If you have read my story about walking Max you will know that my dogs have a love hate relationship, and by that I mean Max loves to antagonize Maggie, and Maggie hates Max. It has been this way since day one, and they have not killed each other yet, so we let them be.

Except, when you put them in a small, enclosed space, they tend to lose their tiny dog minds.

For example, here is what happens every single time Max gets too close to Maggie.

She begins snarling and gurgling and deploying possibly the worst defensive moves in the history of ever as she completely exposes her jugular to his shark teeth.
Max tries to eat her face.
He almost succeeds.
Then he throat-punches her.

So you can picture what happens when they are stuck in a car together.

In this unfortunate trip to Dallas we spent the first 45 minutes keeping the dogs as far apart as possible in order to avoid losing any fingers. That is when the unthinkable happened…

I had just moved Maggie off of my lap (because she smelled like a wet sock) on to the center console when SHE STARTED POOPING. Right there on the console. As we were driving 75 miles an hour on the highway.

Panic ensued.

The windows were rolled down immediately. Edie let out a shriek that would rival a tea-kettle.

Ava’s eyes welled up with tears (though because of the smell or the 75mph wind hitting her in her face, who can say).

My eyes welled up with tears… definitely from the smell. And with the acknowledgement that 10 seconds earlier and that would have happened on my lap.


Max sleeping just inches from the scene of the crime.

As Maggie is the most disgusting dog on the planet or maybe even in the universe I had to hold her tail up to prevent her from getting covered in her own feces.

We pulled off at the nearest exit and proceeded to hurl Maggie out of the car, throw out the blanket that she ruined, and get some fresh air running through our contaminated nostrils. We re-packed the entire car so we could make a spot for her in the trunk, blocking her off from society in a sort of shunning for her indecency.

We recovered from the shock of what just happened, loaded back up in the car, and set off, making sure we had time to drop the dogs off and get to the funeral on time.

We made it to the outskirts of Dallas, headed towards my grandfather’s house to drop the dogs off and pick him up when me and Ava lock eyes, dread passing through the air between us.

Me: Do you smell that?

Ava: *nods in fear*

We look back to where Maggie is sitting and see the pile of brown.

Me: (frantically) MAGGIE POOPED AGAIN!?!!!

Edie: And it’s on my pilloooooooowwww.

The windows get rolled back down… this time we are both laughing and crying hysterically at the fact that we have the worst dog in the world.

We don’t have time to stop, so we just ride the next 20 minutes with out heads fully out the window and Maggie fully feeling the shame of her actions.

We pull in to the driveway of my Grampa’s house, all of us fighting to be the first one out of the car. Maggie gets hurled out again, this time along with Edie’s pillow and every blanket we own.

Grampa helps us clean Maggie and the car off, all of us still dressed in our funeral clothes, and we shove her and Max inside and head out to pay our respects to Aunt Janice, the Queen of Christmas.

It is an hour drive and when we get there we pull up next to the grave site and Grampa gets out of the car.

Grampa: Hey, do you know you have a flat tire?

Dad: What?

Sure enough, out back tire had gone flat. In the middle of the graveyard. Of. Freaking. Course.

Dad unpacks our belongings from the trunk in order to get to the tools and the spare. I look at all of our things strewn about the grave yard as Grampa tells Edie to get up.

Grampa: Alright, all of the dead weight out of the car now.





I stifle laughter to be as respectful as possible, but as I look at my father practically laying on top of somebody’s grave, putting a spare old tire on our ginormous car that smells like dog feces I can’t help but hope the ghosts in the cemetery have a sense of humor.

It was a beautiful service. The car ride back looked something like Max trying to bite Maggie’s head off in some cruel game which caused Ava’s entire meal to be knocked into her lap and to fill the car with ketchup.

As I look back fondly on this trip I cannot help but be skeptical about this weekend. No matter what though, at least I will probably get some good blog material. And some stories to tell. I guess road trips are not really measured by mile markers but by memories (or however that phrase goes).

4 thoughts on “Getting There Is Only Half The Fun

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