The Road Trip from Hell - My Family Travels

It’s seven-thirty on a Saturday morning.  I’ve been up since about five.  I shouldn’t be tired.  But I am, and my sister’s cough has tried my every nerve.
 “Take some cough medicine!” I snap at her.  She glares at me.  She has this icy glare that, when I was younger, shut me up.  Now it only makes me angrier.
She sighs.
“What?” I repeat.
My mother, frustrated, voices the thought I’ve had since the vacation was planned: “Your father is going to get to Louisville, and he’s going to say, ‘Screw this!’ and he’s going to take you back home.”
My mother has hit the nail on the head.  This was a terrible idea.
I tie my shoes in silence as my father comes to the door.  I force a smile and open it for him.
“Hi!” I’m a little overenthusiastic.
My sister nods her greetings.  The Road Trip from Hell has begun. 

We’re ten miles in and I’m already praying for it to be over.
In the cheeriest voice I can muster: “If you keep doing that, we’re going to have to kill you.”
He laughs, but he shuts up. 

At a hundred miles, we’re listening to music.  We are not talking.  Maybe this won’t be so bad. 

Three hundred and we’ve come to a new state: Kansas.  I don’t know about you, but Kansas is not my idea of excitement.  My father disagrees.
“Isn’t this big country? Wow, our country’s so big!  Look at this big country!”  He will do this the remainder of our trip.

We drive through Kansas, through Colorado.  It’s my first time seeing the Rockies; they are larger than I ever imagined.  I stare, shocked. 

Finally we hit Utah.  We’re now leaving Colorful Colorado.  We drive to Mt. Zion National Park, where we’ll hike for four days.  We’re staying in the lodge there, pretending we’re experienced travelers – I am, anyway.
On Tuesday, my father insists on buying me a stupid hat “to keep the sun off my head.”
Wednesday we wake up early, and hightail it to Angel’s Landing. 
There’s something you should know about Angel’s Landing:  it is one of the most exciting points in the park.  You get about 1450 feet up, and the paved path stops.  You scramble up a path four feet wide with sheer drops on either side.  One false step and you’re dead.
So we do this hike.  It’s five miles, round trip. It’s steep; we stop halfway to eat a Fig Newton.
We get to Scout Lookout, where the path ends and the scrambling begins.  I scramble some.  I’m scared.  I whimper as I descend to safety.  I sit down, and wait.  I watch the sun rise from my perch, and I write.  I find it to be a very pleasant experience.
Thursday we’re on our own, for fear of getting sick of each other too soon. 

We leave Friday, take I-15 up to Salt Lake City (not before buying jelly from a man who pondered the whereabouts of prickly pears) and take I-80 all the way back to our drab hometown of Florence.  We drive through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  We don’t talk (except my father, to admire his fascinating “big country”).

In a Best Western in Nebraska (“Batman stays here”), my sister and I agree to bear our father peacefully for one more day. 

After 3500 miles on the road, we’re home.  At this point, even my father is too exhausted to admire some landmark.  We drag ourselves into the house where the Road Trip from Hell will be remembered fondly.

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