Adventures are never smooth. That’s why they’re called adventures, though this was not what I was thinking during some of the more challenging moments yesterday as we embarked on our trip west. It began with a shock to the system when we arrived at the airport expecting curbside checkin only to find there wasn’t any and then we saw how many other people were also traveling. No more stories of planes half-full, breezing through security because everyone was staying home, no this was more like “Christmas came early”.

We walked over a mile through the maze that now constitutes a TSA line. Luckily we had left our house earlier than we’d planned, because it took us over an hour just to get through security. Our plane was boarding by the time we found the gate. Grateful to have made our flight we took our seats. The flight was packed, the airline personnel seemed particularly stressed or maybe it was just that we hadn’t flown in over a year, so the whole experience was like being punched repeatedly in the face.

I was determined to drink tons of water with the hope that I’d stave off any headaches, however this plan failed miserably. So there we were sequestered in airplane seats that I swear were even narrower than when I last flew just a year and a half ago, wearing masks that steamed up our glasses and added to the feeling of claustrophobia and general discomfort. Am I complaining? Yes. Yes, I am. This was supposed to be a funny bit about the perils of traveling. Well, let’s see if I can recalibrate… Nope. It was basically like signing up and paying quite a bit of money to be tortured for 4 hours. In addition my plan to avoid getting a headache by drinking gallons of water failed miserably and so in addition to having to pee every 15 minutes I also felt as though my head was going to explode and I began to feel nauseous.

I could go on and on, the car rental turned into another “adventure” and I put that in quotes because the whole idea of an adventure is that it’s supposed to have elements of fun. No? Okay, whatever. Suffice it to say, there were shuttle busses involved, more long, long, long lines, endless waiting, waiting, waiting, lack of staff everywhere to accommodate the hordes of people all of whom had the same, increasingly seeming bad idea as we did. “Let’s go have an adventure!” Well, not so fast bucko. Maybe we should rethink this whole “vacation” idea.

And then we finally got to the car lot and things became downright comical. First of all we couldn’t find the car, nor could we read the woman’s hand writing who’d written or told us or both (who can remember at this point?!) where the car was. Finally we found it, got in and then couldn’t figure out where the gear shift was. Oh, right it’s that little row of buttons under the radio. What?! Oh and the window wipers? They’re touch sensitive so every time my husband went to push one of the buttons to make the car move the wipers would start. How does one turn the wipers off, one might reasonably ask? Who knows. Eventually I roped some poor unsuspecting employee, the only one on the lot, in to give us a tutorial on the basics of our vehicle and finally, finally off we went. Still it was touch and go. I found a power cord for my phone, plugged it in and now the car was paired with my phone, which set off a whole new set of absurd conversations such as this one:

Me: where are we headed?

Hubs: Pastel Canyon

Me: ? Type in Pastel Canyon and get 20 different locations none of which are in the state we are currently in. There isn’t a Pastel Canyon.

Hubs: Hmm… did you type pastel, as in you know, pastel?

Me: slightly exasperated. Yes. I know how to spell pastel.

Car Voice: In 3 miles, turn right.

Hubs: That can’t be right?

Me: Where is she taking us? I haven’t been able to find the right place!

Hubs: Well I have it on my computer. It’s in the bag in the backseat.

Me: rummage around, find bag with computer, open computer, but we have no wifi… We have no wifi.

Car Voice: Turn right.

Hubs: I printed out a sheet with directions. It’s in the front.

Me: desperately look around, but cannot find sheet. Where is the sheet?

Car Voice: now quite determined and insistent Turn right.

Hubs: It’s right there in the pocket.

Me: It’s NOT right there in the pocket or I would have already found it and we wouldn’t be having this conversation!

Hubs: It’s right there in the pocket.

Car Voice: Recalibrating

Me: NO! It isn’t. Oh, wait. Right. Here it is.

Hubs: ___________

Me: This must be the wrong sheet. It doesn’t say Pastel Canyon.

Car Voice: Continue for 81 miles…

Hubs: Can’t you turn that thing off. She’s nagging me.

Valley of Fire

I could go on and on, but we did eventually make it, despite the fact that our rental car is making bizarre noises any time you accelerate, causing my husband to say, “This is the worst rental car EVER!” And then a little later he added, “I hate everything about this car.” Which has now become a running joke.

and finally we made it here, which is just on the other side of Zion and where we spent our first night.

Oh and not a single bison sighting… unless you count the bison who gave up his life for the bison burger my husband ate last night for dinner.

The “adventure” continues!