Monday, July 22, 2013

What A Gas

Summer Vacation, Road Trip

Our much anticipated summer vacation had finally arrived.  The kids woke up on the first gentle nudge and excitedly sped through their morning routines in an effort to get out the door early.  As I was trying to put the last toiletry items in mine and my children's luggage, my husband was cutting his hair .......... while his suitcase sat on the bed just as empty as it had been the night before.  Typical.  He always packs at the last minute and always ends up forgetting something.  Heck, one year he forgot to pack any pants.  Yep, takes the phrase "going Commando" to a whole new level.

We ended up leaving an hour and half later than I had planned, but it was vacation and we were driving, so our schedule was flexible.  As we were leaving town, we went through the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast.  My husband ordered his favorite:  sausage biscuits, while the rest of us ate syrup-less hotcakes.  That's right.  We had pancakes without syrup because I don't want sticky gunk all over my car.

My family happily gnoshed on their breakfast while I put the pedal to the metal and tried to make up for lost time due to my husband's primping.  We were about an hour down the road when our senses were assaulted by the smell of a skunk.  We didn't see it, but we sure could smell it.  We rolled the windows down and quickly aired out the car.  I felt sorry for whoever hit that skunk because their car probably had to be fumigated to get rid of that stench.

We continued blazing a trail down the highway barreling towards Amarillo, TX for our lunch break/refueling destination.  When we arrived in Amarillo, we stopped at a truck stop that also had several fast food restaurant choices inside.  The family chose Burger King and while I'd have rather eaten the tail end out of that skunk we'd smelled than something from Burger King, I sucked it up and ordered something that resembled chicken.  My family chose to go with cheeseburgers, fries, and a free ice cream cone.

Little did I know when they chose their lunch at that truck stop, we would be fueling more than the car's gas tank.  We hit the road and cheered when we crossed the Texas/New Mexico state line.  It wasn't long after that border crossing when we started encountering some strange aromas.  There was the older pickup truck in front of us that was emitting an odd smell, an open field where, from the rotten egg smell, someone must've hit a natural gas line while drilling.  We were also certain we drove past either a cattle auction yard or dairy farm due to the overwhelming smell of fresh manure.

This trip was definitely having a very negative effect on my olfactory senses.  We stopped at a rest stop in New Mexico to check out an extinct volcano and stretch our legs for a few minutes before braving the mountain passes through Raton, NM and Trinidad, CO.  I used the break to breathe in some fresh mountain air and settle my senses down a bit.

As we headed down the highway I was again assaulted by odors, but this time it became quite apparent what the source was............ and he was sitting right beside me.  I asked him ever so sweetly and discreetly "Ummm honey?  Did you do that?".  He busted out laughing so hard he was crying and managed to squeak out the words:  skunk, truck smell, cow manure, and natural gas. 

Apparently I hadn't smelled any of those things, I had been smelling his emissions.  As he was cackling like a hyena and I was grumbling about how courtesy dictates at least rolling down a window, we were both hit with the motherload of stench.

"Oh good heavens!" I yelled.  I looked over at my husband ready to tie him to the roof of the car when I noticed that he was clawing at the window trying to get it to roll down faster so he could stick his head out and get a breath of fresh air.  As I put my hand over my nose and mouth in an effort to breathe in air less odiferous, I hear a very quiet and polite "pardon me" and then another voice said "excuse me".  Great.  Now 3 people were battling each other with chemical warfare and I was stuck in the car with them.

Yep.  My great idea of hitting some fast food joints so we could make better time on the road had just backfired........... literally.  I was trapped in the car for another 4 hours with 3 people who were emitting toxic fumes.  Between my eyes watering and nose burning, I was pretty sure I'd been hit with the equivalent of a nuclear bomb or sarin nerve gas. 

By the time we made it to our hotel in Colorado Springs to spend the night, their three tummies had finally calmed down.  Burger King and McDonald's sausage biscuits were permanently banned from their diets for the remainder of the trip.  There was one upside to the whole situation.  Apparently when you have a green haze surrounding your vehicle, it does seem to deter tailgaters or anyone from trying to pass your vehicle on the road.

by: Christie Bielss

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