I wanted to call this SOLO Road Trip Badges of Honor, but I’m attempting to gain a broader readership. If nothing, I’m truthful.
Badges are marked by circumstances and occurrences that have you crying in the moment, but laughing later; sometimes much later. That have your friends shaking their heads or raising their eyebrows at your bravery. Or stupidity. That create some degree of pride, however misplaced. That remind you you’re alive even at those times you sort of wish you weren’t. That make you laugh out-loud at how juvenile you are and how good it feels. That result in a longing to do it all again.
Many of these of course do apply to any road trip. Like how about returning with a cracked windshield? A favorite of mine. Not so much of my husband’s since I drive his truck. But getting locked out of your motel room during a sprint in the middle of the night to the truck for an extra blanket in nothing but your cotton pj’s, is strictly a badge to be worn proudly by a solo road tripper.
So here we go. I own each of these. Some I hope to not own two of. Read them. Share your own.
- A speeding ticket, or even better, one in every state you’ve driven. I’m ashamed now to admit I used to think this was cool. Until once, I couldn’t pay my car insurance because the premium jumped 300%. Not cool.
- Mud caked on the running boards and drizzled from the top like runny icing on a cake.
- Being out of cell phone service most of the trip.
- Not being able to locate yourself on a map for the better part of a day [it’s called lost], and not caring.
- Being face-to-face with a full grown mountain lion in the backcountry of Wyoming with only a fiberglass flyrod for a weapon. Which is why I now carry a knife.
- A wound sure to be a new scar.
- Getting caught in a Mazda MX-6 in Yellowstone in a blizzard so severe it took blind dependence on a GPS to find shelter. And the rancher with the GPS.
- Hiking to the top of what once was a tourist attraction on a hill in South Dakota only to realize [upon descent] it had been abandoned due to rattlesnake infestation.
- Pushing the Mazda to the top of a hill that was buried under rain slicked, greasy, glistening mud only to lose control turning around, slide all the way off the side to the bottom, and land safely wedged between the hill and a tree. I checked to make sure the camera was okay before clamoring out.
- Making it all the way down a 4-wheel drive marked road in less than a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
- Making it all the way down a 4-wheel drive marked road in less than a 4-wheel drive vehicle and realizing you need the 4-wheel drive to turn around.
- Waded 2/3 of the way across the Yellowstone River near Le Hardy Falls, water at upper flyvest pockets, holding flyrod up to God – it was the only offering i had, water running too fast to turn around. Had it caught the broadside of me… Only one way to go. Forward. Closest I’ve ever been that I know of to death. A slip of the foot or deeper water ahead and those waders would have inflated… Yeesh. Most frightened I’ve ever been. Caught some kick ass Yellowstone cuts on the other side though. Then had to wade back.
- New dings on your camera gear.
- Being caught in a predicament that causes you to think about what your Will says and make a mental note to update it if you make it home.
- Knowing you must go forward, because turning back or around is impossible.
- Hearing the satisfying crunch of gravel mutate to the hiss of a blown tire.
- One finger waves and head jerks continue when you get home.
- Hiking out the wrong trail-head and swearing on your Grandmother’s grave you’ll kill the SOB that stole your car.
- Breaking the law. Okay, it was only a wee instance of trespassing into a cemetery. But a famous one.
- Locking your keys in the car.
- Sleeping in your car.
- A cracked windshield.
- Hearing the door to the motel room lock behind you in the middle of the night as you streak in your pj’s to the car for an extra blanket while the attendant’s rehearsed check-in spiel “there’s no one on site after midnight” plays in your head.
- Sore muscles and shriveled feet.
- Mostly unworn clothes in the suitcase – a favorite of mine.
- Pulling into a deserted town with smoking chimneys, no people, and getting a gut check about the 2nd coming.
- Thoughts of Deliverance or Race With the Devil burr into your brain while hiking alone [where you shouldn’t].
- Transferring the entirety of something really bad for you from the plate to your belly and being profoundly happy you didn’t have to offer a single bite to anyone else.
Join the Road Trip Revolution at the Solo Road Trip Facebook Fan Page, here.