The love story of a naïve girl who can’t sit still, and a chivalrous boy who finds security in staying put.
It was 1993 and the girl told her boyfriend of 6 months – “I am going on a road trip to celebrate my 21st birthday.” Having never been out of the state, the boy worried about her traveling alone. After looking at the planned route, he offered (i.e. felt compelled) to accompany the girl on the road trip to “keep her safe” – how chivalrous! As they looked at the map (one of the girl’s favorite things to do) the route expanded from two states to three, and added a foreign country. The new itinerary left Sacramento, California and traveled north to Vancouver, British Columbia. The boy had never been beyond California state lines, and had never driven a stick shift, so this was very exciting for everyone but him. You see, the boy likes security.
Like any good explorer, naïve girl was prepared. She bought bulk packages of bottled water, a case of Snapple and lots of food! She also borrowed a bunch of camping equipment from her folks. In fact, all of this “preparation” weighed down her already tired VW Jetta until it scraped the pavement with each speed bump. She assured the safety conscious boy everything would be fine. He made sure she had AAA and they forged ahead.
First stop was breakfast at a diner just 45 minutes out of town. It was early and the restaurant was quiet so they got a huge corner booth all to themselves! Naïve girl scooted around to the crook of the seat, as far back as possible to get the best people-watching perspective. The centerpiece of each table included an empty glass carafe as part of the restaurant’s seasonal orange juice promotion. Tempting as OJ sounded, they chugged coffee with their Grand Slams to power up for the long drive to the first adventure – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. When the cheery waitress came by the table offering “a fresh pot of coffee kids?”, they eagerly accepted. As she poured, the waitress gently tapped the glass bottom of the coffee pot on the display carafe which, somehow, shattered the bottom of the pot. Naïve girl couldn’t escape from her paparazzi perch in the corner booth before the “fresh pot of coffee” poured onto her bare thighs. There was nothing the chivalrous boy could do – honest.
For the next several hours, the young explorer drove her overloaded Jetta north on I-5 with bowling ball sized ice bags on her thighs. The boy navigated and kept watch for signs of shock – or at least tried to see how to drive the stick shift. By the time they arrived at Crater Lake, the girl’s thighs were awfully cold, but not blistered. The boy’s knuckles were white, but things could only get better, right? Well, despite borrowing a tent from her parents, the girl failed to borrow the tent poles. This made tent set up interesting but, fortunately, not impossible.
After “stringing up” camp, it was finally time for dinner. Thankfully, as part of being “prepared”, the girl had recently purchased a brand new, small BBQ from the grocery store and just left it sealed in the box for packing efficiency – how smart! Well…until the boy asked where the tools were to put the BBQ together. Tools – huh?? Luckily, the boy was resourceful and put the BBQ together anyway by using the parts as “tools.” The girl thought she heard grumbling, but the boy insisted it was wild animal noises coming from the forest and he would protect her. Yeah! The grill was put together and it was time for their first camping dinner! Bulk sales are such a great deal. Dinner was hamburgers – a cylinder of frozen patties that came 15 to a package! The boy is pretty sure the patties were 98% fat given the shrunken patties and grease fire in the new BBQ which, not surprisingly, had no drainage holes. Luckily a forest fire was avoided…barely.
It was a brisk evening, and the sleeping bags were looking cozy and inviting. Cozy lasted ten minutes. After a fitful night, the boy and girl tore down camp at 4 AM having slept very little and frozen a lot. The sleeping bags, and sagging tent, were not warm enough for the climate, despite the insistence of the girl’s wise father. To this day, the boy thinks the absence of the poles and cold bags was a test. Thanks, Dad.
This happened 18 years ago and we still remember it like it was yesterday. For the record, the girl is Tiffany and the boy is Ben – and, although there were some more unexpected twists on that trip, had it been a “normal” vacation we would not be smiling as we write this. We invite you to learn what happened next by visiting our new site, FiteInertia. Happy travels!