A short story from our vacation, which is now a distant, fading memory.

I’m still working on sifting through videos from our trip, and these are even better than the still photos, in my opinion. While you’re waiting (and don’t pretend like you aren’t sitting on the edge of your seat wondering where my vacation video is and what is taking me so long to provide this to you), here is a story from our trip that I didn’t already share.

Since we were going to be spending roughly 12-15 hours in the car, driving through desert, I figured we ought to have some good driving music. And so I compiled a 13-disc playlist of awesome (if I say so myself) music for driving on the open road. About three and a half hours away from the entrance to the South Rim, Billy and I were self-congratulating ourselves due to the awesome music selections, singing loudly with the windows open, and looking forward to an early(ish) check-in at our hotel, where there were showers. With hot water. And soap. That you didn’t have to insert quarters to use.

That’s when we heard the strange noise coming from the back of our extreme-economy rental car. We pulled over to investigate. Sure enough, it was (dum-dum-dum) a flat tire.

We got to work trying to change it for the donut in the trunk (by which I mean Billy got to work trying to change the tire and I used the 15% of battery life left on my cell phone to attempt to call the car rental company to figure out what to do next. This involved a short hike to the nearest mile marker without applying sunscreen or drinking any water, and did I mention that it was 115*F that day? Because it was. And I don’t care what you say about “dry heat.” 115 degrees in full sun is HOT).

Anyway. The word from the rental company was that we were to drive to the nearest rental location so we could switch out the damaged car with a new one to get us the rest of the way to Las Vegas. We arrived to the Kingman, Arizona location and discovered that the location where we’d rented the car (Las Vegas) was owned and operated by an independent franchisee, and as such a car from the fleet from that location could not be switched with a car from the fleet from the corporate location. Therefore, we were stuck with a car with a flat tire, 150 miles from our destination.

Our choices were: fix and/or replace the flat, or have someone from the Las Vegas location drive out with a replacement car and have this one towed back to Vegas – both options at our own expense.

And so we found ourselves at the Superior Tire store in Kingman, Arizona, buying a new tire. Thankfully, my credit card will cover the cost of the tire.

While we were waiting for the tire to be replaced (now nearing 3pm), we happened to notice that Billy’s wallet had gone missing. This isn’t really an unusual occurrence, but when after 45 minutes of fruitless searching through everything we had in the car we hadn’t found it, the tension was starting to truly get tight.

Logical thinking prevailed, however, and we decided it was either at one of two places: on the side of the road where we’d changed the tire, or on the floor of the IMAX theater where we’d gone to see the Grand Canyon IMAX movie that morning, directly outside the entrance to the South Rim, three and a half hours away from where we were. A quick call to the theater confirmed that yes, a wallet had been found, and yes, it did belong to one Billy Regan from Jackson Heights, NY, and what would we like them to do with it?

Faced with nine more hours of driving, after being on the road since 5:00 that morning, we decided to have them mail the wallet back to us in New York, and we’d make do without it for the last two days of the trip. Then we decided we needed to have some lunch, as I was feeling some serious heat exhaustion at that point and we were both starving.

While we were at the restaurant, it occurred to us that we were flying home the following day, and oops! Billy didn’t have ID to get through airport security! So, we used the last fourteen seconds of battery life on my cell phone to call the airline, who assured us that although it wouldn’t be a smooth, easy process, Billy could get through security without ID. He’d just be pulled aside, given a cavity search, and questioned at gunpoint. No big deal. So we sighed a sigh of relief and ate our quesadillas in peace.

We finally were getting back on the road to Vegas around 5pm, and got to our hotel by 8, and can I just say? That shower really was everything we’d worked so hard to get to. Definitely in the top five best showers of my whole life. We probably should have pressed our luck on the slots outside our hotel room door – I mean, at that point it had to have been kicking in in our favor – but we fell asleep before we could think of it.

What can I say? When we travel together, adventure abounds.

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3 responses to “A short story from our vacation, which is now a distant, fading memory.

  • Chris

    Wow. Sounds like a vacation adventure you won’t soon forget. So was there further drama at the airport or did it go as “smoothly” as you were hoping?

  • Jenna

    The way you write about it… you just seem so calm and accepting… somehow I doubt that it actually occurred like that in real life?!? Or are you really THAT comfortable with stuff that is seriously frustrating for the rest of us?

    • caitlinator

      I actually was really calm and upbeat the whole time, which is why I think everything worked out ok in the end. Could have been a side effect of the sun making me loopy.

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