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On The Road Again . . . February 21, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Travel & Leisure, Word Play.

Yesterday’s WordPress Prompt suggested that people discuss the best road trip they’ve ever taken.

I’ve been on two cross-country road trips, from East Coast to West Coast and back again.   Both trips lasted a month ~ which is too long to be gone and not long enough to see everything that deserves to be seen.

Although both trips included a stop at the Grand Canyon, I still haven’t seen  the Grand Canyon . . . except in postcards and on Wikipedia.

On the first trip, at the tender age of 13, I had had enough family togetherness for one summer (2 adults, 4 kids, and a Great Dane sharing a Suburban and a pop-up camper . . . you do the math!) and refused to get out of the car:

Mom:  You have to get out of the car.  It’s the Grand Canyon.

Me (Surly Teen):  I’m not getting out.  I’ve seen Bryce Canyon.  I’ve seen Zion Canyon.  I’ve seen the Petrified Forest.  I’ve seen the Badlands.  I get it.  The West is full of rocks.  Big, bright, badass rocks.

Instead of peering over the rim at the vast expanse dug out by the Colorado River, I stayed in the car and read a book.  


On the second trip, twenty years down the road, at the more mature age of 34, I bounced out of the car,  delighted to have a second chance to see the Canyon’s splendor . . . for the first time.

No such luck.

Standing at the very edge of the rim, I could see nothing but . . . F~O~G.

I couldn’t even see my hand held out in front of my face:

Me: Excuse me, when do you suppose the fog will burn off?

Ranger:  Beats me.  I’ve never seen fog like this at this time of year.  It’s like Mother Nature is running the F~O~G machine at full blast for her own or God’s amusement. 

Me:  No doubt.

Ranger:  Excuse me, I’ve got to stop that kid from walking off the edge of the South Rim into the foggy abyss . . .

Me (staring into the dense fog):  Very funny, guys!  I get it.  Sometimes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities only come around once in a lifetime.

I’ll just have to take it on faith that it is a grand canyon.

Speaking of grand travel adventures, what about Samantha Brown?

She gets to tour the United States, Europe, South America, and other exotic locales, staying in fabulous hotels, visiting amusement parks, parasailing along pristine coastlines, swimming with dolphins, waltzing in Vienna, and her show picks up the tab!

How WONG is that?!

WONG adj.  1 :  Way Outlandish, Nearly Galactic 2 : unusually good 

Synonyms : marvelous, astounding    

But, wait, there’s more!

Samantha gets to test-taste Guinness in authentic Irish Pubs and Scotch at  Scottish distilleries . . . without running the risk of getting fired for drinking on the job.

Drinking is her job!

I . . . want . . . a . . . job . . . like . . . that!

Quote:  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbors.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover. ~ Mark Twain

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Any funny travel stories to share?  Any WONG adventures  awaiting on the horizon?

Related posts:  Get Paid To Explore * Discovery, Endeavor, and Atlantis


1. jannatwrites - February 21, 2011

I’m so jealous of Samantha Brown! Her job would be so cool!

About the Grand Canyon: I lived in AZ for nearly 20 years before I saw it. And the first trip I ended up with food poisoning, so I saw it for 2 minutes before I curled up in the fetal position and begged to go home. I visited again when my oldest was 2 and obsessed the whole time that he was going to trip and fall off a ledge (not enjoyable). Finally, we went last June and it poured rain. My husband and older son hiked down two miles. The red soil stains never did come off their clothes 🙂

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

My brother has taken his kids there and hiked/donkeyed down to the bottom.

Glad to know that I’m not the only one who hasn’t experienced the majesty on each visit. 🙂

Samantha’s job is very cool.

2. Carol Ann Hoel - February 21, 2011

Twinkle twinkle little star; how I wonder what you are.

There is so much beauty around us, within our eyesight, that we can see without traveling, yet we wish to travel to faraway lands. There must be a gypsy spirit in my soul. I get excited when I hear a train whistle blow. The Grand Canyon is something amazing I’d love to see someday. Who knows what life holds in store? Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

I love train whistles too ~ very evocative. Where is it going? Who’s on it?

Maybe you’ll get to see it. Maybe for me the third time will be the charm.

Mostly, these days I’m happy to enjoy the beauty “in my own backyard.”

Thanks, Carol Ann

3. barb19 - February 21, 2011

So I guess you are not going to attempt the Grand Canyon again after those experiences! Shame, it’s an experience I would love but never will experience. You should try it one more time I think!

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

I’m thinking that the 3rd time will be the charm for me. But, for now, I’m happy to bloom where I’m planted.

Australia is a ways away, with wonders of its own. 🙂

4. Pseu - February 21, 2011

Third time lucky?

I hope so.

When we visited Ayres rock years ago it had rained and was covered in black streaks. The locals marvelled at this. Some of the American tourists were pretty p—-d off, having travelled so far, not to see the glowing red rock in its usual glory. Ha!

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

Ayres Rock? Isn’t there a movie about a school outing having a picnic there?

There are some beautiful red rocks in Red Rock Canyon out in Colorado. Even though I got my fill of rocks back then, I love them now.

Pseu - February 22, 2011

‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is what you are thinking of I believe. Australian author, group of girls go missing….

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Yes! That’s the movie. Thanks, Pseu

5. kateshrewsday - February 21, 2011

Fog lives here in the UK. I’m sure it only goes on holiday everywhere else 😀 Shame it chose to shadow you…..Lovely story, Nancy

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

Thanks, Kate.

We get plenty of fog in the States, but I guess August is not the normal time for its appearance over the canyon.

6. clarbojahn - February 21, 2011

Funny trip, no but looking forward to fun trip,,yes. And it is actually to the Grand Canyon. We’re planning a year ahead so we can stay at the Lodge there and have four days to see the dawn break over the cliffs. We’re inviting my sons and their wives so it can be a family affair. I already can’t wait. We’re on the east coast so it will be quite a trip. I’ll let you know if it actually happens. A commitment by blog…:)

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

That is awesome! Hope that the whole family makes it. Watching the sun rise (or set) over the canyon would we spectacular.

Maybe the next time we go, we’ll allot more time there . . . so that the fog will break at some point! I don’t remember why, but I know that we could NOT stay an extra day in the area to see if the Fog lifted.

7. oldancestor - February 21, 2011

I had a friend who really wanted to go to the Empire State Building and I couldn’t impress upon him that the pea-soup fog was going to make it a wasted trip.

In a way, it was cool knowing we were that high up and couldn’t tell we weren’t three feet off the ground.

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

And there are those who walk around in a perpetual fog. 😉

8. therunninggarlic - February 21, 2011

You are lucky you didn’t wander off the cliff and end up at the bottom of the mountains! We may attempt the Grand Canyon one of these years – this year it’s Naples, FL to check out the area. We are still searching for the ultimate perfect place to live … will we ever find it?
Debbie 🙂 Thanks for posting your recipes…I sent out a tweet – was looking for your tweet name? I will be trying many of the recipes…Thank You!

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

Great destination ~ Naples is terrific. We need to get back down there ourselves.

I’m not on Twitter. So no Tweet name.

9. Tokeloshe - February 21, 2011

Well said!

We haven’t been yet, but it’s on our list.

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

I can’t speak specifically about the Grand Canyon, but Zion and Bryce are both gorgeous.

Definitely worth a trip.

10. viewfromtheside - February 21, 2011

I think almost every travel story of mine has something about getting lost in it.

It seems to be a BAD habit of mine that I take everywhere with me

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

Getting “lost” can be FUN . . . leading us to somewhere we might otherwise have missed.

But it can also be SCARY if it’s dark, cold, or in the middle of a BLIZZARD.

Safe travels, Sidey.

11. eof737 - February 22, 2011

Sounds like you had two trips that left strong memories… Like you, I’m yet to visit the grand canyon. I would love to visit them someday.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Both trips focused on the natural splendors of Earth ~ parks, forests, canyons, lakes, streams . . . BLISS.

Hope you have a chance to see some of the wonders out west.

12. granny1947 - February 22, 2011

Good Morning NR…I remember those surly teenage years…I,too, used to sit with my head buried in a book…must have driven my Mom mad!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Books were a refuge and barrier during my tumultuous teen age years. 😀

13. Tilly Bud - February 22, 2011

I hope your once-in-a-lifetime experience comes around a third time.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Seeing how mnay people haven’t seen the Canyon yet (but wish to) . . . I am happily heading to the back of the line.

Sometime, maybe if we fly out to Vegas, we will spend a few days seeing the Canyon from “both sides now.”

14. crazygoangirl - February 22, 2011

We visited the Grand Canyon in 2008 and it left me speechless and full of wonderment 😀 We took a helicopter ride (the first of my life) and the vistas were glorious. I know I ‘ll go back again when I can, coz I need to see the sunrise and sunset over it! On that same trip we did Vegas & NYC…A Wong trip if ever there was one 🙂 Another place that I fell in love with on that trip…Central Park. I think I could live there 🙂

Love that Mark Twain quote!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

On the 2nd trip, we took our first helicopter ride too! Over the Badlands of North Dakota. The ride and the vistas amazed us.

Sounds like a Wong trip indeed. If you move to Central Park . . . you won’t be alone. 😉

Twain had the right idea ~ Explore. Dream. Discover.

15. linda - February 22, 2011

Now why have I have never pictured you as a surly teen? We lived in Hampton Roads Virginia when I was 18 so of course I was too good to go to Willamsburg with my parents! I haven’t really been on a really good road trip yet. The trip to Virginia with my parents, brother and 3 dogs in one car was sure not fun.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Wmsburg always brings back fond memories ~ that’s where I went to college! 🙂

My surly days are long gone, but I was a “difficult” teen.

16. Rosa - February 22, 2011

I already knew that I am overdue for a road trip, but reading your post really confirmed it! Thanks for the inspiration… I’ve got a trip to plan!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

How FUN! Even day trips can give us a break from the daily grind for not much money.

17. Judson - February 22, 2011

Our family did an 8-week tour of the west in a pop-up camper when I was 13 … still a top life experience for every one of us all these many (many) years later. Not a single family get-together passes that we do not mention something about that trip and share a hppy moment.

— Judson

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

That’s cool. We liked the Friendly Burros, the Black Hills, Devil’s Tower, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Tuzigoot, and tons more.

But by the time we reached the Grand Canyon, I was ready for some time away from my parents and siblings..

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