Road Trip MAG

By Michael B., Albuquerque, NM

     Every summer, for as far back as I can remember, my family has taken a long journey to North Dakota to visit relatives. Did we ever fly? No, that would be too easy! Instead we took our old van - and when I say old, I mean ancient. This van is as old as I am.

Anyway, on this particular trip we packed our luggage in the back and set off at our usual time: 4 a.m. Yeah, I know what you’re wondering. How did I ever wake up at that hour? Easy. I never went to sleep. I stayed up, lying awake in my bed, drinking soda. You get to the point that you’re so tired that both your eyes are twitching and it feels like you’re constantly blinking. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ll have to try it sometime. I believe it’s something everyone should experience at least once.

Back to my story. So I wake up somewhere near Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you’ve ever been there, you know the entire state is a giant prairie. I have this taste in my mouth: dragon breath. You can’t smell it because your senses aren’t exactly top-notch when you wake up.

My older brother always rode in the back of the van. It wasn’t because he was neglected or anything; it was because my sister and I were clever enough to claim we couldn’t sit in the back because of motion sickness. Actually, my sister did get motion sick occasionally. I, on the other hand, was a first-class bluffer. Andre, my brother, had to squeeze into the back. We’re the type of people who, when we go on a trip, take everything. Yup: blankets, clothes, pillows, cosmetics, household cookware, appliances. So Andre had to ride the entire time in a fetal position. He hated these trips, and I think it was probably because of this unfortunate seating arrangement. His solution: Dramamine. Andre doesn’t get motion sick; rather, he used them as sleeping pills. Most of the trip, he’d be going around like a zombie. Just wait, in a couple years, we’re going to find that overuse of Dramamine is bad for your health.

Okay, sorry, back to my tale. We pull into a truck stop because all three of us young ’uns need to use the bathroom. The truck stop was rancid. I’ll spare you the details of this health-code-violating structure. We pile back into the van and off we go.

I close my eyes, resting my head against the window, and Andre wakes up and asks, “Where’s Anna?” I look back at him, confused, and then realize that there’s an empty seat next to me. “Oh, s***!” My dad turns the wheel hard and flies across the highway. Let me tell you, that will bring you fully awake very quickly. The wheels screech as my dad pulls this U-turn in the middle of the highway. Yeah, now you’re probably thinking, How is he doing a U-turn there? This story is a load of bull! But, hey, let me remind you, this was Wyoming! Who else is on the road?

So we drive across the median and hightail it back to that awful truck stop. And there is Anna waiting in front. She hadn’t even realized we left her behind.

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