You know how they say life imitates art? Well, by that logic, I should be a top-notch vacation planner, seeing as how I write about Mustang Ridge Dude Ranch, where the cowboys are always hunky and the guests always have smiles on their faces.
Yeah. Not so much. Because here was the scene earlier this month:
So there Arizona and I stood, bright and early on a Monday morning, staring up at the pretty green of a summer ski slope and the chairlifts that were all set up to carry us and our mountain bikes up to the top. Except we weren’t going anywhere because—according to the guys sweeping up from the weekend’s event—they had just started their fall hours, which meant they were closed the first half of the week.
Annnd I had somehow missed seeing on their website before we booked a hotel and made the trip. Like the Griswolds standing in the empty parking lot of Wally World, we had driven through hill, dale and messed up GPS to get to the fantasy amusement park we’d been talking about visiting since last year … and it was closed.
Mind you, Arizona and I haven’t quite hit the third anniversary of our first date (which lasted 20 hours because his ferry home was canceled, but that’s another story thankyouverymuch). In that time, we’d traveled to visit friends and family and to attend booksignings and conventions … but we hadn’t had an official vacation together, complete with multiple days away, a hotel room, and just the two of us.
And, well, we still haven’t.
After a brief snivel on my part and a very logical “Well, I didn’t doublecheck the website or call to confirm, so it’s as much my bad as yours” from my wonderful husband, we packed up and headed south, thinking that we would spend a few days at home, then head back up to the mountain for the weekend.
Have you heard the one about the best laid plans? Yeah. That. Because the day before we were going to leave, in the midst of fiddling with our boat trailer to make it work with the World’s Biggest Kayak, we got Roo (our car) stuck on our Scary Ski Slope of a gravel-edged driveway. And in the process of getting him unstuck (thank you, kind neighbor!), we tripped half of the CHECK ENGINE lights by over-revving.
In a car we were planning on road tripping the next day. Sigh.
Did I mention that we had decided to stop using our dealership for repairs after one too many times of them patting me on the head and telling me everything’s fine while missing a major diagnosis? Yeah, that. Anyway, after a quick scramble, we found a willing and Angie’s List-recommended mechanic and made an appointment for first thing the next morning.
Then, a few hours later, we set the car on fire.
Okay, technically, we set the ropes in the bed of the car on fire while sealing the ends on our tiedown ropes, but there were flames, melted plastic, and a gas tank wayyyy too close to said open flames. Which is so out of character for the two of us that it was ridiculous. Finally, I turned to my beloved and said, “Do you get the feeling the Universe is telling us not to do this?” And he made a rueful face and said, “Yeah. Let’s bag it.”
If we were the Griswolds, maybe we would’ve stormed the gates, turned on the chair lifts and had our vacation, autumn hours be danged. Or rented a car, stuffed the bikes in the back seat and hit the road. We’re not like Clark and Ellen, though, so instead we finished painting the trim and shutters on our house, did a bunch of kayaking, and chilled out. Which in the end was entirely fun in its own way. And on our last day, we clinked glasses and wished ourselves better luck next vacation.
Okay, so that’s my Vacation That Wasn’t story … how about you? One randomly chosen comment will win a signed copy of SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE (or an e-copy if you’d prefer). So tell me about your vacation “Oops!”