For week 18 of the Indie Travel Challenge, pick any one of these questions (or as many as you like!) to answer in your post. What is your earliest childhood memory of traveling with your family? Did you take regular family vacations? Did your family encourage travel? Did any of those family trips inspire your adult life as a traveler?
I love this Boots’n’All weekly writing challenge thing, but I don’t really want to answer any of the questions related to family travel. So instead, I’m just going to tell you about one of the most hilarious, near-death involving, family memory I have.
So I’m from Maine. Cold, brutal, winter Maine. And moving to Massachusetts at 7, my family and I would often travel back to Maine a few times a year.
One year, when I was about 14 or something, we went to Maine,
(yea, that was thinking)
The trip consisted of me, my mom, my little sister Heather, my little brother Peter, and my brother’s friend Steve.
My sister, my mom, and my brother. We kinda rock.
So about half the week into our trip, we decided to leave my Grammy’s; where we were staying, to go to somewhere. I think it was to visit my Aunt Mary.
I’m not sure.
It doesn’t really matter anyway because we never made it.
There had been a giant snowstorm the morning we left. But this is Maine. There’s snow from like September to June there, so big deal…
…what’s a little snow?
Driving down the highway (and by highway I mean 2 lane road, 1 lane for each direction of traffic) we came up to the top of a big hill. From the top of the hill the road went down, then back up to another hill.
Oh, and only the opposite side of the road was plowed.
The second we hit the top of the first hill we could see cars, on both sides, skidding out left and right. Our side of the road was driving on the equivalent of an ice rink. The other side of the road was trying to dodge out of control cars from our side of the road. At the top of the 2nd hill there was a 3 car pileup, and growing exponentially fast.
My mom started pumping the brakes to no avail. So she did what any mom in an out of control car packed with pre-pubescent kids would do; and very calmly said,
“Hold on kids. We’re going to crash.”
Heather, Steve, and I in the backseat instantly put our heads between our legs in the crash position (I honestly have no idea why we did that. None of us knew the proper crash safety procedures or anything. I guess growing up in Maine it’s just inherited in your DNA).
My brother, on the other hand, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, sits straight up, and all defiantly like, turns to mom and says,
“What the hell are you going to do that for?”
Mom did the only thing she could. In a car, heading at high velocity down an ice-laden hill, surrounded by other out of control cars, and failing miserably at her attempts defy the laws of gravity, motion, and traction; she did the best thing she could think of to avoid killing us all – she aimed for the guardrail.
Unluckily, she only hit the very edge of the guardrail, which instantly bent like a blade of grass, not stopping us the least from trying our hand at off-roading in a Ford Taurus. (ok, I think we had the Taurus then. It was some similar type of car).
Luckily, they happened to be doing construction on the road, and our car went up and over a gigantic boulder. A gigantic boulder that proceeded to rip out the entire underside of the car and transmission, and lodge itself under our oil pan; stopping us from careening straight down a 50-foot ravine that lay about 10 ft in front of us.
This is what it looked like:
Re-enactment of the crash we were in. The yellow arrow is our car.
So now we are stopped. We are shocked. We all realize real quickly that no one got hurt (except my little brother that smacked his head a bit because HE decided to sit straight up and yell at mom rather than brace for impact.) But he barely got hurt. He didn’t even get a concussion. Then mom realized we are still sitting in a car, a rock away from face-hurling ourselves into sudden death, and still surrounded by cars-gone-wild.
She yelled at us and we quickly got out of the car as fast as we can and scrambled up the hill. Someone in a house or a café right at the top of the hill had come out to see the whole ‘driving-in-February-in-Maine’ fail that was going on, and called cops and paramedics.
I honestly can’t remember if it was a house or a café. All I know is that the woman inside gave me hot coca, and I love hot coca.
Oh, that and once we were in safety, and everyone was realizing everyone else was ok, and we weren’t going to die, my mom finally heard what my brother said to her in the car.
“What the hell are you going to do that for?!? What’s wrong with you?!?”
I thought it was hilarious. I have no idea if mom was pissed, shocked, or amused. We laugh about my brother’s brilliance now. And I’m pretty sure we did then too, but that could have been the ‘Oh My God we’re alive!” adrenaline and emotional rush at not plummeting head-first into a ravine of no return.
Anyway, we never made it where we were trying to go. The car got towed and fixed. My Uncle Gary picked us up and drove us back to Grammy’s. And that night on the news, that same 3 car pile-up at the top of the second hill I mentioned earlier, had turned into something like a 40 car pileup within a couple hours.
(And that didn’t include us! That was just the cars that actually hit other cars, not all the people like us that hit guardrails, trees, rocks, giant piles of snow).
Yup, that is one of my most vivid family memories. That and throwing an entire bag of chips all over the rental car in excitement of crossing into Maine on our first trip back after we moved to Massachusetts. That was also pretty hilarious. Chips EVERYWHERE! Though, mom didn’t think it was as funny when she had to vacuum them all up. Oh well.
Love you mom!
This is part of Boots n All 2012 Indie Travel Challenge. I’m doing this in hopes of becoming a more consistent and better travel-blogger. And I really just wanted an excuse to show silly family photos. My family rocks!