The Road Trip of a Lifetime…No, really. (Part 1 of 2)

A few months ago, I decided to bite the bullet and plan a road trip. I am all about firsts. First kisses. First base. First….oh wait. We’re not on that subject (yet). Ok, so I’m all about first time experiences in general. So this would be my first long solo road trip, and it would be with my dog, Peach. If you continue to read my posts, you’ll learn all about Peach. But for now, just know that she is my love, my world, my co-pilot, my companion, my baby girl. I adopted her in January 2017. She actually came from Georgia as a rescue, so going south was (to me) kind of symbolic in some way. The final destination was Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Also, I wanted to go to Georgia for a day to reunite her with her first foster mom, and so I could meet and thank her in person. Sounds magical, right? Well, as usual, the universe had different plans for me.

I’ll save the wordy stuff for the best parts of this story, but you do need a little background….

I took 2 weeks off of work. Luckily I get a shitload of vacation time from my corporate job. A little over 7 weeks in total, with holidays included. This was my first time ever taking 2 weeks off in a row. My first, first of this story. I booked cabin rentals for this road trip and planned it in the middle of the 2 weeks so I’d have time off before and after I traveled. The weekend before I left for the trip, I ended up doing a 2 day Canine Conditioning workshop in New Hampshire. This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, as I’m trying to make some sort of a career shift over time and wanting to do something I’m passionate about so I don’t hate going into work every day. This workshop would get me a certification as a conditioning coach, but more importantly it would gain me a ton of knowledge and strengthen my bond with Peach. So Peach and I went to NH for the 2 days and the workshop was 9-4 both days. During this training, Peach was receiving lots of rewards as I worked with her. This included meatballs, roast beef, turkey, lamb, string cheese, and cheddar cheese. Normally this would be fine, as I do a lot of training with her, including agility. However, those training sessions are an hour. This workshop was all day for 2 days. Needless to say, her bowel movements were “off” after that weekend. She was constipated one day, and then started having diarrhea the afternoon before we were scheduled to leave. I didn’t sleep at all that night, as I was struggling internally with what to do. Do I not go on this trip that I paid a LOT of money for? Do I have a delayed start and get her to the vet first thing in the morning before I leave? I was torn. I slept maybe 2 hours, and I had to drive well over 10 hours to get to my first stop in Virginia. I decided to take her to the vet as soon as they opened. They gave me probiotics for her and I was on my way. Left about 6 hours later than I planned, but at least I was still going.

Well apparently the long car ride, coupled with diarrhea, made for the perfect storm for my poor girl. I was having to stop constantly. I was worried about her. I kept having flashbacks to earlier this year when I went out to lunch with friends and mistakenly had spicy Chinese food, forgetting that in my old age, my system does not process it like it used to. I barely made it home. I’ve never clenched my ass cheeks so hard in my life. Sweat was running down my face. My heart was pounding. My ass was on fire. That was the worst physical feeling I had felt in probably decades. It was worse than when I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident. It was so bad, that when I finally pulled into my garage and could run into the house to the toilet, I couldn’t move. If I moved the wrong way, the plug I had built up was going to shift and release the grease. I did finally make it to the toilet without leakage, just FYI. Anyways, back to my poor dog. I felt so incredibly bad for her, knowing what it’s like when you’re trying so desperately to hold back the flood of liquid heat. There were many times that I couldn’t pull over right away. Basically through most (if not all) of NY and NJ, the taint of the United States. I never hated those states more than I do now after driving through with a dog having diarrhea. Sure, I could pull off on those little rest areas, which I did. But Peach gets stressed easily and hates being near loud cars and noises. So every time, I was having to peel her out of the car to go have a diarrhea sesh. NOT FUN.

Somewhere in NJ, I pulled off on an exit, thinking I could find her a nice quiet grassy area to take her time, sniff around, and shit. Nope. All I could find was a cluster of 3 high rise buildings. They had nice big, beautifully manicured lawns though, and it was getting serious as she was pacing and panting. I pull into the driveway of the middle building. It’s a one way, and its fucking valet parking. I said to myself, “Are you fucking kidding me??” as I pulled in and kept driving past the valet guys and waved. I pull into the building to the left of that one. It’s another one way, leading into a parking garage that you need a code to get into. I said to myself, “FUCK ME.” Meanwhile, she’s breathing down my neck. Honestly, if I were her, I would have just shit right in the car at that point. But she didn’t. Because she’s a trooper. So then I pull into the third building driveway. SAME SHIT, DIFFERENT TOILET. Another parking garage, and no where to even pull a u-turn. I had to pull an Austin Powers in my VW Alltrack wagon. A fucking 20 point turn. Swearing the entire time. I don’t know what to do at this point. So I go back to the second building. Despite there only being room for 1 car in that driveway leading up to the parking garage, I pull over as far as I can without pulling too much onto the beautifully manicured lawn. She’s nervous. I have to pick her up out of the car. I take her over the lawn, which is right outside the ALL GLASS high rise building. I look over and can see men in business suits, staring at me with my dog taking a watery diarrhea shit all over the nicest lawn I’ve ever stood on. And me in my comfortable driving attire of sweat pants and a t-shirt that says “Show me your pitties”. Oh my fucking God. “Is this seriously happening right now??” I asked myself that out loud, as I watched orange liquid pour out of my poor dogs butthole.

I somehow made it to Virginia after that and many, many stops along the way. I had booked a nice cabin right on the Shenandoah river. However, after the very late start to the trip and after hours of constant stopping for diarrhea, it was almost 11pm before I even got close to the cabin. I called my sister-in-law about a couple of hours before my ETA. As soon as she answered, I lost it. Much like Peach’s diarrhea, I couldn’t control the water coming down my eyes and face. I could barely speak. She comforted me. I felt a little better after we spoke. Then I get off the exit, but still have over 20 miles to get to the cabin. It’s late, it’s completely black out. There are no street lights. I’m on these long stretches of twisty roads. Huge ass rocks on both sides of the roads, with trees caving in towards the road. I’m fucking terrified. And I also have a dog that is starting to pace and pant. I can’t pull over. We will both surely get killed, there is no doubt in my mind. I’m driving as fast as I can, but it’s so dark and the road is twisty and I have no idea where I am. I’m crying at this point….again. Finally I see a single street light in front of a small building. It’s about 10:30pm. I throw on my blinker (why, I have no idea, there’s no one around but serial killers). Turns out that it’s an elementary school. Again, just one street light. I pull into the driveway, get her out, and she’s having another round of liquid ass. Surprisingly, a couple of cars drove by. I prayed that they didn’t stop to see if I needed help. Serial killers like to help. I thought for sure this was it. This was how Peach and I were going to die. On the side of a road in the middle of the night at an elementary school. At this point, I’m ready to have diarrhea myself. Miraculously, we survived that pit stop and continued on…..

After a while, I got to a strip that actually had some businesses and a traffic light or two. It was almost 11:00pm. I see a Food Lion. I decide to stop and get some chicken and rice to make for her, knowing she needs to eat something but it needs to be easy on her poor stomach. (FYI – I’ve been a strict vegetarian for the past 21+ years) I get the stuff and we drive on. Again, no street lights and long stretches of road in the middle of nowhere. My car’s GPS says, “You have arrived”. I would have felt relieved, but something didn’t seem right. I can’t see shit other than what’s directly in front of my car’s headlights. I pull into a driveway. The house has columns, and no lights are on and no cars around. To the left of the house is a dirt path. I take the path, thinking maybe it leads to the cabin. Shortly after, I’m literally in a god damn corn field. A fucking corn field. In the middle of the night. In the complete dark and now the fog is rolling in. My heart is racing and I’m about to shit my pants. I keep going down this dirt path anyways, because I have no idea what else to do. After a minute or two, I decide to turn around. Another 20 point Austin Powers turn FTW. This time in a corn field. I say to myself, “Is this really my fucking life right now?” I end up back at the house with the huge columns. This can’t be right. I peel out and continue down the road. It’s now about 11:30pm. I see a driveway coming up quick, so I slow down. I see a wooden sign hanging over the driveway that had a name on it that I recognized from the VRBO posting for the rental. I’ve never felt so relieved. I get my phone out because the woman had emailed me instructions on where to go once I pulled in. Again, I find myself on a dirt path leading into the fog with nothing but my headlights. I end up somewhere and I think I can see a cabin, but it doesn’t look anything like the cabin in the pictures. I turn around. Again. I call the woman’s cell phone. She tells me where to go. I finally arrive. There was another cabin that I had driven right past because you literally couldn’t see it. It was up on a hill. Why she didn’t leave any lights on at the cabin for me is beyond me. She knew I was arriving very late. Cheap mother fucker doesn’t want to pay for the extra electricity I guess. I get out of the car, relieved. Peach has a final squirt of diarrhea for the night. It’s now after midnight and I’m googling how to boil chicken. There is no wifi and barely a 3G signal, so that’s convenient. I finally make my girl some chicken and rice. Now keep in mind I haven’t eaten meat in 21 years…..

The chicken is now cooked, according to Google, which told me to boil it for 10 minutes. The rice is also cooked. I’m cutting up the chicken into small pieces. At this point, I haven’t eaten anything all day. The only thing in my system is a 5 hour energy drink that expired from my system several hours ago, and 2 Nutter Butters that I got at a gas station along the way. My stress level is through the roof, I’m fucking exhausted, I’m anxious, I’m worried about my dog, and I still have to make the bed and somehow settle down so I can sleep. I’m also rolling up area rugs just in case Peach has any orange lava left in her system. Back to the chicken. I’m cutting it up. It’s moist (yes, I love that word), it’s stringy, it smells oddly good to me. I start sweating. I’m actually contemplating eating some of it, and I can’t believe this thought is crossing my mind. I was so mentally mind fucked at that point, that I just did it. I ate some. I think I ate 3 small pieces. I wasn’t going to tell anyone this, but honestly it’s weighed on me ever since it happened and I need to confess. You have my confession. It happened. I’m sorry, poor little chicken.

I’ll leave all of this for you to digest, along with any chicken you meat eaters may have eaten tonight. There is more to the story, which will be my next blog post. The chicken shall return…..

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