Quite often, when I have a birthday, I try to come up with something exciting to do. Last year I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. My happiness to be alive was totally life affirming, but not exactly relaxing.
This year I decided it would be better to take a nice calm mini-vacation in the mountains, and it turns out, this affirmed my happiness at being alive, too.
Because I am so nice, I have decided to share my experience with you, so that you, too, can take a relaxing weekend vacation.
The Steps to having a FANTASTIC RELAXING VACATION:
- Plan at the last minute. This will ensure that the trip is exciting and unexpected. At the most, plan within a week of going.
- Rush to get some work on your car done. Change the oil, get the brakes checked and new rotors, because you always need new rotors before a big trip, it just happens.
- Notice that there is still a little squeak when you push on the brakes, but run out of time to do anything about it before heading over the continental divide to a little getaway 200 miles away. You use the engine to slow yourself down anyway, and dozens of miles at a 6% grade won’t be a problem.
- Leave work early. You won’t think about work while you are away. Monday is days and days away. Just leave a bunch of shit unfinished and take off!
- Go pick up your boyfriend on the way out of town. Wait until you get to the interstate to fill up with gas, because it is more expensive. That means better, right?
- Get to Denver right about rush hour, because the more cars there are on the road, the better.
- As you start to climb into the mountains on I-70, notice that your coolant indicator suddenly dropped to really really cold. Since the car seems to be running fine, and the oil temperature seems to be steady, try not to think about your car exploding into a burning ball of flame as you skyrocket off a cliff like a comet.
- Stop at McDonald's in Idaho Springs, not because you love McDonald's, but because you are hungry and want to be able to eat fast. You will love that you did this to your body later.
- Let your boyfriend take over driving, because he is willing to, and it will keep you from crying from all the stress.
- About 10 minutes later, have an almost-heart attack as a light turns on on the dash and a loud "BING" noise goes off.
- Pull over, and start looking through the manual, trying to find the indicator light that turned on. The car will rock from the wind of the passing cars. Don't find the light, but figure it is something to do with the brakes because it kinda looks like the light that went on. Your boyfriend will say something like, "The light is yellow, not red, so it's probably OK". And you will be thinking, "THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE BRAKES AND I AM IN THE MOUNTAINS."
- Keep moving, get off at the next exit to look more closely at the manual. You will eventually find the light in the supplemental manual, and it will say something like "Brake pads, brake fluid, your car will probably not explode, but ... maybe."
- After your boyfriend tests the brakes a few times, you both can start feeling more comfortable that the car is OK, and you can make it the rest of the way to your destination. You are going to be screwed no matter what you decide if the brakes go out. Best to keep your goal in mind, and continue.
- As your boyfriend turns on the car, there will be a new noise. It will sound something like this:
flapflapflapflapflapflapflapflapflapflapflap flappity flap flap!
- The car is pulled over again, and the hood popped. You both peer into the bowels of the car, which seems way more complicated than it should be... maybe it's because it's an Audi, or maybe it's just that you try to avoid looking under the hood of a car at all costs. Either way. After a bit of peering, you notice that something seems to be tangled into a fan. You can't really point it out to your boyfriend, because the car is really hot, so you go back and get a pen out to point better.
- You point out the "weird looking thingy", and your boyfriend takes the pen, and points out where a wire is frayed and apparently has been ripped out. He starts explaining that the wire must have gotten caught and yanked out. As he points at where the other end came loose, he is no longer holding a pen, just a pen cap. This is because the rest of the pen has disappeared into the car somewhere.
- OK, one problem at a time. After some yanking, and pulling and cussing, you get the wire and all its pieces out of the fan. You put them on the back seat of the car, thinking it might help you later when you want to fix whatever it was that broke.
- You notice that a state trooper has pulled up behind you, with his lights on.
- You try not to look guilty, because you really haven't done anything wrong, but you fail. The trooper turns out to be nice, and just wanted to make sure that you weren't stranded in the middle of the mountains. He pulls off a little, and sits there watching you work.
- Now for the pen. Having changed the oil on the car for the first time in your life a few days before, with the help of your boyfriend, of course, you know that there is a little cover that is really annoying on the bottom of the car, with annoying screws, and is somewhat difficult to get to, and that there is no real way of getting the thing off without getting dirty. You, however, have an awesome boyfriend, and he does it for you. However, the pen won't be there. Just more pieces of the busted wire.
- It might help at this point to start cussing profusely.
- It's time to admit that the pen is gone, and it has fallen into a void. It isn't sitting on any of the belts, it isn't in the bottom, you can't see it from the top or bottom. It's just gone. Say, "fuck it" and decide to keep going.
- The car drives fine. The brakes work fine. You start thinking everything will be OK. You have convinced yourself that they probably didn't hook up the sensor right when they changed the brakes, and that the wire goes to the electric fan, which shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't get stuck in traffic. Probably. The trooper stops following you to pull over a speeder. Things are looking up.
- Stop at Dillon to use the rest room, attempt to wash some grease off your hands, smoke, and check the oil.
- When you check the oil, the dip stick will break. Not the long metal part, the plastic part that kind of locks onto the top.
- You will be emotionally drained by now, and have nothing left inside to care with, so you will keep going.
- Get to Glenwood Springs around 9PM, and check into the hotel. It is useful that the hotel is housed in the same building as a brewery, because you really, really want a drink about now.
- And now the fun can begin!!!