This weeks prompt is Vacation memories.... While I have heaps of grand vacay memories, one definitely stands out. In less than an hour I almost got sucked up into a tornado, was mistaken for a prostitue and stayed at a roach motel. Oh my goodness, good times is an understatement...
For my 21st birthday, I decided I wanted to go back to the scene of the crime, my birthplace of Miami, Florida. I begged my best friend to drive down with me so we could celebrate my birthday. (Read: party our asses off.) I had plenty of family and friends to stay with, so all we needed was gas and booze money. My BFF worked at a car rental place at the time, so she rented us a super roomy granny cruiser for the drive. Since I had made this drive many many times before, I knew the best time to leave was at 2am, so the majority of the drive was in day light hours and would get us in around 6-8pm, just in time for dinner and drinks. We were young, we didn't need to break the 16-hour drive up into two days, nor the extra expense of a hotel.
We were on the road by 2am and with very few cars out at that hour, we were making really good time. Around 4am the rain started falling... and with each mile we drove, the rain fell harder... Then the rain was pissing like I had never known. The wind began whipping the car around on the road and we could barely see 10 feet in front of us. We decided to pull over, stop the CD we were listening to and tune into a local radio station.
When we turned the radio on, the National Weather Service alarm was blaring. The automated voice came on letting us know there were tornado watches and warnings for the following counties... We just sat there on the side of the road, car shaking like a crack whore needing a fix, dumb founded. We didn't know what county we were in? We really were not even sure where the hell we were. We just knew we were on the interstate that led to Florida. Then the rain stopped, and the wind howled. We were sure at that moment we were fucked.
The automated voice finished listing counties and turned over to the normal radio broadcast, a DJ was yelling about tornadoes on the ground on this street, or three reported in this town. My BFF and I were freaking out. We were trying to decide if we should get out of the car and find a ditch, try to drive until we found civilization, or just stay in the car on the side of the road shitting ourselves. It was still pitch black outside, no cars coming or going. We opted for trying to find civilization. So we drove on, at a snails pace, chain smoking and shitting ourselves.
The rain would let up at times, but the wind never did. Huge full grown trees were snapping and bend the entire time. Branches and hail pounding the crap out of the granny cruiser. Finally, we found a small town with a motel, gas station and drive-thru food hole of some sort. We pulled into the motel parking lot and sat there... staring at the massive roach with windows and broken neon lights flashing. We didn't want to stay, but we also couldn't keep driving. We agreed to stay, but only until the rain let up... So my BFF went in to see if the place rented by the hour. Judging by the look of it, this was not an unreasonable request.
My BFF came out and said the storm was huge and probably not going to let up for a few hours, and that when she asked the clerk about hourly rental, he looked out at me in the car, and asked, "What the hell you two up to?" Ok FUNNY! She explained our trip and fear of landing in OZ, but the clerk still charged us the full $35 nightly rental. (Yes, this place was classy) She told me she left a wake-up call for 6am. All I could do was laugh.
We checked into the roaches belly to find the room was not nearly as bad as we expected. We both immediately passed out and woke up to the phone ringing. Our wake-up call was right on time. We checked out of the roach, and hit the road... Within a few miles we were so tankful for stopping. The roads were covered in debris, trees down everywhere, cars crossing the three lanes of the interstate in a zigzag motion to avoid natures obstacles. This went on for about 50-60 miles.
Little did I know, the last day of my 20th year, filled with tornadoes, a roach motel, a clerk that thought I was a prostitute and the craziest drive down the interstate of my life (still to date), would be nothing compared to the first day of my 21st year of life... I would post pictures of it all but... the evidence from that vacation has been either burned or buried...
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