Last week Saxon wrote The Big Trip, Part One and had planned on writing Part Two, but I talked her into letting me write it. I was afraid she would gloss over certain parts and neglect to inform you of her participation in the ugly truth of it all.
Let’s backtrack a little and start right before the trip itself. You see, Saxon typically packs two weeks prior to the trip. I pack moments before the trip. The good thing about the way I pack is that there’s no time to change your mind or re-pack. Saxon re-packs about three hundred and twenty seven times before we actually get the suitcase in the car.
Here’s how I pack for a four-day trip: Two pairs of pants. Four shirts. Four pairs of panties. Four pairs of socks. One bra besides the one I’m wearing. One nightgown. Two pairs of shoes. Kindle and phone, plus charger. One bathing suit. Then I add traveling toiletries.
Here’s how Saxon packs for a four-day trip: Four pairs of pants. Four pairs of shorts. Eight shirts. Eight pairs of underwear. Eight pairs of socks. Three bras. Two pajamas. Poncho. Galoshes. Umbrella. Four pairs of shoes. One deck of cards. A yo-yo. A coloring book and gel pens. Stationary and stamps. A bag of change—assorted coins. All her bracelets. A pillow for the car and a pillow for the bed. Two towels in case the hotel’s are thin. Two bathing suits. A candle and matches. CDs for the car, arranged by genre and alphabetized. Maps of every state we drive through in case the Garmin explodes. Flat tire repair kit. And I won’t even go into the snack bag she packs for the car. Remember the show Let’s Make a Deal? Monty Hall would ask a person if they had some kind of weird thing in their purse and if they did, they would win a prize? I’m just saying that Saxon would win that prize every time.
We left the house two hours late because she had to re-pack four times. I sat in the car and read and snacked out of road trip bag while I waited.
Finally, we got on the road. It proved to be smooth sailing and uneventful until we reached our destination—Hot Springs, Arkansas. The first red flag came when Saxon told me to pull the car into the motel. The motel she had picked out. The motel she had spent weeks researching. The motel that had the best reviews and most reasonable prices. The motel, and I’ll say it again, she had picked out. I won’t tell you the name of the motel, but I will give you a hint: It had a red roof.
The lobby stunk to high heaven. Imagine this combination of smells assaulting your nostrils: mold, mildew, wet carpet, wet dog, curry, clove cigarettes, B.O., and mango-scented air freshener. The clerk checked us in and we went immediately to our room.
The room smelled worse than the lobby. Evidently the ‘no smoking’ sign on the door was just a suggestion. There was no fridge or microwave. There was no sofa or table. There was, however, an ironing board, but no iron. We trudged back to the lobby.
Saxon told the clerk that the room didn’t have any of the advertised amenities. The clerk said, “Oh, that’s because we’re remodeling this summer.”
After much hemming and hawing, the clerk finally hands us two more card keys, saying, “Go look at these two other rooms. Pick the one you want.”
The next room we look at is even worse than the first. It has two doors leading to adjoining rooms and the only way to lock those doors is with a tiny little hook and eye.
We go the the next room. It smells better. There’s an iron and a fridge. No microwave. No ironing board. But I come up with a bright idea. “What if we combined all the things from all three rooms and put it all in here?”
Saxon liked the idea. So, we spent the next hour taking the ironing board from the first room, the lamp from the second, the microwave from the second room—you get the idea—and putting it all in the third room. Next, we unpacked our bags.
By the time we were done, we were exhausted. We decided to go for a nice relaxing swim in the pool. That’s where we met Alex.
Alex was an overweight, bearded man who sat by the pool smoking a joint. As Saxon and I swam through the pool’s bug-infested water, Alex regaled us with stories about his girlfriend who was a stripper at a place called The Centerfold, two blocks away. He was a graffiti artist. He had just got out of prison the week before. He was from Atlanta, Georgia. They were staying in the room next to ours. They were going to live there for awhile and save up a nest egg, then hitch to to Venice Beach, California, and sleep on the beach. No rent that way.
Saxon and I went back to our room. We didn’t sleep that night. I kept a knife on my nightstand. Saxon had a can of pepper spray on hers.
As soon as dawn came, I sat up in bed and screamed. There was a spider dangling an inch in front of my nose. It was like a Miss Muffet moment only without the curds and whey.
I took a shower with my sandals on, got dressed, and said to Saxon, “We’re leaving. I don’t care if they charge us for four days; I don’t care if they charge us an enormous fee for leaving; I just want out of this hell-hole.”
We packed up and left. We drove downtown and checked into The Arlington, a very old hotel with lots of panache. Day One was behind us. Hopefully, Day Two would prove to be better. Hopefully. . .
This is the end of Part Two. Stay tuned for The Big Trip, Part Three.
“Another wonderful zany tale that will have you laughing and craving gelato and pasta! Well done!”
“I love this series. All the characters are insane but they work well together and make you laugh until you pee. I can’t recommend the book enough!”