October 18 we celebrated our 3rd year as a married couple, and like every other year we went on a trip. But unlike every other year, in which we had a great time, this year the universe decided to throw us a curve ball and gave us one of the worst trips imaginable.
Our bad vibe started the day before we left, with our car being booted because we parked in the wrong lot. The guy that booted us was a douche, and not because of the boot (which we realized we deserved after the fact by a sign posted in the farthest corner of the front of the lot which is opposite of where you actually park), but because he wouldn’t make eye contact and wouldn’t answer my questions (which I asked very politely and in a non confrontational manner, because I don’t know how to be mean apparently). So that was trip money down the drain.
After deciding that it’d be better to go and be broke while there instead of staying home and being broke, we got in the car and went to Pigeon Forge, drove the strip and found the cheapest hotel possible, which in hindsight was a bad idea. The board outside the hotel said $25 a night, which is the cheapest hotel we’ve ever stayed in, which was a sign of things to come. After the typical “do you want to see the room first” that we usually get and usually turn down and will forever now take advantage of, they gave us the key and said “you’ll get in your car and drive through the parking lot, past those stores and that Shoney’s, until you get to the next street, then go behind that other hotel and that’s where your room is”. Time to get a refund and run fast and far right? Not us, hahaha we laugh and keep going down the rabbit hole.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Identity then you know where we stayed, except I think they vacuumed the rooms in that movie. Seriously, they did not vacuum the room, and the fridge was broken, and there were cigarette burns in the bed spread, and there was no fitted sheet just a regular one tucked in (kinda). So any right minded person at this point (if they would have even made it this far) would run away screaming in horror. Not us, we wince and keep going.
We are on the cheap so Daniel gets a $5 foot long that will last two meals and Lori gets free McDonalds from Monopoly pieces, so we’ve got this cheap thing planned out and we’re doing good. We take our food to the river to eat and watch the ducks and everything is all hunky dorey. Heck, there is a guy in the parking lot having car troubles that we help give his battery a jump, so karma should be on our side about now right? WRONG! Apparently we helped the devil because right after that we drove down the street to some stores and parked in a grass lot, and while checking to make sure there were no “NO PARKING” signs we drove into a three foot hole and tore up the front of the car. Yay!
The car seemed ok, except for some cosmetic damage, so after the shops we drove back to the hotel. We brought microwave dinner for that night but went out to get toast to go with it, and on the way back the car started making a rubbing screeching horrible almost dying noise. After pulling over Daniel thought it was the radiator fan scrapping against the housing. “That’ll probably be fine to get us back to the hotel and I’ll try to fix it tomorrow”. Yeah right, it died on the way back, just cut off in the middle of the road and we had to push it to a nearby gas station (but at least Lori now knows you have to take your foot off the break when someone is trying to push the car). When we opened the hood there was something oily all over the radiator fan, which must equal something really bad just happened, of course.
We called a mechanic, they came out and picked up us and the car and took us back into the woods to their shop at a dead end. It was the mechanic shop where horror movies get their ideas. Surrounded by trees, walls of dirt, junk cars, and we have no way of getting out of here. But luckily they haven’t seen as many Rob Zombie films as us, and they were nice. The radiator broke and transmission fluid was leaking and all they had to do was order a replacement and we’d be good to go the next day. We used their Ford Taurus rental car, which makes us look super cool, but who cares as long as we can get back to the hotel, and then finally eat our microwave dinner.
Apparently that was not enough excitement for the day because we awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of the smoke detector and a horrible smell. The window unit AC had frozen over and was smoking, which is totally awesome because we thought it couldn’t get any worse, and it feels great to get proven wrong over and over again.
The next day the rental car smelled like a wet dog, but who cares after everything else that’s happened. We get our car back for a nice chunk of change, and continued to celebrate our Anniversary with Japanese hibachi (where they cook the vegetarian food in chicken remains) and glow in the dark put-put. We even splurged on cheap champagne and Krispy Kreme.
There are only a couple ways it could have been worse, if Dolly was there peeing on everything, we had a screaming baby, or we didn’t have each other.