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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024

On the road: trials and tribulations of trips

Some trips go according to plan. Others might involve unexpected encounters with animals, brief bouts of illness, major navigational errors and/or having to wait an extremely long period of time before getting to use the bathroom. 

While browsing over some Facebook photos, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my excursions, particularly those I take with a certain group of friends from high school tend to be more on the… “exciting” side. Whether we’re in the middle of the woods or in an urban jungle, our trips tend to be… memorable experiences. Here’s a rundown of our track record.  

Janky camping trip

Imagine all the classic camping disasters (pouring rain, leaky tent, skunk attack, marshmallow shortage). Throw in some darkness and you’d get a good picture of the camping trip my high school friends and I took after freshman year of college. 

Our weekend in Shenandoah National Park proved to be a classic “what can go wrong, will go wrong” scenario. Lowlights included forgetting a person in the bathroom on our way out of town, nearly running out of gas halfway up a mountain, eating undercooked meat and discovering someone had been bitten by a tick. But, hey, at least no one got skunked? 

Sandy camping trip

After the Shenandoah excursion, my friends and I were determined to have a less eventful camping trip, so we decided to spend a weekend on Maryland’s Assateague Island, which happens to be inhabited by potato-chip-eating wild ponies. I do not kid. While we were not attacked by Lays-hungry horsies, we had our share of standard struggles on this trip as well. 

One example: starting a fire. You’d think human instinct would help out here, but no. Fortunately, our neighbors gave us some mystery white powder that got the job done pretty quickly. We didn’t ask any questions.  

But struggles aside, living on the beach for three days is pretty sweet and may even be worth the sunburn. 

New Year’s Eve in New York

You know what looks really cool on TV? Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve. You know what’s really unpleasant in real life? Standing in Time’s Square for seven hours in the freezing cold. During our senior year of high school, the same group of friends thought we’d ring in 2010 by watching the ball drop live in New York City. Fun fact: Once you enter the corral of people waiting to see the ball drop, if you exit the pen, you can’t get your spot back. Funner fact: There is no public bathroom inside the corral. Even funner fact: Seven hours is a long time to go without peeing. But funnest fact: When the clock strikes 12, confetti explodes everywhere, everyone starts kissing, and you remember why you decided not to spend this New Year’s in your parents’ living room. 

Anyhoo, once Time’s Square started emptying out, after a whole 16 hours in New York, we headed to the bus station to catch the 2 a.m. bus back home.

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President Obama’s 2009 inauguration

When Barack Obama made history by becoming the United States’ first black president, my friends from high school and I decided to attend the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. Apparently, about 2 million other people had the same idea—who would have guessed! To beat the bulk of the crowd, we woke up before the crack of dawn to commute down to D.C. from our hometown in the Maryland suburbs in time for the president’s speech. We got off the Metro train downtown, grinning and high-fiving as we walked about a quarter mile… before coming to a halt in a mob of people that didn’t move for hours. While we didn’t get into the Mall, my friends and I huddled together as we heard the president’s speech resonate over public loudspeakers down the streets of D.C.. Not a bad consolation prize.

Are you planning a trip anytime soon? Ask Rachel for advice about fending off skunks and increasing your bladder capacity by emailing rmschulze@dailycardinal.com. 

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