Wednesday, September 16, 2009


By: Debbie Kaufman and Sandra Elzie

This month’s theme is about mature heroines so we thought we’d join our efforts and give you insight from two “seasoned” travelers who recently had their own little adventure: one filled with conflict, romance, and a story line that typifies us older heroines. We now feel uniquely qualified to write one of those Traveling as Couples for Dummies guides. (Wait; did we get those nouns reversed?)

Every good book needs a blurb. Ours would read something like this: What do you get when you put two happily married couples on a road trip to the mountains to locate obscure properties WHEN the driver is directionally impaired and the front seat passenger’s main bit of dialogue to the ladies in the back seat is “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

Now, we should pause here to note our First Bit of Sage Advice: When traveling through life…and we’ve both been at it for just a couple more years than we like to think about, our advice is to not sweat the small stuff. Let’s face it, if it’s not going to be important five years from now, let alone one year or even next week, why risk a frown crease in your forehead? After all, how can any woman resist the fun of wilderness travel, the prospect of needing a tow off a remote road or the possibility of careening off the edge of a road (and we use the term loosely), into a creek?

Frankly, in this story the heroines forgot their own advice a time or two. Fortunately most of the new wrinkles will come in the form of laugh lines.

Second Piece of Sage Advice: When traveling through life in a car with your husband, accept in advance that certain rules apply that aren’t needed when a woman travels alone or in groups of other women. For example:

• Common sense overrules GPS. If Tom-Tom, Garman or whatever you call your tour guide tells you to turn right and all you see is a dirt road through the trees, common sense tells you that’s not the way to Highway 75…unless husband # 1 is driving and went to MIT and is just sure the technology knows what it’s talking about. And let’s not forget husband #2 with a map in hand nodding in agreement with husband #1 and the GPS. Besides how can mere wives compete with Yoda’s voice insisting in 300 yards, right you must turn?

• Directions? We don’t need no damn directions.
Face it, men don’t need directions. Never mind heroine #1 in the back seat saying if you just go back TO THE MAIN ROAD and take the next turn… Oh, well, ‘nuff said on that subject. Well, except for the fact that going back to the MAIN ROAD and taking the next turn was exactly what finally got us to the property. But really, 'nuff said.

• 4 Wheel-Drive is not a super power. Both heroines of this story pointed that out more than once on the occasion of crossing a creek with two boards for a bridge.

• Roads that drop off sharply to what shrieking heroines perceive as a perilous descent should be navigated carefully, if at all.

• Driving through remote wilderness areas is best done when the gas tank isn’t sitting on empty. In his defense, Husband # 1 stated, “We’re not out of gas. The red light only comes on when we’re on steep hills." Uh, when weren’t we?

• Bathroom breaks are an essential element of every trip. It seems only men have the bladder of a camel and only men get an ego boost when using the great outdoors. After all, if God has the animals using the forest as their very own personal potty, it must be okay for us…right? Nuff said on this subject also.

• Smart husbands never disregard their wives directional advice especially when the wives were right EVERY time.

Final Piece of Sage Advice: When two writers and their husbands travel together, smart husbands should never abuse the power of the front seat on road trips, ESPECIALLY not when the wives have a blog… Husband # 1, realizing this, now says he’s not browbeaten, but blogbeaten.

In conclusion, let us assure you that no husbands were harmed on this trip, regardless of the few stray thoughts of mayhem that threatened to sneak out and grab them from the back seat. As mature travelers, let us assure you that when the sun goes down and everyone can laugh, it was a good day.

Now it’s your turn to share with the world about one of your memorable road trips.


Marilyn Baron said...

This post is hilarious. You're so right about men and directions. We've been lost so many times and my husband refuses to ask for directions. Now that we have a Garman he relies on that but the Garman is NOT always right. I swear everytime we disregard the Garman the woman's voice gets more intense when it says, "Recalculating."

I have a horrible sense of direction, though. Everytime I say turn right, and I'm sure we should turn right, my husband does the exact opposite and we always get there.

In defense of the Garman, I have to say that once when we were driving from Boston to a wedding in Maine in a blinding snowstorm, if it weren't for the Garman we never would have made it.

Thanks for the laugh.

Marilyn Baron

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Marilyn,

When Dick & I hit the road in 2006 for 6 months towing a 39-ft 5th wheel trailer, we relied on our GPS exclusively...even when HE was wrong. (g) Many times we would have been totally lost without the little gadget, but on this particular trip, the Yoda voiced Garman truly was trying to lead us on an adventure...over the river and through the woods.

Glad you enjoyed the post...just as we enjoyed our day with our two trusty scouts. Sandy

Carol Burnside said...

OMG, this sounds like a HOOT! I've had several tense moments - in the wildernes, no less - when my hubby got out to walk out on and 'test' a wooden bridge. 'Cause, y'know, a man vs. a car with two people...same weight difference, right?

Now, as for directions, it's like my hubby was born with a compass in his head. Me, I'm glad for the GPS in my new car, especially since I'm in unfamiliar territory still.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Oh, Carol. We know just what you mean about the bridge! I'm usually great with directions and have a strong sense of place. My dear one gets lost in Macy's. (NO GPS!)

Marilyn: Yes, the GPS can be invaluable, BUT it has tried to take us on several non-existant roads in the last year we've had it.

Sandy Elzie said...


LOL Once we were offroad in our 4-wheel drive Jeep and hubby got out to walk up the rest of the incline to see what was beyond the top since we couldn't see over the top and for all we knew, it led off a cliff. No GPS needed that day...just guts.


CiCi Barnes said...

Directions? Hubby can't stand to admit he was wrong. Drives me more crazy than his actually being wrong.

I bought him a GPS. Unfortunately, he's also technilogically challenged. I have to operate the thing. When she starts telling him where and when to turn, he calls her by name -- which we will NOT divulge on this public forum -- and informs her that either he already knows this, SHUT UP, or she's wrong, so he does his own thing.

Road trips are a hoot and dead-ends in the woods are a little unnerving.

My best defense? I sleep.

Great post, ladies!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Sleep would have kept me from some harrowing scenes/sights. But on that terrain? No way!

Michelle said...

My first husband (and there's a reason for that first designation!) loved nothing more than to wake me up at 5 am to head out into the woods for a "drive." We had a 1974 Jeep Cherokee that he'd installed Buick seats in and made all manner of mechanical "improvements." California has some wild terrain and I've seen nearly all of it. We'd start out in the foothills and somehow - eight hours later - come out in a manzanita grove at the edge of the high dessert. The worst was coming upon some obstacle on those old forest service roads and having to back out for two miles. Ah, good times. Thanks for bringing back some fond-ish memories, ladies!

Cyrano said...

Sooo, so funny. Loved every word!
I have a great road trip story. It involves my prom (which of course isn't normally classified as a road trip, but in this instance it should be.)
We went as a group, me and three other couples. We wanted to rent a limosine, but one of the guys in my group had the great idea to rent a limo-bus. The girls weren't happy about it, but we gave in.
So me and my date are wainting at our house for the LB to pick us up...waiting, waiting... We finally get a call that went something like this, "Sorry we're late. The LB broke down and while we were out a car on the highway side swiped the damn thing and took the passenger door off."
"Yes, the passenger door is missing, but none of us are hurt and the driver fixed the engine so we're on our way."
This was the first indication that we had made a serious mistake in agreeing to this LB.
But wait, it gets better.
So they finally get to my house, my mom takes pictures while trying not to laugh about the missing door. We get in, embarrassed out of our minds that we need to show up in the dented, broken bus and we're on our way.
Now this is were the story gets even crazier.
We're 30 minutes from the prom hotel and the damn piece of crap bus breaks down again. We pull into a gas station and the driver opens the hood, steam is billowing out of the engine.
A couple of Mexicans (dressed in cover-alls, spattered in house paint stains) come over and help the driver putter with the engine while me and my girl friends glare at our dates wishing the LB idea had never been offered.
After a few minutes my best friend's date runs over and says, "Come on, we have a ride."
Being teenagers none of us asked who had offered the ride, we were just happy we'd finally be on our way to the prom.
My BF's date leads us to a white work van, loaded with ladders and stained with paint.
"What the f---- is this, my BF yells."
This, was the Mexican's work van and they were willing to take us to the prom for twenty bucks.
Again, being stupid teenagers and living in a world before cell phones, we (we is the guys) decided to take the "nice gentleman" up on their offer.
I being the only one with money, had to pay them. Who sends their kids to prom without money? Jeesh!
We stuff ourselves, ball gowns and all into this smelly, seatless work van, sitting on empty paint cans and wadded up tarps and we're on our way.
10 minutes from the hotel, the Mexicans start yelling at each other in Spanish and continue this tirade until they reach the entrance to the hotel parking lot. We're all sure (the girls that is, the guys thought it was funny. Idiots) that they're going to murder us, cut us into little peices and dump us on the ramp leading to the hotel entrance, but the argument was about money it turned out. They demanded another twenty before they let us out.
I ponied up another twenty, wondering why I had ever agreed to go to the prom with a guy who didn't carry any cash.
The Mexicans got out, opened the doors from the outside (did any of us teenage idiots think there was something wrong riding in a van that's doors only opened from the outside? Of course not! Wer're stupid teenagers)
So we're finally home free.
The side door opens, and as my date is exiting the van, he trips into the Mexican who's holding a slurpy and the entire bright red drink spills all over his white tux!
Very long story short (too late) we entered the prom, three scowling, pissed girls (My BF had white paint smudges on her fuscia gown, I had snagged the tulle of mine in six places, my other friend had grease stains on her arm and dress) on the arms of three morons, one of which looked as if he'd been working at a slaughter house all evening.
We were the talk of the prom...and not in a good way.
It was awful and I promise you, cross my heart, hope to die, this story is 100% true.
Sorry for the long winded tale, but you asked for it! LOL
Luved the post ladies.
Have a wonderful, rainy, productive day,

Cyrano said...

OMG, I just realized I wrote a friggin novel. Sooo sorry ladies.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Oh my! I bet you could tell some tales!

Debbie Kaufman said...

No worries. We asked for you guys to share your stories. I'm so happy you didn't end up in a ditch, the victim of serial killers. But, boy, what self-control you had to NOT strangle your date. Promise me you dumped him quickly!

Betsey said...

Bill/MIT/Technology never fails. Yep, I can so see it-and you can tell Bill I said so. I've always thought some MIT and medical school graduates are sometimes too smart for their own good.

Hilarious! Glad you had a fun weekend-you deserve it!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi, Betsey! Thanks for stopping by.

You would know! ;) Both our guys can be too big for their britches at times, LOL. Of course, where would we be without our favorite geeks?

It was a blast. We bid on some of the properties later, but they all went over our max at auction.

Maxine Davis said...

Debbie & Sandy,

Loved the blog!! It was so funny! I think it brings memories to mind for just about everyone. You know the kind - the ones that are funny NOW, but at the time...

What is it about men and "knowing the way?" I say turn, the map says turn, the GPS says turn, but no-o-o-o.

Sounds like a great day overall and you can't beat being with friends.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Believe me, if Yoda voice says turn, my darling is likely to try it!

J Perry Stone said...

Why is EVERY husband like that? Is it the testosterone? It HAS to be the testosterone.

I wish you video-taped the entire thing. We could watch it for movie night at M&M!

As for a memorable road trip, we once took a flight from Dubai (!) in the middle of the night to go to England. No sleep, grumpy kids and then we rented a car.

They gave us a matchbox instead. We had to pile the luggage in so high, we couldn't see out of the back window.

So after trying to navigate our way out of London--driving on the opposite side of the road and in a flippin' stick shift (which you shift with your LEFT hand. HORROR), we were on our way to Bath.

But then we got yelled at for crawling in the fast lane. The other driver did a very rude pumping gesture with his fist as though *that* was the reason for our lack of speed.

Ever been so delirious, everything is hysterical? I have NEVER laughed so hard in my life.

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi all, I was gone for a few hours, but I'm back, now.

Maxine, I think the thing with men "knowing the way" is that they want to lead...and want us to follow or at lest keep our mouth shut for the ride. It's ego!!

Tamara: I loved your story!! It was LOL funny and definitely should end up in a book one of these days.

Michelle: Did you have that book about offroading in California where they rated the roads/trails with something like easy, Medium or rough? I'm sure we were on some of the same ones. The one I mentioned where he got out to look over the edge before careening over the top was in northern Calif. I felt like kissing the ground when we got back to camp.

CiCi: Lady, how can you sleep?!!! I'd rather look death in the eye, not let him take me by surprise. (g)

Thanks for dropping by ladies, glad you enjoyed the blog and that it brought back some good (???) memories.


Sandy Elzie said...


Whee, at least you made it home alive. What an experience!
Yes, people can really be rude sometimes. It's always better to laugh than return rude for rude.


Mary Marvella said...

Funny and so true! One day I'll share my road trip to San Antonio,Texas with 2 cats in a cat box, sleeping, 2 teens and a tween and a sick baby and 2 other adults, both of who begged for smoke breaks.

My BFF Pam V drove a big-ass van for me so I didn't count her in the above paragraph. She was a God-send!

I believe in potty breaks in a big way!

Christie Craig said...

I love this. Men are so alike.

I recently blogged about my own car/hubby driving experience at Killer Fiction.

Thank so much for the laugh.

Christie Craig

Sandy Elzie said...


Wow, lady, sounds like you needed a couple stiff drinks when you got to cattle country.


Thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed the blog today. Yes, men due tend to react the same, but then, I guess we ladies do as well.


Sandy Elzie said...

I have it on good authority...straight from the person in question via e-mail
that an editor read the site this morning and spit iced coffee all over her keyboard.

Yes, men were the first to head west, leaving their ladies in eastern towns while they scouted out the terraine, so I guess it's in their blood to forge the way through the winderness of life. Our job, I guess, is to say "yes dear" every so often, smile, then close our eyes and pray we reach our destination or get home safely. (g)


Debbie Kaufman said...

I just popped over to Christie's blog and it is totally hysterical. Personally, her husband should be thankful she's restrained in her writing about her adventure. Sandy and I would have made a lot more out of the "titty bar" incident.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Julianne: Traveling in a foreign country never fails to bring me well past the brink of adventure! My taxi driver actually hit a bicyclist on the way to the airport in Wuhan, China. Never even slowed down. Not even a little.

Mary: Thank God for sane friends on the trip ;)

J Perry Stone said...

Debbie, what the hell??? Did you stare out the back window to see if s/he was okay?


Debbie Kaufman said...

My driver suddenly understood no English and seemed totally uninterested in my pantomine. The cyclist was helped up and standing on their own before we were out of sight. Go figure!

Susan May said...

Great post ladies. Very funny. One of the loudest fights my husband I have ever had was because of directions. My mother in law was there to hear it all. Not all maps are created equal.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thanks Susan:
Directions are one of the few things that make me want to go off on my dear, darling hubby. I restrain myself, usually.

EC Spurlock said...

Oh, Sandy, wonderful post! Reminded me of some of the trips I took with my genealogist husband through the backroads of Tennessee and Kentucky looking for obscure family cemetaries. We spent a lot of time on narrow mountain roads, fording streams that didn't even HAVE bridges in our little Civic with our son in his car seat in the back. The one that most sticks in my memory was the time we were out in the middle of nowhere and ended up surrounded by tornadoes. We were unscathed, but I do remember driving about five miles down a one-lane mountain road with a cliff on one side and a sheer drop on the other -- and then having to drive backwards the same five miles back to the main road because there were live power lines down across the road and not enough room to turn the car around. And don't even get me started about the Blizzard of '93, which caught us in the Smoky Mountains on the way to Gatlinburg. We were driving in zero visibility on roads we weren't aware had been officially closed hours before -- and got there just in time for the power to go out in our hotel and force an evacuation.

Luckily my husband is one of those with the inborn GPS in his brain. He can navigate us out of anywhere, even places he's never been before! I've learned better than to ever question his sense of direction.

Sandy Elzie said...


Wow, you are one brave lady. I enjoyed the Sunday afternoon drive up a dirt road to ??? for a picnic and overlooking the mountains, but when it started rocking us around going over big rocks and huge ruts, that's where I started questioning my sanity for agreeing to go along with him. Hubby actually went on some Yukon-type trips with the guys that I was very happy to stay home from. Rubicon (probably spelled wrong) was one of his favorite...they made pancake batter in a (new and somewhat clean) 55-gal garbage can using a row oar to stir it. Yeah, right...sounded like a ton of fun to me.

Thanks for stopping by.


Anna Steffl said...

I read this yesterday morning and didn't have a chance to say how much I enjoyed it!

Linsey Lanier said...

I’m chiming in late, but this hysterical post brightened my day.

Correction. Men NEED directions, they just don’t TAKE them. As attested above. I really related to the potty break part.

Sandy and Debbie, your post was a hoot.

Still laughing,


Tami Brothers said...

Thanks for the laugh, ladies!!! Loved it!