Readers recall the lessons, friendships, and misadventures they encountered on the roads from Provo.
Mi Casa Es . . . ?
Jonathan A. Abramson, ’89, Stafford, Va.
As a freshman in the fall of 1982, I experienced a most memorable week-long road trip to California as a member of the BYU men’s varsity soccer team. At the time, the soccer program did not have money for airfare or even hotels, so we drove ourselves in two large vans and stayed in Church members’ homes. I remember driving down San Francisco’s steep and winding Lombard Street in a 15-passenger van. I had no choice but to follow the lead vehicle and traverse the street very slowly.
Staying the night at members’ homes had its interesting moments, such as being awakened early in the morning by three staring little kids who were wondering who the big stranger was in their home. But you couldn’t beat the home-cooked meals and cozy atmosphere that came with it.
One funny moment stands out. We had just lost a tough match to Stanford, and my teammate Garth V. Baker, ’83, and I arrived for our evening’s stay at a member family’s house. The father, a local bishop, was just going out for the evening, leaving us alone in the house. The last thing he told us was that his house was our house and to make ourselves at home. Garth took the bishop at his word. He made some calls and got hold of a couple of girls from the local singles ward. The girls came over and we had a lot of fun talking and playing games until the bishop came home and ended our evening abruptly.
Regardless of that mishap, the friendships that were forged and the memories of that trip still linger with me and provide a smile now and then.
An Exotic Adventure in Provo
Wendy D. Simmerman, ’02, Provo
As my freshman year drew to a close, my good friend Kathleen and I convinced ourselves that we had endured unimaginable stress over the past semester. We decided that a relaxing getaway was just what we needed. We loudly proclaimed to roommates, boyfriends, and classmates our plan to escape into luxurious oblivion the following weekend. Getting far, far away from BYU was just what we needed.
There were a couple of pressing problems—one, we had no money, and two, we had no transportation. Undaunted, we called local five-star hotels and resorts, plotting ways to both afford and get to our destinations. No luck. The day we were supposed to leave, we still didn’t know where we were going. Worse, our roommates were beginning to suspect that we were all talk. Desperate, we pooled our money: $29.50, plus a brand new credit card. The only place we could afford was Motel 6, down by the freeway in south Provo, conveniently located near a bus stop.
Needless to say, the room smelled like dogs, the cable TV had fewer channels than our dorm room, and the cheap pizza was cold. We called all our friends, assuring them that we were having a wonderful, relaxing time in our luxury getaway. Out of sheer boredom, we were in bed by 10 p.m.
Though checkout was at noon, we were gone by 8 a.m. We hid out on campus for a few hours before returning to our skeptical roommates to assure them of the terrifically invigorating time we had enjoyed. For some reason they weren’t convinced. Ironically, our secret getaway provided the most sleep I ever had during finals week.
A Chilling Memory
W. Brett Cherry, ’98, Rochester, Minn.
My most memorable road trip transpired during my second semester at BYU. The winter of ’93 was particularly brutal. Provo eventually defrosted and the newly cleared roads beckoned with their siren call of better times. Several of us from Southern California hadn’t been properly introduced to the wonders of Southern Utah. Because my friends assured me that there was plenty of sleeping gear to go around, I decided to take only my high-quality, dorm-issue blanket for extra warmth.
After arriving in Moab, Utah, we hiked around a bit, enjoying the warm weather. However, once the sunset had faded and everyone pulled out sleeping bags, I realized that if this had been musical chairs, I would have been the last one standing. Clutching my blanket, I cursed my luck. I could only hunker down on slickrock under my woefully inadequate excuse for a sleeping bag and hope that the North Face fairy would visit me during the night. Intermittently, one of my more thoughtful friends would call out and inquire if I was still alive. As others slept, my eyes were glued on the rotating constellations, silently willing them to move faster. Finally, after perhaps the longest night of my life, dawn arrived. I have never been so happy to see the sun. When the first rays appeared, I sprinted toward the light. Although exhausted after my ordeal, I managed to enjoy Arches the next day. I took several fun road trips during college, but whenever I think back to my freshman trip to southern Utah, I still get the chills.
3E and Me
Mark H. Jasinski, ’74, Puyallup, Wash.
At the end of the spring semester of my senior year, 1971, I got a call from Lawrence W. Sardoni, ’35, professor of music and my violin teacher. He asked if I would be interested in going on a trip to southern Utah with some of the music faculty. Every year after graduation, the Eccentric Eclectic Explorers Club (3E Club), consisting Professors Sardoni, David J. Dalton, and Paul C. Pollei left town as soon as possible for some backcountry touring, photography, and gourmet eating. My car was a 1960 4WD International Harvester Scout. With high ground clearance; detachable hard top, windshield, and doors; and a bonus set of super-low gears, it went where few vehicles had gone before. I jumped at the chance to give it a good workout.
The professors actually wore their camping gear under their commencement robes. We left as soon as they disposed of the caps and gowns. Professor Sardoni drove his camper pickup truck (our headquarters and chef’s kitchen) and I followed in the Scout.
Our first major challenge was Elephant’s Hill at Canyonlands. We watched several vehicles attempt the hill—some succeeding, some failing, and some breaking down. After many adrenaline moments, we reached the top, but on viewing the “road” down the other side, the intrepid professors got out of the Scout and insisted on hiking down while I drove. We spent several days exploring areas such as the Grabbens, the Needles, and Paul Bunyan’s Potty. We also visited Arches, Natural Bridges, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley, and Hovenweep. Every place gave us plenty of opportunities to test our photographic skills.
In the evenings Professor Sardoni prepared tasty treats like Swedish poached eggs, fried chicken, and steak. For lunch he made the best hobo sandwiches!
We returned to Provo a week later with great photos, tans, and memories. I’ve always wondered why an undergraduate music student was invited on the annual 3E Club trip. Was it my brilliant conversation, my photographic expertise, or perhaps the 4WD Scout?
Keeper of the Keys
Abigail Farnsworth Schlag, ’99, Athens, Ga.
My roommates, some other friends, and I decided to take a weekend trip to Manti, Utah, to see the Mormon Miracle Pageant and to explore some of the beautiful canyons of Southern Utah. The pageant was on Friday night, and we would spend the night in Richfield at my aunt and uncle’s home. The next day, we would explore Bryce Canyon and return home that night so that we could attend church the next day.
There were enough people going that we needed to take two cars to fit us all—my roommate Kathy drove one of them. She assigned me the task of hanging on to her extra set of keys in case hers were locked in the car or lost.
We set off on Friday, had a wonderful time at the pageant, and were awed by the beauty of Bryce Canyon the next day. On our way back to Provo, we stopped in Richfield to get gas. The snacks were in Kathy’s trunk, so I asked for her keys so that we could feast on the way home. We filled up the cars and headed back to Provo.
When we got back to our apartment, Kathy had yet to return, but there was a message on our answering machine from her. My first panicked thought was that she had been in an accident. However, her first statement was, “Ummm, Abby, can you check your pockets?” My hands flew to my pockets and, with a gasp, I pulled out two sets of her keys! I had left Kathy stranded at the gas station in Richfield without her car keys! A moment later, my highly amused roommate and I jumped in the car and headed back to Richfield to rescue Kathy. Needless to say, it took her a while to trust me with her keys again. So much for being the keeper of the keys.
Samuel Kyle Baxter, ’04, Woodinville, Wash.
It was February 2002. I was dating my soon-to-be wife, Lisa, who played for the BYU women’s basketball team. They were in Colorado that weekend playing Colorado State. I was sitting at my apartment when Lisa’s roommate showed up asking if I wanted to go on a road trip to see Lisa play. Colorado State was a big game, and we thought it would be fun to surprise her. The night we left, I had my roommates tell Lisa that I went night skiing and would call her the next day.
We recruited one of my roommates and were off. We hit Price Canyon and we were in the worst snowstorm I had ever seen. But even that was nothing compared to the blizzard we found awaiting us in Vail, Colo. As I watched my roommate driving, I noticed he kept glancing at a movie we had playing on his computer. Although I was glad to see he was being entertained, I began to fear for my life. I insisted on driving, and after we made it through what seemed like a thousand miles of fear, everything cleared. We got out of the car and saw the most beautiful star-filled sky I had ever seen.
We arrived at the game the next day and stood up to cheer as BYU was warming up. Lisa looked over, and I have never seen someone more surprised in my entire life. Oh, the stupid things we do when we are in love.
Taking a Long-Cut
Marianne Hansen Rencher, ’97, Glen Oaks, N.Y.
Laura was moving to Boston, and I needed a break from Provo, so we packed up her blue Mazda with all her possessions, a tent, and two sleeping bags. Too bad we didn’t pack a list of campsites along our way.
Somewhere east of Denver, we realized we were tired and started looking for campgrounds. Becoming too exhausted to think, we decided a rest area would have to do and parked. I cannot sleep in a chair set at a 90-degree angle, so I plopped down a sleeping bag on the grass in front of the car. It was pleasant enough until the sprinkler system went off at 4 a.m.
Being intelligent college students, we realized camping along I-80 wasn’t going to work. So we made a list of everyone we had addresses for and beelined it to Laura’s relatives’ home in Michigan. We figured we were still going east, even though we were doing it in an extreme northerly direction.
Driving through Canada seemed the next natural step. Unfortunately, we didn’t consult our list of possible hosts and ended up having to sleep in a park near Cornwall, Ont. Around 3 a.m. a neighborly police officer informed us that we had an hour to leave or he would fine us.
When we arrived in the Catskill Mountains in the early evening of the next day, we saw our first sign for a campsite. We were so excited that we pulled over, set up camp, and sat around, giggling at our good fortune. We were so overcome with our success that we drove all the way to Connecticut to go camping again.
Our trip was very long but very educational. I learned that sprinklers go off at 4 a.m. in Colorado rest stops; that, just like in the United States, people are not allowed to sleep in public parks in Canada; and that finding a campground does not justify driving from New York to Connecticut when your destination is Boston. A very enlightening trip overall.
A Thrilling Disneyland Ride
Laurel Stowe Brady, ’86, Mapleton, Utah
Thanksgiving 1976. Disneyland beckoned. Choosing the Ride Board over Deseret Travel, little did we know that for our $15 round trip, we’d get a ride scarier than any E-ticket adventure Disneyland could offer.
My roommate Marieda and I met our “ride” at Carson’s Market along with a crowd of other miserly BYU kids clutching pillows and sleeping bags. We heard the truck before we saw it—a rattly, 1940s vintage box truck without a scrap of paint left on it. The driver’s name was Eldon, and 20 of us were riding to L.A. as cargo. As he shut the doors, Eldon yelled, “If you get carsick, whatever you do, don’t throw up. ’Cause if one of you throws up, you’re all going to want to.” On that cheery note, he chained the back doors shut, and we were off.
The truck’s swaying should have been soothing as we huddled shivering in our sleeping bags, but midnight, we were chilled to the core. Marieda and I took a turn riding in the truck’s cab, which was warmer but more surreal. Like an axe murderer, Eldon kept the lone door handle in his pocket. At one stop, some kind of giant bird perched on the droppings-streaked dash. At a truck stop, Eldon confiscated a slab of yolky hashbrowns and jelly from a restaurant customer’s abandoned plate.
Sometime after dawn the truck stopped abruptly. We heard two pops, then the doors opened. “This will keep you warm,” Eldon yelled, throwing a coyote he’d just shot into the truck. Stupefied, we stared at each other as the dead coyote bled on our suitcases.
Marieda’s parents didn’t believe us when we recounted the ride. But what they really didn’t believe was that we actually rode back with the guy. Some people will do anything to save a buck.
Emily Taye Nolte, ’02, Orem, Utah
Our goal was to get to Boise in five hours. Melanie Wall Messerly, ’03, drove her tiny, two-door 1980s Tercel. Somehow we got our unlikely backseat passengers—Jenny Ikinokotta Sato, ’03, a wheelchair user, and Mel’s 90-year-old grandma, Alberta Mendenhall Hoover, ’32—over the front seats and situated.
Halfway we heard a “ka-thunk, ka-thunk.” Mel and I climbed out in the dark to investigate. A flat. We laughed at our luck as the December wind blustered around us. Semis barreled over the crest of a hill alongside us. We leaned in to reassure our stranded backseaters. Our trunk had been tediously packed to within 3 cubic inches of capacity. Unloading it got increasingly funny as the pile of wheelchair parts, suitcases, backpacks, and Christmas presents grew to 3 feet.
now, we were an hour behind schedule, and we’d hoped to arrive 10 p.m.
There weren’t any towns big enough or close enough where we could buy a new tire. We thanked the man who’d stopped to help us giving him a half-eaten pack of Hostess rolls. But now we were “not to exceed 50 mph” the rest of the way.
Watching sagebrush is pretty monotonous during the day, but at night and at 50 mph, it’s even worse. Our only CD was a kooky mix of pseudo-Christmas songs. I couldn’t have changed it anyway, with my viola straddled between legs and my arms perched atop a wheelchair wheel. (I think around 2 a.m. I began to have delusions that the sagebrush weeds were my friends. We’d just finished finals, so that was understandable.)
Mel was the only one who could drive a stick, but after 11 hours and with 50 miles left to go, she begged me to take over. The adrenaline rush I got from being coached how to drive on a freeway at 2 a.m. kept me mostly awake until we arrived.
A little after 3 a.m. we finally tooled into Boise. Being of pioneer stock, Grandma Hoover climbed out without complaint. Jenny thanked us for the ride. I think we had listened to the “Song of the Elves” 13 times.
Exploring the South
Trevor R. Jones, ’02, Phoenix, Ariz.
Toward the end of winter semester a few years ago, my roommate Chad E. Funk, ’02, and I were studying in the infamous periodicals section of the library when two of our FHE sisters decided to sit and study at our table. Spring fever filled the air—we couldn’t wait to finish finals and leave town. The girls mentioned that they were heading to South Carolina, as one of them had a new car that she needed to drive back to Utah. Random ideas quickly became reality as Chad and I mentioned we had never been to South Carolina (we had grown up together in Santa Rosa, Calif.). Soon enough, it was set—we would fly one-way to South Carolina and drive the new Honda Civic and the four of us back to Provo.
Chad and I searched online and found cheap one-way tickets to South Carolina. When we arrived, we had our first experience of the warm Atlantic Ocean. After a few days, it was time to pile into the small four-door and begin the trip. Chad and I had basically been hired the girl’s parents to make sure we all got back alive. The route, however, had not been predetermined, and Chad and I were interested in exploring the South. How many chances does one get to drive through Mobile, Ala., and Shreveport, La.?
Initially we were all over the map, heading to Tennessee to visit some grandparents and spending a day in Atlanta. Our must-see was New Orleans, so we spent a Friday night walking Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The shrimp gumbo was excellent; watching the reaction of our FHE sisters as we walked the streets was priceless. We quickly understood the French Quarter’s reputation for the unusual.
Every time we crossed a state border, we pulled the car over and took a picture the “Welcome to” sign. Cars would honk at us. Initially we thought they were waving, but we later realized they were kindly informing us of our stupidity.
As the journey progressed, we entered the western deserts of Texas and patience began to wear thin. No matter how many different CDs we played, they all sounded the same. We arrived in Amarillo, Texas, late on Saturday morning to the tunes of “Amarillo Morning.” After Sacrament meeting the next morning, we realized the quicker we left town the better. However, we left a little too quickly, as one of the girls was pulled over the highway patrol about 20 miles outside of Amarillo. Chad and I were just grateful we weren’t driving.
Believe it or not, we decided to forego the pit stop in Lake Powell and drive straight through from Amarillo to Provo. All in all, we had a blast and made some lifelong memories. Our road trip took us through 14 states, showed us the Deep South, and made us very grateful to be back in Happy Valley.
Rocky Point Road Trip
Debbie Wheeler Olson, ’91, Castle Rock, Colo.
In was an especially hot August in Arizona, but none of us—not I, my husband, nor our friends—was ready to face fall semester. Wringing the last moments from summer, we escaped to the nearest beach—only four hours and one border crossing away.
Cruising south through cacti-filled arroyos, we slowed for dusty pueblos. Shrines, overflowing with fake flowers for favorite saints, marked the miles. But Puerto Pe–asco, or Rocky Point, Mexico, made a disappointing first impression: desert island still attached to the mainland, with plenty of, well, rocks.
We parked our cars, tossed sleeping bags onto the beach, and plunged into the waves to cool ourselves. The ocean was a bathtub filled with Epsom—warm and salty. Still, it beat the heat, so we splashed and swam until the sun dipped beyond the curve of the water.
We dined that night at a restaurant with a mermaid logo, feasting on nachos sprinkled with crumbled cheese and guzzling cold Sprite from glass bottles. A trio strummed guitars. We offered an off-key rendition of “La Bamba,” but they earned the bigger tip.
A brightly lit basketball court, swarming with players, beckoned to my husband and friends. As they played, we shared cookies with the spectators. Small children nodded patiently as we spoke a few words of Spanish.
Later we ascended jagged hills ringing the Sea of Cortez, interrupting the stillness sending bottle rockets spiraling into the ocean. On the beach, we sank into our sleeping bags, swatting mosquitoes until the tide lulled us asleep.
Morning found us snorkeling along the rough shore of an inlet, trailing glittering fish as cool water skimmed our backs. Too soon we’d return to routine—papers, exams, and devotionals—but for now, it was still summer; still sand, sea, sky, and of course, rocks.
Freedom at Last
Nicole Broadbent Heywood, ’00, Mesa, Ariz.
I had spent almost three years at BYU without a car. Luckily, near the end of winter semester, my parents purchased a car to be used the following spring and summer terms until I left on my mission.
In April 1996, when winter semester finally ended, we had 10 days free from homework until spring term, and I had a car! Many friends were going home for the summer, while others were getting married or leaving on missions. Knowing our college days might never be the same again, we wanted to make the most of our break.
One group of friends had invited us to Lake Powell for a few days. My roommate Julia and I jumped into my little car and met them for a fun time of camping, water-skiing, and swimming in the land of red rock and clear blue water. Then we sprang back into my car and drove to San Diego, where another group of friends had congregated for a mission farewell of one of our roommates. We spent our time together under the sun playing in the ocean. From San Diego we picked up two more friends and headed to Phoenix for the wedding of yet another roommate. After all the fun, the four of us drove north to Utah just in time for classes to start again.
While we were gone from Provo those 10 days, the trees had changed from cold and bare to thick and green and in full bloom. The mountains were new and revived, just like our spirits, which were now ready for a new semester. Even though our lives were changing, we made memories to last forever. Thanks for the car, Mom and Dad!
A “One-Day” Trip
Terrence Q. Hicken, ’79, Sierra Madre, Calif.
It was a beautiful Saturday in November 1976, and the football team was playing an away game, so my roommate Gary, who is also my cousin, and I made plans to go to Roosevelt, Utah, to pick up a car that my brother had left at my uncle’s farm before he went back to California. I needed transportation, and my brother told me I could use his car if I could get it running. We got up early, said a little prayer asking for a safe trip, and left, figuring we would be able to get the car, tow it back to Provo, and be home before dark.
It was an uneventful drive out to the farm, where we picked up the car, talked to my aunt for a few minutes, and then headed back to Provo. Gary’s car was a ’53 Chevy; my brother’s a ’65 Plymouth. The towing went so well, we couldn’t even tell we were towing another vehicle.
We had gone about 10 miles past Duchesne, Utah, when we heard a loud “pop” coming from under the hood of Gary’s car and a large plume of steam erupted from around the seams in the hood. We pulled the car over to see what had happened. We were able to determine that the front soft plug had given out and needed to be replaced. We were far from the town and it was after 5 p.m. We didn’t have any way to the town, so we decided to sleep in the car and get some help in the morning. As it got darker the temperature got colder, and so did we, since we had planned to be home evening and had worn only light clothing.
Every hour seemed like an eternity. Around 10 I heard a car stop on the road. When I looked out of the frosted car windows, I could see a car backing up to our car. I woke Gary up, and we both jumped out of the car and raced over to the other car. The driver told us that he and his family were on their way back from Salt Lake City to Duchesne, where, it turned out, he owned an auto-parts shop. He dropped us off at a hotel in town, took his family home, then went to his shop and got the part he thought we needed to fix Gary’s car. When he brought us the part, he told us that the only reason he had stopped on the road was because he thought it was the car of one of his employees, who also owns a ’53 Chevy. He also told us that his shop was not open on Sundays.
The next morning after breakfast we hitched a ride with a trucker who told us that he never picked up hitchhikers, but something made him stop for us. When we tried to put the new soft plug in the car, it turned out to be the wrong part. Gary, resourceful as usual, took out the old part, and with a hammer beat the soft plug in the middle to stretch it a little, and then put it back in. We got water from the Strawberry Reservoir and checked to see if it would hold the water, which it did. We were able to drive back to Duchense to the home of our good Samaritan, the owner of the auto-parts store. He again went to the store, found the right part, and gave it to us at no cost. We put it in the car and headed for home.
I was sure the rest of the trip would pass without any more problems. This was the case, until we started going down Daniel’s Creek Canyon. The Plymouth, being heavier than the Chevy, started pushing our car down the hill. It started to go sideways on the road, and the cliff side loomed large. When I looked at Gary, who was driving, I could see he was turning white, as I’m sure I was. When he turned the steering wheel to the left, the Plymouth would pull to the right; when he turned the wheel to the right, it would go left. I was holding on to the edge of my seat, hoping it would somehow help if we went over the cliff. We were all over the road, but after a few long and terrifying minutes Gary got the cars under control, and we made it out of the canyon safely.
It was a miracle to us that he was able to gain control of the cars and that there weren’t any cars coming up the opposite side of the road from Heber. We stopped at my grandparents’ home in Heber and told them of our eventful trip. My grandfather told us that a lot of accidents happen on Daniel’s Creek because of the steepness of the road and that we were blessed and protected to make it down safely. We said our good-byes and headed back to our boring lives on campus. I was relieved that our “one-day” road trip was coming to an end, and I was happy to have a set of wheels to use at school and an experience with my cousin to remember.
Quincy P. Sorensen, ’99, Madison, Ala.
We—almost 20 other BYU Writing Center tutors and I—were on our way to sunny California to meet Bob Barker and win a boat or a car or a trip to Switzerland. We packed into a mammoth, navy blue BYU van and headed for Los Angeles. It was the week between winter semester and spring term in April 1998.
Our tickets had arrived, and we were to appear in the studio audience of my favorite television game show—The Price Is Right. We passed the hours driving in important conversation: strategy. We were prepared for any game, from Plinko to the Showcase Showdown.
After an overnight stay in St. George, Utah, we drove to Las Vegas, where we breakfasted at a casino. Our group donned matching T-shirts; one of our computer-savvy tutors had downloaded The Price Is Right logo and changed the text to read, “The Price Is Write,” with “The BYU Writing Center Loves Bob Barker” underneath. (And I might add that Bob loved us . . . and our shirts.)
When our day of fame and fortune arrived, we spent hours standing in hot lines, trying to catch Somebody Important’s attention. When we were asked to state our names and something about ourselves, everyone tried to be original and clever. (I was no exception.) Finally, we were seated in The Price Is Right studio audience. Hoping to get on television, I did my share of jumping and yelling. But, in the end, Caitlin, the Writing Center secretary, was the only person in our group to make it to Contestant Row. Caitlin won some china, and the rest of us did a great job cheering for her.
But the vacation was well spent. We had an incredible time. We attended a Cubs/Dodgers game, walked the Los Angeles California Temple grounds, swam at the beach in Santa Monica, shopped in old town Pasadena, and stayed up late at night playing cards.
I didn’t get rich, but my memories of our road trip are priceless.
Kendra Geddes Seymour, ’03, San Jose, Calif.
I was one of the newcomers to the Seymour rattlesnake camping trip in the Sierra Nevada, which was a tradition in my husband’s family for more than 50 years. If anxiety about poisonous snakes wasn’t enough, the trip began Thursday with hail at the trailhead. While we waited for the hail to stop, at least 30 crickets escaped and were crawling throughout the van. After hiking the 7 miles, I arrived at camp with cold, wet, shriveled feet. Luckily, we set up our tent before it got dark and enjoyed eating a fire-grilled steak.
Surrounded the majestic beauty of nature, I was reminded of how much I love camping. The peace and tranquility I felt belied the adventures that I would remember forever. Saturday, we hiked 2 miles to the pools to go fishing; not only did we get lost, but my husband’s second cousin was scraped on his left leg the fangs of a rather large rattlesnake that hid in a small horizontal crack in a boulder that we had closely walked past. After returning to camp, we were told that a 10-year-old boy with autism was missing. Luckily, after many hours of searching the Sierras, his uncle found him walking in a meadow just before dark.
I thought the adventures of the recruiting trip were over when we left the mountains. However, that was far from the truth. We ran out of gas in Nevada and were pulled over a cop for speeding. But the clincher of it all is that we were sick for weeks with giardia. Next year we’ll see if these unexpected events hampered the success of the recruiting trip.
Emily Trimble Cushing, ’98, South Jordan, Utah
My husband and I, along with our two small children spent one year in Germany on a work study program with one of my husband’s best friends, his wife, and their little boy. Two days after Christmas we were sitting around when I half-jokingly said, “Let’s drive to Paris for New Year’s.” Within an hour we had our bags, strollers, and kids packed in our 1984 Volkswagen Bug for a European road trip with our friends.
We spent a few days in Luxembourg, and then on New Year’s Eve we drove eight hours to Paris. After parking on the outskirts of town, our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral. The music inside the cathedral was spectacular and we all agreed that we were very glad we came.
Unfortunately, this feeling changed as soon as midnight struck. With all of the noise around us, our 2-year-old son became frightened and wet his pants while riding on my husband’s shoulders. Another disappointment came with the Eiffel Tower’s firework show. We had all anticipated that it would be one of the world’s greatest shows. Instead, it appeared as though it consisted of only a few bottle rockets. We headed underground to catch the subway system, which we had been told would run two hours longer than its normal midnight closure. For about two and a half hours we, along with hundreds of others, sat waiting for a train to stop. Many empty trains passed, but none ever stopped. We finally went back up on the street and walked for what seemed to be miles while trying to hail a taxi to take us to our cars. My husband’s friend finally had the idea to go into a hotel and have them call a cab for us.
At 6 in the morning we all stumbled into our hotel just as they were setting out the Continental breakfast. We ate, went to our rooms and slept for a few hours, woke up, ate the Continental breakfast again for lunch, and drove back to Germany. Thank goodness the rest of our year turned out much better than its beginning.
Jennifer Hammond Goodman, ’88, Corona, Calif.
On an early spring Saturday morning in 1986 my friends and I decided to climb to the Y. Sitting at the Y, eating our packed lunches, and enjoying the beautiful view of the valley around us, we got an idea to drive to St. George, Utah, so we could be somewhere warm to lay out and get some sun on our winter-white bodies. We ran down the mountain and threw our stuff together. My stuff included a typewriter so that I could type a paper that was due Monday at 9 a.m. The paper was finished, just not typed.
Just south of Levan, Utah, our driver discovered she really needed to use the bathroom. There weren’t any restrooms until just before Fillmore, Utah, so she began driving really fast out of desperation. As we neared an exit where there was a gas station, the famous Fillmore police appeared. She kept driving to the off-ramp and, as we came to the stop sign, she jumped out of the car to run and tell the nice policeman that she had to get to the bathroom first.
At the gas station, we discovered that she had forgotten her driver’s license, which added $50 to the already-expensive speeding ticket. We stayed at the Motel 6 in St. George, and I typed. The next day we sat out the pool for a few hours. Our driver had a family friend in Cedar City, where we had dinner on our way back to Provo. After dinner, the car (a 1966 Mustang) wouldn’t start. Since there were no repair shops open on Sunday, we had to spend the night again. I had to sheepishly call my professor to explain why my paper would be late.
Despite all of the “speed bumps,” we had a fabulous time laughing and singing on our crazy, unforgettable road trip.
From City to Country
Shirley Harrison Miles, ’73, Auburn, Wash.
It was an early fall Saturday morning—too early for BYU coeds to arise and embark on a road trip—but we assembled together anyway in anticipation of a great horseback-riding adventure. One of the guys in our home evening group had invited the whole group to spend the day horseback riding in northeastern Utah.
Our caravan of vehicles traveled down the highway, staying close together so as not to lose anyone on the way. Aside from the drivers, most of us continued our previous night’s sleep until we arrived at our destination. Although the day was overcast, the colors of fall were evident in the countryside. Born and bred a city girl, I quickly embraced the peace and serenity of being in the country.
After appropriate introductions to our host’s family, we headed for the horses. Since this was my first time riding a horse, a tame, well-trained one was selected for me. After some brief handling instructions, we were on our way. We rode for several hours on the various trails and back roads. the time it was time to leave, I was feeling pretty confident on my trusty steed!
As we traveled back to BYU, my tired muscles reminded me of the great day I had spent in the country with my friends. We arrived at our apartment complex just in time to clean up and attend our evening stake conference session. I’ll always remember that great trip to the northeastern Utah countryside.
All in a Day’s Work
Julia Selden Ditto, ’01, Seattle, Wash.
I was a highly stressed-out novice reporter for the Daily Universe’s lifestyle section in the spring of ’97. One weekend, after frantically searching for a story idea so I could meet my deadline, my older brother suggested that I do a review of a play currently showing in Cedar City (which coincidentally starred a girl he was interested in). He, my roommate, and I jumped in his car and made the four-hour trek in time to see the evening showing, with a plan to return back to Provo right after the show ended. But the time the final curtain came down, I’d finished up my interviews, and my brother had flirted all he could, it was past midnight.
We decided to head home anyway, with my brother at the wheel and my roommate and I watching him nervously for any sign of fatigue. About 30 minutes into our drive, he yawned—just once!—and my roommate and I, with the cautions of our mothers ringing in our ears, demanded that he pull over so we could all get some sleep. Although he protested that he wasn’t tired, it was two against one, so we found a motel and charged it to my roommate’s “emergencies only” credit card. But when we finally got settled, we all just lay there in the dark, wide awake. Determined to get our money’s worth, we forced ourselves to get a few hours of sleep and started off for Provo again early in the morning, now with blurry contact lenses and empty stomachs—but no longer worried about falling asleep at the wheel.
Nikkie Garrison Benson, ’93, Sandy, Utah
I will always remember a road trip I took over Presidents’ Day weekend in 1993. Seven of us took two cars and started early in the morning on our way to Los Angeles. We lost track of each other part way through the trip and, because these were pre–cell phone days, we had no way of communicating. Our solution was to pull over and stand the side of the freeway until the other car came into sight. We did line dances, waved at cars, and got truckers to blow their horns as we waited. We have hilarious pictures to remind us of our craziness.
We made it to Los Angeles and stayed at the home of a friend, toured the “new” San Diego California Temple, and ate at a fancy restaurant. That night we drove to Mexico to stay at a friend’s beach house. We went dancing and drank virgin pi–a coladas and had fun flirting with the locals. As we drove out through Tijuana the next day, we had fun trying out our Spanish while we bought blankets and souvenirs.
The most memorable part of the trip, however, was the conversation. We talked about everything. In particular, I had a boy I was dating that I wasn’t very interested in; as we started talking about relationships, I realized that this boy had some really good qualities that maybe I should think twice about. I decided that when we got back I would give him a real chance instead of just thinking about how to get rid of him. We wound up getting engaged just one month later and have now been married for 11 years. That road trip gave me some awesome memories, “international” experience (I had never left the United States before this), and the opportunity to “meet” the man I would eventually marry.