Some of you may be aware of my spectacularly bad travel karma. It's bad. So bad, in fact, that people are actually afraid to travel with me. I've had jet fuel dumped on my gate-checked "carry-on" (thank you, DELTA), been boarded, un-boarded, re-boarded, and canceled more times than i can count - once because "it snowed and got on our planes," (again, thank you, DELTA - like it never snows in BOSTON) and had my seat re-assigned because a child exploded in it on the incoming flight.
Not just a seat in my row. But in my actual seat.
Now, I just got back from a week-long girls' trip to southern Utah which was part of my good friend Melissa's "Month of Love" (more on that later in another post). She's aware that I have displeased the travel gods, and she was apprehensive about traveling with me. I have to admit, with the exception of a couple of sketchy dudes we peeped at the Las Vegas airport, everything went remarkably well - and I don't really have any dreadful stories to tell. But I do have some Do's and Don'ts for you if you happen to find yourself in extreme southern Utah by way of Vegas. So without further ado :
1. DON'T : pick up anything in your Vegas hotel's minibar or snack bar unless you want to pay for it. Don't even touch it. BECAUSE THEY KNOW. And they will charge you for it, whether you've used it or not. For instance : I was fascinated by this witchcraft in a bottle called "Never Too Hungover" (sugar free AND gluten free!) so I moved it to a side table, snapped a picture, and put it back. It ended up on our bill. Sneaky, sneaky bastards. (I'm looking at YOU, Hard Rock).
2. DO - check out of your hotel, even when the hotel says you don't have to. Why? See item #1. Make sure you're only paying for the witchcraft you used - not for the stuff they THINK you used.
3. DO - Step away from the craps table, people. Death Valley, red rocks, mountains, canyons and wild donkeys await. WILD DONKEYS.
4. DO - get the Fry Sauce. If you stop into a gas station Burger King in a fit of desperation and the woman asks you if you want the Fry Sauce, the answer is YES - you absolutely do.
5. DON'T - schedule a trip that spans three time zones for the week after a "spring forward" time change, and that also requires a red-eye flight back to the east coast a week later with a 15 minute connection in Newark at 7 am. You simply won't recover. At the very least, schedule yourself an extra week off after you get back - because NAPS. Your body will demand them.
6. DO - bring your own coffee and filters. Especially if staying in a little town in Utah called Tropic (population 519). There is no coffee there in the off-season. I'm going to wager there is no good coffee there at all. Ever. There is also no pizza. And no discernible food. You will most likely have to drive about 15 miles north to find any semblance of coffee, and will likely end up spending $25 for instant mashed potatoes at the all-you-can-eat Cowboy Buffet in the local Best Western. Yes - it's as depressing as it sounds.
7. Also, ladies... DO NOT - under any circumstances - use the white wash cloths to remove your black mascara during your stay in Tropic. Don't do it. The stain police won't even bother to track you down. They'll just bill you for the damages, you thoughtless hussy trollops.
8. DO - make sure to nosh at Escobar's Mexican Restaurant in downtown Kanab, Utah. Like, every single day. Rosa will HOOK YOU UP.
9. DO - pass on the "coffee" and the attitude at Jakey Leigh's cafe in Kanab - although the bagels are probably the best in town. If it's coffee you're jonesing for, try the espresso bar inside Willow Canyon Outdoor. You won't be sorry. That girl can barista. While you're at it, pick up a stylish hat to ward off sunburn whilst huffing and puffing through national parks and movie sets.
10. Last but absolutely not least, DO - go to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at least once in your life. Take the tours. Volunteer. Walk some dogs. Scratch some piggie bellies. Chat up the horses. Do some hiking. These rocks and canyons have seen an incredible amount of history, and they have stories to tell. Accidentally happen upon a flock of wild turkeys doing... ahem... inappropriate things in public. Do some sleepovers with some amazing animals who deserve it. Stay on-site at one of the cabins, or reserve a spectacular RV site that overlooks part of the canyon. You'll be horrified at what humans are capable of doing to animals - and at the same time will have your faith in humanity restored by the amazing people who dedicate their lives to saving them all.