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The Largest Series of Suckfests I've Experienced

Let's start this journey with the worst work trip in history of work trips. Buckle up, this is a fun one and by fun, I mean a Series of Suckfests!

To paint the picture at the time I was young in my career, no children, and still slightly enjoying the travel. I believe that word "pollyanna" was used to describe me at this time of life. We will get more into my travel evolution later.

This trip had little promise at the start, my home base was Chicago, Ohare and I was flying to Portland in January. For some reason work booked me on an indirect flight from Chicago to Phoenix to Portland. Why this made the logical sense, still not sure. The trip into Portland, while long went off pretty well. Once I really got moving in Portland things started to go less smoothly.

The main part of the business meetings were taking place in Bend, OR which is breathtakingly beautiful if you are driving a large SUV to get over the mountain during a snowstorm, not so great in my tiny Toyota given to me by the rental company. Lucky for me my colleague lived in Portland and took me over to Bend. I believe he saw the terror in my eyes at the news of the impeding snow storm and driving the littlest car in the history of rental cars. Thank goodness for kind people, especially when traveling, that little car would have ended up in the ditch!

Ok, so you are still thinking, Ashley, this is a very innocent business trip. You are correct, here is where it gets fun! I got violently ill in my hotel room, for several hours. Knowing I had to be up and at a meeting by 7:30 am I tried to will my body to stop being sick and get some sleep. I was successful in getting a solid 2 hours of sleep. I somehow faked the meeting and my co-worker and I made it back to Portland. The snowstorm hitting Bend was now hitting Portland and I was staying near the airport which was only a solid 30 miles from where I dropped of my co-worker. He proceeded to ask me if I could get to the hotel OK. I proceed to laugh at him like an idiot and say "of course I'll be fine, I grew up in Wisconsin and I am a midwest girl who has driven in far worse snow than this". I cannot stress the severe dumbness of my words.

I spent EIGHT HOURS in that little car because Portland for some hippie reason doesn't use salt on their roads and instead uses some sort of olive oil mixture to help with snow and ice. This olive oil mixture DOES NOT work. The amount of abandoned cars on the highway and cars left at exits were just embarrassing. Portland, I'm still embarrassed for how you handle the snow. I was determined to get to that hotel and I was getting home. I got stuck on a side road because of a detour, had a breakdown to my husband included with hyperventilating, luckily he's used to my panic attacks. He successfully directed me to purely turn my car off the hill and find another way. There is probably some good life advice in that advice as well but let's continue on this trip.

When I finally got to the hotel a car pulled out in front of me which almost caused me to hit the car but I think out of shear force of will and brake slamming I missed the car.

Here is where this story takes a turn from just a series of suckfests to embarrassment. I am not a cryer. I am also usually fairly reasonable.... I said fairly, we can get into this later as well. When I got to the airport I saw that there was an earlier flight leaving to go directly to Chicago rather than taking that lovely detour through Phoenix. I went up to the ticketing agent and cried. I am not talking about a couple of tears I cried hysterically that I needed to get home aka known as the ugly cry. I explained that I was stuck in the car for 8 hours and needed to get the hell out of this place. He looked at me with kind and judging eyes and proceed to tell me to back away from the desk and sit down, he would try work some magic. I want to kiss this man but instead, I did as directed, still crying and staring at him, willing him to get me any seat on that plane. He waved me back up - I had a seat in the middle row!! I have never in my life been more thankful for that middle row seat. I did successfully make it home to still tell this tale today. I am also, clearly still complaining about it and laughing at my ridiculous behavior but if you are not laughing while traveling, I can guarantee you are crying!

If you stuck through this story, this is where my phrase a Series of Suckfests was born. While this is hands down my worst trip, I still have many more funny stories and observations. Let's keep on the forced travel!

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