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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

the worst journey of your life. by Sophie-Louise on 16 November 2006 1:01am
doesn't have to be a trip round the world! can even be just the journey to work!! what's your worst every journey?!

here's mine:

i once had a very old yellow cinquecento called chelsea. when i was living in london i decided to drive her up to leeds to see some friends. for starters it took me 5 hours to get from east london to the M1 (that's about 7 miles by the way). car's temperature was in the red! carried on going, then hit a huge traffic jam near leicester, car broke down in the the THIRD lane of the motorway. BAD BAD BAD news even if the traffic is moving slowly. after about 20 minutes she cooled down and started again. in that traffic jam for about 3 hours, raising my total journey time to 8 hours and i wasn't even half way to leeds!!!!

car goes alright for the next half an hour after the jam, decide to stop for a quick snack, when i get out of my car a lady in the carpark points out that there is something coming out of my exhaust. damn right there was. i looked accross the carpark and there i saw this 100 metre trail of fluff, the equivilent to about 20 dead cats that had just fallen out of my exhaust. i pulled out the rest of the fluffy stuff (probably violating some polution law!) and then carried on. of course the car breaks down again on the hard shoulder so i called the breakdown people. the man turns up an hour later and 'fixes' the problem telling me it will be fine but i need a new radiator in the next couple of weeks. yep. she breaks down again, but this time i just wait till she cools down and then i carry on!!! finally get to leeds after about 12 hours, it's 2am and i get out of my car and kick it very hard, denting the door actually. this provokes the security guard and he starts asking questions, not believing it's my car till i unlocked it.

my only thoughts at this point: oh god i have to drive it BACK to london.

on the way to garage to get the exhaust fixed. the clutch snapped on a roundabout and i rolled to a halt. the car has recently been crushed i hope and i have a reliable car, but you can't beat the bright yellow character of a cinquecento!

i have another vey unpleasant journey but i'll save it for later! :P
Re: the worst journey of your life. by Miss-M on 16 November 2006 1:28am
OMG, that sounds just AWFUL, Soph!! I was going to post about the unreliability of our train services (although, touch wood, they have been reasonably good lately!) but your horrible journey just makes my complaint seem insignificant, LOL!
Re: the worst journey of your life. by Lounge Trekker on 16 November 2006 3:49am
I was living in a small industrial town in remote central British Columbia, about 300 miles from the city. Of course, being young men, the city was where the fun was, the action to be lived, the ladies to be won. At that time, early 80's, in good weather, the drive was about eight hours. When weekend arrived, there was a trip to town planned.

This Friday night we left after work, intending to overnight with freinds in Vancouver, spend the day enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere then go to a rock concert in the evening, returning the third day, Sunday.

It was cold with winter well underway, snow at the edge of the road. The temperature was falling rapidly, well below freezing as quitting time approached, but my car was loaded with our gear, the trip was ON. Darkness was enveloping us as we left the lights of our small town, food and beverages stowed for ready access during our drive. The first several hours passed with nothing memorable but the snow began to fall, making our long dreary drive even slower and more challenging than we had hoped. The snow was falling so heavily that not even a wheeltrack was visible. It started to freeze on the windscreen although the defrost was full on, and we had to reach out the windows and pluck the wipers to rattle the ice off.

Now, we were driving on a 'highway' with great distances, tens of miles, between any signs of life at all. The norm was complete darkness, not a light from a shop, a house, nothing. Other vehicles were very rare - who would be driving on the 'highway' in a storm like that? Us.

Then, near the bottom of a hill, the tires lost grip. It was a little Japanese car, front-wheel drive and the snowfall was so heavy I had to slow down just to stay on what I thought was the road. I did what I could to keep going, but the snow was deep enough that we were pushing it with the airdam beneath the front bumper. We came to a stop that may have been the middle of the road, but of course there was no way of knowing with the accumulation of snow. So my buddy, Ron, pushed to help us get started, then jumped back in. In a few seconds, the tires were spinning again. Then he did a brave thing and jumped onto the bumper to put his body weight on the drive wheels. This helped us get up the hill and past a relatively dangerous section of road. When he got back in, the ice was hanging from his eybrows and one of his eyes was starting to freeze shut.

We got to a safe place to pull off the road and spent a freezing few hours until a snowplow cleared the road. We followed the plow until the conditions were suitable for driving. The drive took over twelve hours. We did get to the rock concert and had a great time in the city, and were able to get home on schedule. Just another drive in a British Columbia winter.

Lounge Trekker
Re: the worst journey of your life. by kazzzz on 16 November 2006 9:42am
Ooh that's nasty!

This happened a few years ago.

When I went to Yorkshire to see Tony (aka fattcslim) we had a major car accident and wrote the car off, then the Vauxhall garage made us wait there for 2 days white they argued with the insurance company who refused to pay, DESPITE us having every sort of insurance there was...and the staff at the garage nicked my def Leppard Cds AND Jason's t shirt!. We stayed in Rotherham's dodgiest hotel, the shower cubicle was about one foot wide, and the wehad a VERY dodgy takeaway.
THEN Jason had a major gall stone attack and ended up in hospital, after collapsing in the Vauxhall garage and he wouldn't let them operate (He was very high on morpheine at the time) and I was a LITTLE bit evil at this point coz I painted his toenails and all the nursing staff saw HAAHAAA!!!!
Oh yes, and someone called the police about the written off car that was parked in Tony's road!
I also had whiplash from the accident hmm that stone wall was HARD.
Re: the worst journey of your life. by MarcoP on 16 November 2006 10:45am
Less adventurous but VERY bad:

last winter I was driving home from work, it's a 20 miles drive. A colleague had bummed a ride from me, but what I didn't know was that she has a big - erm - bodily odour issue. So I'm driving around 5 pm with this stinking person next to me, trying to make up my mind on the "less worse" way to die - for the smell or frozen in the case I rolled the window down.
The road (the ONLY road worth mentioning) between Greenock and Largs is a very nice coastal road, stunning sea views and all. What happens is that somewhere ahead of me someone starts staring at the sea and the islands and stuff while driving, thus crashing into a bus (I allow myself to joke about it because no one was seriously hurt). Road blocked, soon a 6 miles queue forms. From where I am I cannot even see the sea. I leave the car to check what happened, I walk to a police, I have a wee talk with him, I find out that the road won't be cleared for a while. I know that there is a secondary road starting some point along the main road to be used in case the main road is blocked. But the police tells me that the crash happened between where I was and said road. So I go back to my car. By the way, it's pitch dark at that time in winter here. The stinkpot in my car had switched the heating on, full throttle. Result? The battery says bye-bye. Beautiful.
So, I start walking car by car to ask if anyone could help me getting my car restarted, luckily I find a guy who can assist. I decide to turn back and take a VERY secondary road, it's actually barely wider than a footpath, through the hills. But I know it, and I'll try it. Of course, 5 miles into it (5 SCARY miles, there's no light to be mentioned) I meet a van whose driver had my same idea. And who got stuck. I manage to make a U-turn and drive back to the main road, drive to the M8 direction Glasgow, take the motorway to Irvine and deviate towards Largs at Lochwinnoch (details for those who are interested). So, a 20 miles drive that usually takes 15 to 25 minutes took me like 4 hours. With a stinking person next to me.
And yes, it had been a bad day at work.
Re: the worst journey of your life. by perfectbitch on 16 November 2006 1:09pm
About 11 years ago, we had a family holiday in the Vendee which involved an overnight ferry to St Malo. The party consisted of myself, Nick, our 2 daughters (then 14 and 10), Nick's Mum, my sister and her 3 children (then 12,9 and 18months) We had 2 cars (one an elderly Citroen with 6 seats) and we booked 2 adjoining cabins for the overnight ferry.

We found the cabins, put our overnight luggage on the shelf/dressing table, settled the children and after a few drinks, collapsed into the narrow beds.

We were awoken to the announcement, "It is 7.20am will drivers please return to their cars as we will be disembarking in St. Malo. at 7.45am. We leaped up, washing and dressing around each other in the tiny cabin. I rushed into the other cabin to my sister, while cleaning her teeth, "Rene (Nick's mum) has a bad hangover and has managed to lose my glasses and her hearing aid."

After much tooing and froing and talking loudly to Rene, with Nick running back and forth to the cars with our luggage while we gathered the children together, we were set to go to the car deck. My sister's party went off to their car and I was left with my daughters and my neice to wait for Nick to get back to us. He didn't return so we went off to look for him. We went to every car deck to see cars flying off and Nick or our car nowhere to be seen. We went to reception who said that we could not walk off the boat if we had boarded in a car and we had to keep looking. We repeated the search only this time, the car decks were empty and the pa system was blaring out Hotel California.

We had to wait until everyone was off the boat before we were allowed to walk the plank so to speak. There at the bottom were Nick and the others laughing their heads off.

There's more awfulness to this holiday story which I'll tell you another time.

Re: the worst journey of your life. by Sophie-Louise on 17 November 2006 3:58pm
oh please missy! tell us anyway!

i love hearing these stories! they are all bad! :(

Re: the worst journey of your life. by KateC on 17 November 2006 4:18pm
Earlier this year we went on a short trip to New York, in a group of about 60 people. The trip was brilliant except the hostel which was an absolute joke. (Fire alarms beeped literally every 17 seconds including during the night -I counted-, heaters were on full blast during the night, except when people complained then they switched them off completely so it was freezing cold. Plus the rooms had barely enough room to breathe let alone sleep and have luggage)

We had just packed up, ready to go home with our luggage/us loaded on the coach. It was gently snowing, and I had heard earlier in the day from a New Yorker that there would be a blizzard. Everyone thought I/he was exaggerating. Just as we started, a few of us spotted that the driver had left the luggage door wide open! Fortunately, we managed to get him to stop and close it properly before setting out. On the way to the airport, the back end of one of those buses with the wobbly rubber bit in the middle had slid out and hit a lorry which caused huge queues on the road we were heading out on. Typical.

When we finally arrived at JFK, after waiting in a huge queue we were told there was a blizzard (a great ‘I told you so’ moment ;)), all flights had been grounded and that everyone on the flight had been informed by phone, and told not to bother leaving their hotels. We were definitely not informed! The next flight was to be early the next day so they said they wouldn’t be able to book us into a hotel. Fair enough.

We found a nice red carpeted area in the airport to stay the night. It was at this point one of our tutors decided it would be fun to make a massive tent out of old newspapers a shop was throwing out, all of our suitcases, and a huge industrial roll of cling film. (I have pictures if you would like to see!) It took a couple of hours to build and some of the staff said that people had tried this before but never succeeded. Shortly afterwards, security came over and hassled our tutors for a while, but after a long and lengthy discussion they decided to let us keep it. In the morning lots of staff were taking photos with their camera phones and saying things like ‘That’s what I’m talking ‘bout!’

After boarding the plane we waited on it for 5 hours (in economy class!) just sat at the gate, waiting for a runway to open. At about 4 hours 50 minutes the captain announced that there was good news and bad news, “the good news is that there’s a runway open. The bad news is it’s the smaller runway so this plane can’t use it!”
Again we had the process of getting off, sleeping for a while and being given another flight. This flight we sat on for 9 hours (longer than the actual flight home!), taxiing round the runways as another aircraft had landed and skidded off the runway. Because we were taxiing we had to stay belted in so no toilets/tv/food and only 1 very small glass of orange juice in the first 10 minutes. This taxiing caused the wings to ice over as the de icer had worn out, so we had to disembark again. The next flight was our actual flight out, and we gave the captain a nice cheer as he boarded which I think he enjoyed :)

In total we spent 52 hours on the floor in JFK airport, were never even given the option to stay in a hotel, all we were given was $12 meal tickets for each day we were stuck, although we did gather a nice collection of security stickers and tags on our passports/bags!
Re: the worst journey of your life. by canaveralgumby on 17 November 2006 6:21pm
Um, does high school count?
Re: the worst journey of your life. by Sophie-Louise on 17 November 2006 7:55pm
YES! anything bad counts!!! it's a free country, write what you like! :D

i have to say katec i had a bad airport delay experience but it looks quite pathetic compared to that!!! that must have been so awful.

i was delayed in nottingham east midlands with my friend for 16 hours and they gave us vouchers that we could only spend on the plane in compensation... not too good when your not getting on the plane for another 16 hours! so when i got on the plane i bought 10 flapjacks with my £10 brittania voucher! cleaned them out probably!
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