When Adventure Goes Awry


The morning after I rolled my first four-wheeler and a few hours before I ran out of gas and had to be towed back. Memories.

This Saturday we sat on the dock of the Utah Lake boat ramp listening to every agonized crank of the boat engine refusing to turn over. We launched the boat with no problems but as the trailer pulled away, the boat refused to start. The current pushed us toward the dock and a few of us jumped out to hold the boat while we used the manual to troubleshoot any and every problem.

After 1.5 hours, we gave up, walked the boat up the trailer, and pulled it out. As we tarped everything back up, my four-year-old niece said, “We forgot to swim.”

This relatively minor hic-up in our plans got me thinking about how I always blog about the wonderful adventures I have, but not the ones that, well, suck. From mechanical failure in the middle of a desert to injuries in the middle of a lake, what does one do to salvage what was supposed to be a fun and memorable trip?

1. Attitude: This is key to moving on from whatever calamity has befallen you. Allow yourself a few minutes to vent. Complain to your spouse, buddy, call your mother, whatever. Kick a rock if it helps. But after a few minutes move on because venting rapidly turns to dwelling and whining. Resist the urge, and when those around you give in, ask them what they’re going to do about it. Which leads to my next point.

2. Find something else to do: On a trip with my brother’s family to Goblin Valley, the truck threw a rod somewhere on I-70. It took a few hours for the tow truck to find us. My brother took his sons down off the highway and piled them with rocks to throw at empty beer bottles. We joked later that the boys would remember that as the highlight of the trip.

If you’re stuck in some small town for the night, talk to the locals and find out what fun things you can do while you wait. If your trip’s cut short because of weather, money, or injury, look around at what you’ve got in your own backyard to do. Were you going camping, camp in the backyard. Heading to Disneyland, what parks do you have around you?

There are many things to do around our own towns, but we never do them because we lack time. Try a new restaurant, hike a new trail, visit a museum. Adventures can be a few hours or weeks.

3. Plan your next adventure: Nothing helps you move on more than focusing on the future.

What has been your worst adventure gone awry?

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