My Junior year of college my roommate and I decided to drive to LA and stay with my uncle. My sister asked us to drop her and a friend off in Las Vegas where a cousin lived since we were driving through Vegas anyway.
We left Boulder, CO on a sunny Friday afternoon, picked up my sister and her friend and started driving. We hit Fruita, CO and the car started shaking but we kept telling ourselves it was "bad gas" and kept driving. We made it to Las Vegas about 4 am and crashed at my cousin's place.
The next morning, Kirsten (my roommate) and I drove the 5 hours to LA and proceeded to have a fantastic week with my uncle and cousins. We toured and went out and had a great time. My uncle and cousin thought they fixed the car so we had no worries as we set out for Las Vegas at the end of the week. Our plan was to pick up my sister and friend, drive to Colorado and be home early Sunday.
As soon as we escaped the LA city traffic, the car started shaking. We got about 60 miles outside of Las Vegas and the car wouldn't go up hills. So, we called AAA and an hour later, a tow truck came. Only they wouldn't take us to Vegas and we had to go back to Baker, CA, the armpit of America. The mechanic in Baker told us that it would take a week to get the parts to fix. The good news was that there was a greyhound terminal in Baker and we could get to Vegas.
We sat outside and waited 4 hours for the bus to come. This was during the Greyhound strike and so the buses were running when they could. When it arrived, there were no seats for us, so we had to sit in the aisle all the way to Vegas. The entire trip an old man played with Kirsten's hair because "he liked curls".
We were exhausted when we got to Vegas and the strikers outside kept setting off firecrackers to unsettle us. We called my sister who said that she and a guy she had met would come pick us up and take us to my cousin's. They finally came and the guy was driving a pickup. There was no room for us in the cab and we had to sit in the back. Since is illegal to ride like that in Nevada, we had to lay down in the dirt in the bed so the cops couldn't see us. It took an hour to get back to my cousin's.
The good news was that Kirsten's parents were on their way to pick us up. They arrived the next morning and drove to Baker to look at the car and then we all piled in their car and rode the 13 hours back to Colorado.
Everytime I take a car trip now I get a little paranoid.