The Road Trip From Hell

Most times, a road trip evokes fond memories. For me, my road trip from Colorado to Florida does the exact opposite.


I had decided it was time to move back to Florida. After over 10 years of being away, it was time to go back. Some of you may know that I was in the military, so that took me away from home for a few years. I was stationed in Georgia, Germany, and then Texas.


Afterwards, I moved to Colorado to try something new. I made great friends. I even tried my hand at hiking (I climbed two 14ers!). But in the end, something was missing. I wanted to see palm trees again.


Hiking in Colorado
Hiking in Colorado


So I packed up my 1 bedroom apartment, put it all in a container to have it shipped to me in Florida, and then packed my car with the clothes and other essentials I’d need until the container arrived.


My one bedroom apartment packed into a moving container
My one bedroom apartment packed into a moving container


I left early on a Friday morning. The plan was to drive until I got to Nashville (about 16 hours), spend the night at a friend’s house, and then continue the next 11+ hours the next morning. I was making really good time and I made it through Kansas and Missouri just fine. Then I got to Illinois. And that’s when Betsy died.


Betsy was my Jetta. We’d been to a lot of places together. But that Friday night, in the middle of BFE Illinois, Betsy decided she’d had enough. I was riding along the two lane highway, when all of a sudden I started slowing down. I pumped the gas pedal and nothing happened.


Luckily I was able to pull over before she came to a complete stop. I called for a tow truck and waited. I was frustrated. I was scared. It was pitch black outside.


When the tow truck came, the driver couldn’t figure out what the problem was. He said he’d have to take me to the nearest town… Metropolis.


Metropolis? As in… Superman’s Metropolis?


Yup, he answered. Well alright then. Since it was late, he dropped me off at a motel and took the car to a recommended shop. When I awoke the next morning and called the shop they told me there was a problem with the fuel pump. Great.


And they didn’t have any parts for Volkswagens in town so they were going to have to order the fuel pump from another city and have it delivered. It would arrive the next day. Awesome.


So I decided to make the most of the situation and explore the city of Metropolis.


Not surprisingly, the city has a Superman museum
Not surprisingly, the city has a Superman museum


Sunday morning came and I went over to the shop. The car wasn’t ready. It wasn’t the right fuel pump. They were going to have to order another one. I started crying, right there in the middle of the shop. “I just want to go home” I was able to blubber out. The men were noticeably uncomfortable.


They made some calls and were able to get someone to bring the correct fuel pump, right then and there, from a few towns over. They started working on it as soon as the guy delivered the fuel pump, as I sat there in their waiting area.


I was finally on my way that afternoon. Then, the first time I stopped to get gas a few hours later (in Kentucky), all hell broke loose again. Betsy peed herself. Literally, gas poured out from under her. Are you fucking kidding me?? I started crying again.


Gas leaking from Betsy
Gas leaking from Betsy


Once I calmed down, I called one of my guy friends and he told me to very slowly drive to the nearest shop. According to Google Maps, there was one just down the road. I pulled up just as they were closing. With my voice cracking, I quickly explained what had happened over the last couple of days.


It was a family run shop, and the wife took one look at me and told her husband to take a look at the car. She then sat me down and offered me some water.


It turned out that when the new fuel pump was put in, an old rubber ring (I don’t remember what it was called, I’m mechanically impaired) was reused instead of a new one being used. That caused the cover to not seal properly so when I filled my tank, the gas overflowed.


This mechanic was able to seal everything properly, and after thanking the family profusely, I hit the road once again. At that point, I was no longer going to stop in Nashville. I was going to drive through to Florida if it killed me. I finally crossed into Florida that Monday at 3:15am. As I passed the “Welcome to Florida” sign, it was the most beautiful thing I’d seen in days.


Welcome to Florida!
Welcome to Florida!


I continued on my way and arrived in Melbourne at around 7:30am. Exhausted, but oh so happy, I slipped into a mini coma at a friend’s house. I eventually made my way to Miami after a pit stop to visit another friend in Port St. Lucie.


I will never ever forget this road trip from hell. I thought I had prepared for it. I’d gotten my oil changed. I had checked the air pressure in my tires. But some things you just can’t prepare for. In the end though, I made it back to Florida, and that’s all that mattered.


Have you ever had a bad road trip experience? We’d love to read about it in the comments below! 🙂


Similar Posts


  1. I have never been on a road trip. i guess like all trips, expect the unexpected.

    1. Yup, there’s only so much planning and prepping you can do.

  2. The great thing about roadtrips (or adventures like this in general) is that they can make for some great stories later! Where in Germany were you stationed? We are in Hohenfels and LOVE living in Bavaria!

    1. Hi LeAnna! I was stationed in Darmstadt, although I believe the base has closed down. I traveled a bit through Bavaria and I loved it! Such a beautiful country.

  3. I’ve only taken a couple of big road trips in my life and they haven’t been so bad, but I’ve definitely been stranded on the roadside before, which is never a good thing! I’m sure this was quite a trying experience. But at least you got there in one piece.

    1. Thanks Laura! And I hope you never have to experience anything like it.

  4. Ok, yikes. I’m not sure I can top your story of road trip hell, but I’ll have a try. When I was a kid (in Indiana), we would rent a pop-up camper some summers and head north to Northern Michigan or Wisconsin. I am one of 5 kids, and we would tow the camper behind our ancient massive station wagon. Well. One day, on our way TO Michigan, not one but BOTH tires on the camper completely blew out. At two different times. This was in the early 90s, with no cell phones, no GPS. My mom walked to the next exit and I remember another trudge through a cornfield to a distant farmhouse to ask for help. It was hell – so hot, so many kids, so miserable!

    1. Oh no! That sounds horrible too Julie! I guess I was lucky in that I had a cell phone and was able to call for help.

  5. Uggggh sorry to hear about your trip – I guess they probably tried to fix it quickly to get the crying girl out of their shop!! For some reason that always seems to make men uncomfortable lol though it usually gets the job done…usually.

    I’m glad the second shop were so nice to you – it’s those kind of people who really make situations like these a whole lot more bearable.

    Hope you never have to repeat this roadtrip from hell!

  6. Oh no not Betsey. She was tired. She got old…stopping, peeing on herself geez. Superman was pretty cool though. At least you got their safely and have an adventure you will laugh about later.

    1. Very true Holly! Now that some time has passed I can definitely look back and see it in a different light. 😉

  7. Plans don’t always go as planned and it’s about making the most of the situation. So glad that you managed to get Betsy moving again. Love that you ended up in Metropolis…who knew 🙂 Quite an adventure but with a happy ending!

  8. Oh no, I’m so sorry you had such a bad trip! Sometimes things happen even with all the preparation, but I’m glad you’re safe. I’ve never had these problems with a road trip, but I know they’re very possible. Once you’ve reached your destination in one piece though, thats all that matters. 🙂

  9. Glad you and Betsy got back to Florida safely! Cool that you got help from so many friendly people AND ended up in Metropolis!! Had no idea that was based on a real place! Also didn’t know Florida has a Melbourne. 🙂 Yay for learning!

  10. Carol Colborn says:

    Oh wow, I would have been scared stiff. I have never traveled alone. You are so brave to do that by yourself. But congrats. It may have been hell but you passed it unharmed!

  11. What a crazy trip. Sounds nerve-wracking. Our family when on extended camping trips every summer. Our car broke down twice in Nebraska-one time it almost exploded. After that, my Dad always avoided Nebraska, and we never had car troubles after that.

  12. That’s so sad. What a bummer of a road trip. I’ve never had one that bad, just been annoyed by my car mates.

    1. Haha! Well luckily for me, Buddy is pretty awesome! 😉

  13. I’ve been on some unbelievable road trips too.- One even involved Metropolis!
    For the record-Uhaul’s slogan is “adventure”… they sure as heck aren’t kidding!

    1. Ha!! No they aren’t! And that’s crazy that you passed thru Metropolis. You’re the only other person that I know of that’s even heard of it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.