IT'S THE PITTS -- MY MOST MEMORABLE VACATIONS

by: Lee Pitts

It's summer and many Americans are on vacation. But not my wife and I. Other than a day at a bit and spur show we haven't had a vacation in 25 years. I tell my wife she shouldn't complain because last year she took a trip completely around the sun. And it was free!

When you travel for a living the last thing you want to do is trade good dollars for bad quarters, eat fast food and be accosted in big city airports by rent-a-cops. By the time you get home you really do need a vacation. I learned long ago that vacations are better anticipated than taken, that's why every year my wife and I pick a place to go, get all excited about it and then stay home. This year we aren't going to Tahiti for vacation.

Here are five reasons we don't vacate, ranked in order from mildly terrible to absolutely awful.

Las Vegas -- We stayed in the old Sands hotel (long since demolished) which meant we had a front row seat for the MGM fire with helicopters trying to lift people off the roof. The whole city smelled like burning plastic and we couldn't get out of town fast enough. We left all our money in Vegas and any desire to go back. This vacation beat out the one we took to San Francisco on the day they had their second worst earthquake in history. I swear, tragedy follows us around like a lost puppy.

Southwest "Working Vacation" -- Over a span of four exciting days I treated my wife to the highlights of Tucumcari, Electra, and Sayre from inside dumpy motel rooms as I had a great time visiting and writing stories about the Bell Ranch, Rusty Bradley and Walter Merrick. There's nothing quite like a little ranch tour for getting away from it all! Afterwards my wife said it was the last time she'd go with me on a working vacation.

Caribbean Cruise -- Forty years ago we went on a cruise where we got an up close and personal look at poverty on five Caribbean islands. The minute we got off the boat every day we had to run a gauntlet of poor people begging for money. I had to buy my very first suit ust to eat dinner at a table with four other couples who we had absolutely nothing in common with. On the next to the last night we were supposed to give our waiter a tip for his excellent service in an unmarked envelope. I may be a tightwad but when it comes to tipping I give generously, but one couple at our table didn't put any money in their envelope for the waiter and he didn't know which of us had stiffed him. I still have nightmares wondering what he did to our food before serving us on the last night. When we landed my seasick wife informed me it was the last time she'd leave land.

Rehoboth Beach -- My mom had the great idea of confining her three contentious kids in the same house FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK! I'm no beach bum and was bored out of my mind building sandcastles and adding to my skin cancer collection. I ended up with third degree burns over 75% of my body and looked worse than a freshly shorn sheep. I also saw what I swore was a Great White shark on the horizon so I refused to go in the water. Although in hindsight it could have been a fishing vessel. Afterwards my wife informed me there'd be no more family vacations.

Donner Pass -- This skiing trip to Hell was absolutely the worst vacation ever. We got stuck on top of Donner Pass when a blizzard closed the road and our car got buried under an avalanche. After two days of nearly freezing to death the tow truck driver was able to get our car out of the drift and sell us two tires at $300 a pop to replace the ones he completely destroyed. My wife informed me that was the last time she'd let me plan the itinerary.

So you see, if I did take a vacation I'd have to eat by myself and be bored out of my mind as natural disasters occurred all around me.

I can do that at home.

www.LeePittsbooks.com







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