While we were sitting in the roasting, stifling bus, just barely off the road on the scenic New Jersey Turnpike, we were trying to determine where this particular travel disaster ranked in our pantheon of travel disasters.

We finally figured out it was at No. 3, maybe with a bullet, depending on whether our stationary bus got hit by the trucks inches away speeding by at 70 miles per hour.

Everyone, of course, has travel disasters — missed flights, lost luggage, broken fan belts, seatmates who are insurance salesmen.

Those are generally good trips for us.

Sometimes, the travel disaster is our fault, like the time we headed the car up the snowy mountain in Italy past the chain link fence and the warning sign that said “Whatever you do, don’t head up the snowy mountain.”

As I pointed out to my wife, that didn’t apply to us. We weren’t Italian.

Sometimes, it’s not our fault, like the time our airplane flight had to turn back halfway over the Atlantic, for the second time, because, the pilot said, “we really were sure we had fixed that thingamagig.”

And sometimes, it’s simply cosmic karma, payback for all the times we refused to sing along to Karma Chameleon. Like the time we loaded up the station wagon with all our daughter’s earthly possessions, moving her to her dorm room during the hurricane, not knowing that the station wagon’s sun roof was not, in fact, a rain roof.

This time, for convenience sake, we had taken a leisurely bus coach trip from New York City to Washington, on one of these leisurely bus coaches that speed up and down the I-95 corridor before the federal government bans them and ships them to a foreign country for enhanced interrogation.

Ours didn’t speed. Ours went very slowly, which is part of the reason the state troopers pulled us off the road almost exactly 10 miles from anywhere.

The troopers took the driver away. They also took away the air conditioning. The windows were closed. We were surrounded by marauding Indians.

I may have made up part of this.

A new driver was being sent for. It would take some time. He was coming from a small snowy mountain in Italy.

We waited. The people in front of us played crossword puzzles on their tablet. I helped with 27 Down. No one suggested we all get together in a year’s time for a reunion.

Finally, the new bus driver arrived. We got off the old bus, got on the new bus. The thingamagig on the new bus didn’t work. We arrived at our destination three hours late, weighing 14 pounds less.

When I recounted this to a friend recently, he was sympathetic, noting that things like this do seem to happen to us, but “that’s the worst travel story I’ve ever heard.”

I told him it was only No. 3.

 
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