Biggest Mistakes of My Life: Mistake No. 2

I still regret going back to Wisconsin. What was supposed to be a weekend full of concerts, camping and sun just turned out to be one huge disaster.

Since we needed extra room, we decided to borrow my parents' van for the 400-mile trip from Detroit to East Troy. We also used their roof rack and carrier to help transport the tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, coolers, grills and other funky crap that people need when staying in a field for days on end.

The heat alone was enough to make the expedition a bad idea. It was the type of humidity that makes you feel like you're swimming in your skin all day. You can just taste the salt dripping down your face. No thanks.

Once we arrived, we unloaded the van and roof carrier and set up our camp site. Then it was time to drive to the amphitheater for the first night's concert. Since the carrier was now empty, we contemplated leaving it at our site but decided instead to fasten it back to the roof rack and bring it with us.

Morons. All six of us.

What we had not thought about were the laws of physics, and how all of our luggage had helped weigh down the roof carrier on the drive to Wisconsin. Sure, the carrier was somewhat secured by bungee cords fastened to the roof rack, but it was basically a massive plastic sled sitting on top of our van.

We slowly pulled out of the camp grounds and onto the interstate. I was driving, and by this point had completely forgotten about the carrier. We were accelerating quickly, but there was a disgruntled Wisconsinite riding our bumper. Apparently 50 mph wasn't fast enough for him.

Thank God he decided to pass us.

Before we hit 60 mph something awful happened. With no weight in it, the roof rack was trying its hardest to withstand the headwind. The only things keeping it down were now the bungee cords that had been strung together by idiotic amateurs.


In a fraction of a second after this noise bludgeoned our ears, I saw in my rearview mirror a sight of pure horror. The carrier, flying over our car - up, up and away - crashing down onto the road behind us and blowing up into two pieces. And then...


This is the last thing we heard before we were surrounded by shards of glass flying every which way throughout the cabin of the van. Slow motion. Glass was exploding everywhere and we all ducked to cover our heads, including me - the driver. I don't know how we kept it on the road.

When the bungee cords snapped and left the carrier at the mercy of the wind, they whipped around to the back of our van, their metal hooks shattering the entirety of our back window and tail lights. The glass was then sucked into the vehicle, entering various points of our skin and landing all around us.

Would you feel comfortable leaving your car at a concert if it had no rear window and all of your belongings were sitting inside for anyone to take? We didn't. So we headed to Wal-Mart to bandage up the van.

After buying a couple hundred yards of duct tape and blue tarp, we taped up the ass of our van. Poor thing. It looked like a giant blue diaper. I could no longer see anything out of the back while driving.

The damages set me back $1,200, but had the Wisconsinite not passed us his car would have been hit with our plastic roof carrier missile. I could have been a murderer.

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