There are some things that are better left unsaid in the midst of a journey. Or, more accurately, there are some incidents that are better left unposted when you are on the other side of the country and your parents are reading your blog. It’s much more advisable to wait until you are home and they are happy to see you to reveal some of the more disconcerting details. Those details are as follows:

1. On the first day of the trip, I hit a pole in Cleveland. The way in which I hit it still boggles my mind. I was getting gas and I scraped against the side of guardrail protecting the pump. Seriously…who does that??? And on the first day. This meeting of the metals left a significant scratch and dent on the side of my parents’ vehicle, which seemed like a big deal until I did this:

Then I had a new perspective on car damage.

2. I told you all that on the way to Montana my GPS thought it would be amusing to lead me through Amazonian back roads en route to an impassable canyon. What I did not tell you is that after that trek, the van looked like this:

3. I rented a hotel room on a Sunday just so I could watch football all day.

4. Twice.

5. When I say twice, I mean three times.

6. I knew that some of the drives I had planned were too long to accomplish in one day, and in those instances I had anticipated camping at nearby camp sites instead of staying at a cheap motel. I figured that camping would be less expensive and safer.

My camping career lasted one night. I realized that I was paying $20 just to park my car in the forest and be freaked out. I could just as easily be freaked out for free in a parking lot. And so began the ensuing tradition of what came to be known as parking lot camping. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s well-lit. All of those factors combined made for many restful nights parked next to other out of state vehicles in hotel parking lots.

7. When one parks in a hotel parking lot, one does not have access to certain hotel amenities, such as a restroom or a shower. (Any CEO’s who would like to change that policy? Anyone? No? You’d be instantly embraced by the roadtrip community!) So one has to be creative. You’d be surprised at how long you can last without a shower while still remaining perfectly presentable, and all with the humble aid of baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and an air dryer. You’d also be surprised at the ease in which a full clothing change and sprucing up can occur in a Walmart restroom.

8. I accidentally electrocuted some chickens in Texas. Marie asked me to feed them and let them out in the morning, which involved unhooking the electric fence that protected them through the night. I was under the impression that they also needed protection during the daytime, so I rewired the fence after I fed them and left. A few hours later Marie realized my faux pas and we went back to the coop to find all of the chickens huddled in the back corner, scared out of their minds. Luckily (for now), everyone survived the episode.

9. There were many kind friends who bade me farewell with the thoughtful presentation of Starbucks giftcards. Since my body composition is 98% caffeine and I was so often in need of wireless internet services, my stops at the famed coffee chain were frequent. So frequent, in fact, that I am just a few short visits away from earning enough points to become a Starbucks Gold Card holder, the highest pinnacle of Starbucks card rewards.

My parents have never been so proud.