I’ve shared stories upon stories with you all about my experiences in other countries … However, I never fully explained what really got me to realize my love for traveling and adventure.
So, presented below is probably one of the earliest stories I can give you and one that will give you a little more insight into The Real Ronen Wolf’s origins:
It all started one morning, right around December 2015, with a phone call from my then-best friend Anthony, who was in the United States Navy … He had just completed training in Great Lakes, Illionis (very close to Chicago, so I’ll just call it Chicago) and needed to relocate to San Diego to start his next phase of training.
If my memory serves me correctly, the conversation went something like this:
“Hey, Ronen. You’re the greatest person in the history of mankind. I mean nobody, literally nobody, has or ever will achieve the status of human that you, Ronen Wolf, have achieved already. That’s why I want you to be so gracious as to accompany me on a road trip that I’m going to take from Chicago to San Diego.”
Note: I now know that San Diego is not German for “a whale’s vagina.” That’s what I get for believing everything Ron Burgundy tells me.
Naturally, I couldn’t decline this offer.
So I immediately started planning out our trip (which, as you know, is completely uncharacteristic of me these days) … I carefully developed an itinerary, putting down several landmarks that we both wanted to see.
The original plan was to go off the logical path, first heading south and then heading west. So it really didn’t even occur to me to check the weather forecast, especially because I honestly didn’t give a fuck about the weather either way.
Anyway, a few days after I briefed Anthony on our itinerary for the trip, I get another phone call from him with another offer I couldn’t refuse:
“Yooooooo,” he articulately begins, “Instead of stopping at all these places, do you just want to drive straight to Vegas and stay there for like 5 nights?”
Travel tip number I’ve-lost-count: when you’re 21 and older, and someone offers you the option of Vegas, you say YES.
So I fly out to Chicago, and Anthony and I, of course, tear Chicago up.
What’s the first thing you should do when you get to Chicago, you ask? You get the famous deep dish pizza, which we did, from the famous deep dish pizza joint, Lou Malnati’s.
To be real, it wasn’t exactly the best pizza I’ve ever had, but I won’t get into that right now.
As we were eating, we talked about the details of our trip … Naturally, we wanted to maximize our time in Vegas, so we came to the conclusion that we’ll drive pretty much for 2 days straight (especially because it takes about 36 hours to get there).
So the next day, we hit the road, full steam. Since we were in Chicago, I’m afraid I must drop this exact Blues Brothers quote:
‘We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses.’
The only plans we had while driving to Vegas were hitting on girls from the University of Iowa and possibly catching the Presidential Caucus … We literally didn’t accomplish any of these things.
And we figured we’d rather have girls with all their teeth and don’t live out of trailers.
Now, if you watch ABC’s World News with David Muir anytime in the winter, you should know what happens in these northern states during the winter.
If you don’t: snow.
Being from Florida and having only been in snow a handful of times at this point, I wasn’t prepared for the events that were about to occur.
Eventually, a cop pulled us over for speeding (you shouldn’t expect anything less). But, of course, Anthony and I used our southern charm (this doesn’t actually exist) to get out of the ticket.
He did, however, warn us of the blizzard that was coming and told us that we needed to get off the road soon, especially since the roads were going to be closed.
Again, being from Florida, the word “blizzard” only meant two things to me: a lot of fucking snow and my favorite dessert from Dairy Queen. Anthony, however, probably should have known better.
Since we weren’t really convinced by what the cop said, we decided to keep moving forward with our lives, onto Vegas.
As the night wore in, the snow was coming down harder … It was as if the world had stopped moving and we were trapped in a poem made by the Satanic lovechild of Robert Frost and Lewis Carroll.
Our car was having a tough time handling itself (probably because it was a rear wheel drive trying to drive through a blizzard). We were literally spinning out every 5 minutes and, while Anthony was freaking out, I was loving every second.
I guess it was also a good thing that it was only us on the road, besides the occasional freighter trucks that were actually going faster than us (those Amazon deliveries will get there come hell or high water, dammit!).
Logic finally kicked in and we decided it might be smart to take a breather for the night.
Unfortunately, every exit was blocked off by clusterfucks of snow … This became an even bigger problem when we realized we were running low on gas.
I’m not religious (Atheist, actually), but I’m pretty sure God blessed us when we found one exit open that did lead to gas. Praise the Lord.
When we pulled off, after getting gas, we felt that it would also be smart to stay in a hotel for the night, hoping that the snow would clear out by tomorrow morning.
So, the next morning, we were greeted by a giant pile of snow … And under the snow was our car. We spent a great frustrating hour digging it out.
We finally made it back on the road, hyped up that we were still going to make it to Vegas.
As we’re listening to the radio, we hear that the roads will be closed for the day, which gave us a good explanation as to why we were the ones out there.
Some would think that maybe it’s not worth driving on closed snow with black ice everywhere, but logic was the last thing on our priority list … So, naturally, we cranked our speed up a bit.
When we noticed that the road was covered by huge piles of snow as we drove further, we felt like it was a good idea to get off on an exit that wasn’t completely blocked off.
As we’re pulling off, I realize that we’re still going about the same speed and I tell Anthony that he should probably slow down a bit (honestly, I wasn’t that aggressive about it because I didn’t care that much).
Anthony hits the breaks hard like an idiot and loses all control of the car … The car goes sliding head-first right into a big ass ditch.
We get out of the car to try to push the car out of the ditch, but that was completely worthless. So, we get back in the car and I called AAA because, you know, that premium membership can come in handy sometimes.
We also noticed that we were in the middle of nowhere in hicktown Colorado, stuck in a ditch right behind a farm. The closest sign of civilization was the farm owner’s house which seemed like it was roughly a mile away.
While we were waiting for the tow truck, I tried ordering from Domino’s Pizza. Unfortunately, these assholes weren’t delivering to our location because of the blizzard. I was pissed off.
After an hour, a police officer finds us stuck in this ditch … This cop actually did less for us than the house that was a mile away.
AAA eventually showed up … 3 hours later.
And, on top of that, this tow truck was so incompetent that it ripped off the front bumper of the car as it was pulling it out.
Even though this isn’t one of the stories that motivated me to get up and start traveling the world, it’s definitely one for the books and one that I’ll always remember.
Moral of the story: if you’re going to crash into a ditch in the middle of nowhere, at least make sure it’s near a pizza place that delivers to that ditch.