Hard to believe that even with the temperatures as hot as they have been, that school bells will be ringing and the memories of the Summer of 11 will soon fade into a distant memory.

But for some people myself included, there will always be a memory or two that will stand out for a trip that started out to be a fun adventure. But somewhere along the way, it turns into a night mare. A total wipe out, or as some might say - "The Vacation From Hell."

Not that mine went that far. However, I did gain some good life lessons on this trip.

- Shell Island off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida does not really have any shells left. Bummer.

- Do not rely on the 8 x 10 laminated chart they give you at a boat rental location. If you are unfamiliar with the waters, ask. Day markers can become quite confusing even to a veteran sailor like myself.

- Dead Eye Dicks and is neighbor, Dirty Dick's Crab House are not dirty names but great places to eat!

- Always take extra cash. Some places do not take plastic! I know hard to believe in this day and age!

- Give yourself extra time. Never know when you weill need it! Poster child here!

- It is a long way from Shubuta Mississippi to Oklahoma. Especially if you are broke down on the side of US 45 at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.

- Ensure vehicle is in top not condition. I do not care if it is a week old or 20 years or a classic. Again this can bite you where it hurts - your wallet.

- Do not let the kids over pack. Just take the essentials in case you have to swap vehicles. Pain in the rear to pack a whole vans worth of "stuff" into a smaller cross over. Just sayin.

- Be ready for long delays if you expierence any difficulties and never be afraid to ask for help. You will be surprised at the support you can get from people in America. I found that people in Mississippi don't care where you are from. If you need help that they can offer, they will.

Over all, our vacation was good. We saw lots of family and enjoyed a week on the beach. If it were not for the vehicle issues and all of the extra "ugh" that took place in the month and a half after we got back I am sure that I would have golden memories.

Have you had a great trip turn in to a hellish nightmare?