Wildfires, Pandemics and Shitty Subarus; A Revenge Travel Tale

revenge travel
Car dealership nightmares have me craving zen outdoor moments like this one.

Trying to plan a girl’s getaway for my dog and me proved to be harder than expected during a pandemic and also a disastrous fire season for the state of California. But the outdoor wanderer in me said, yes, I had to do it. This outdoor gal had wanderlust and revenge travel was calling her name. I mean come on, by the end of November our nation is going to be on bacteria lockdown again. I needed to get out(side) while the getting was good (Or even possible)

What the hell Is Revenge Travel you might ask? This could be the first time you’re hearing the term revenge travel. This travel mindset means that people are more eager to travel and less willing to cancel their vacation plans this year after the coronavirus shutdowns. So many people are thinking enough is enough, let’s just go on vacation already!

As much as I wanted to get away to the rugged alpine mountains of the eastern Sierras it would have been so much more pleasant if number one, California wasn’t on fire this past September and number two, the CarMax dealerships of southern California were capable of fixing the air conditioning in my Subaru. I have now spent two years and so much of my own personal money trying to get my Subarus air conditioning working again.

My CarMax nightmare; I need some revenge travel zen asap!

What pisses me off about the whole CarMax situation is that when my air conditioning first stopped working, my Subaru was still under the CarMax Maxcare extended warranty. I basically got scammed into purchasing this extended warranty when I purchased my Subaru from CarMax in Riverside a few years back. It’s absolutely ridiculous to sell a customer an extended warranty than not be able to fix the issues in question. What a waste of money. I wish I had lemoned this car while I still had the choice. And all this bullshit was right before I started having transmission issues which are ridiculous for a Subaru with just under 98,000 miles on it! Luckily for me as I was planning yet another camping road trip with my pup and my Subaru was burping and farting up a storm as we attempted to drive through the eastern Sierras I came across this article from Consumer Affairs. Did you know so many 2012-2015 Subaru transmissions were faulty that Subaru actually extended their CVT warranty? So long story short, I still barely have working air conditioning but at least the extended warranty covered a more major repair. Yea.

Revenge travel
A shitty Subaru and two adorable huskies.

Oh yeah, did I also mention that my air conditioning still has not been fixed in my shitty Subaru? Thinking about my car problems is enough to move me to tears these days. I don’t own a twenty-year-old vehicle. I shouldn’t be constantly every three months bringing my piece of shit Subaru into the dealership. But I have. I’ve been at the CarMax dealership rolling my eyes and being pissed every three months since I’ve bought this POS for the last five years. The biggest issue is that I live in southern California and it is hot here from April until October. Most days over one hundred degrees in these desert towns and many days humid as well. How can one drive in southern California without air conditioning? On our recent camping trip to June Lake, it was 106 as we were traveling through Bishop. And my air conditioning was not fixed because the CarMax dealership in Duarte won’t return my calls. How is this customer service?

Revenge travel
I need some mountain zen-like this moment asap!

How does a major car dealership get away with ghosting customers?

I did finally get the employee who had originally been helping me to return my calls by finally calling the CarMax corporate office and making a complaint that Subaru Duarte was ghosting me after not fixing my vehicle correctly for the seventh time. What kind of car dealership ghosts a customer after not fixing their car correctly? This one does. Luckily road tripping up scenic Highway 395 to attempt to find a scenic and yet not the smoky place to hike gave me many chances to call CarMax and bitch about their God-awful customer service. And also ask them why they never fixed the issue I had complained about four times with my engine hesitating going uphill. (Which was explained by a massive transmission issue happening one week after I finally got my Subaru back from them the latest time) I do not understand why the dumb-dumb helping me at the dealership had to ignore my multiple requests to look at the engine hesitation issue. That would have been helpful as weeks later my transmission almost went out on the way to work causing me to be late and lose multiple days of work. But then again she couldn’t even return my phone calls, to begin with, so there is that…


So all this stress over CarMax ghosting me and driving the shittiest Subaru ever built made me think, I need a vacation. I need to hike it out. That is when revenge travel came into the scenario. I worked so much during this pandemic as a hiking guide in Big Bear Lake, California, I did not do enough hikes just for me. I needed to get out into the forest mainly before I lost my cool and bitched out someone at CarMax or cussed out another CarMax service manager.

So I went. Up Highway 395. I apologized to my dog that my shitty Subaru had no air conditioning as we drove through smoky Bishop where it was 104 degrees outside. As the sweat dripped down my face, I couldn’t wait to get to the cool alpine country of Mono County at over 7,000 feet. After a five-hour drive and many curses towards CarMax and Subaru, we had arrived amongst the pines of Silver Lake, California. Our campsite was lakeside and multiple deer wandered over to see what I was cooking up on the camp stove for dinner (ironically I was heating up leftover venison chili)

Over my week of revenge travel just me and the pup in the eastern Sierras we found some zen on some alpine trails. We also found a merry band of three hundred sheep. (My pup was so enthralled) Which made me think, don’t be a sheep. Stand up for yourself when a car dealership tries to take advantage of you. Which I did try to do but the dumb-dumb helping me at CarMax refused to let me speak to the service manager and never once even apologized to me (Or my dog) when they fixed my car for free when I got back from my very sweaty vacation. I mean they did give me a free rental car and a free tank of gas but what kind of shady company is CarMax?

Why you should never, ever, ever buy a car from CarMax

  • They charged me a shit ton of money to not fix my AC correctly.
  • They won’t return my calls when I say my AC is not fixed.
  • I had to call their corporate office and basically tattle on them to get the dumb-dumb helping me to return my calls.
  • And then she acted like I’m lying when I said my AC was not fixed for the sixth time.
  • I asked over 5 times to talk to the service manager and was told each time “He’s not here” Hey bitches at CarMax if you had a service manager at your dealership maybe you could provide not shit service. Just an idea.

Why you should embrace revenge travel (In a safe way)

  • It’s been a long year and a half of Covid lockdown. So many families and friends have canceled worldwide trips.
  • Tourist areas are struggling. They need your revenge travel business.
  • Let’s face it; We live in stressful times. Getting out into nature and camping, being one with the outdoors is good for our souls.
  • There are so many areas a road trip away to camp, hike and get some zen so we don’t bitch slap a stupid care technician or yell at a CarMax service manager.

Many Americans are taking advantage of this break in the pandemic to do some revenge travel before the next Covid lockdown. I’m not one of those Americans who is getting on a packed flight and taking off for Machu Pichu or Costa Rica just yet. The thought of getting on a flight, even being fully vaccinated, during a global pandemic makes the germaphobe in me think about having a panic attack. Nope. I’ll stay on solid ground and maybe just hike up to 10,000 feet with my adventure pup at my side. Maybe I’ll find some zen trailside and get just a little less pissed off about this shitty vehicle I’m stuck with until after the chip shortage is in the rearview mirror and I can buy that Jeep I’m lusting after.