My ER Experience in Florida’s Redneck Riviera: a Funny Travel Story

Funny travel story - emergency

“There’s nothing wrong with your leg,” the Mucho Man insisted, “I’m not taking you to the hospital.”

“But my ankle hurts so much, I think it’s broken. I need an x-ray. Please take me.”

“It’s one am for crying out loud, just be quiet and go to sleep.”

“I can’t sleep,” I whined, “my leg’s killing me.”

Silence fell and reigned for ten minutes until I couldn’t take the pain in my ankle any more and again begged my future husband to take me to the hospital. This cycle was repeated several times until finally, at three am, he gave up.

We were on a motorbike trip and had ridden from Atlanta to Destin on Florida’s “Redneck Riviera”, and this was our last night before the long five-hour ride back to Atlanta where we were living.

I was a trophy wife back then, still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. While the Mucho Man earned gazillions doing clever things for a big software company in down-town Atlanta I stayed in our toy townesque yuppie complex, working out in the gym, sunbathing by the pool and even cooking my noble benefactor supper when he got home from work. Those were the days.

But I digress. Let’s get back to the funny travel story ER incident.

Our motorbike was a Honda Gold Wing and, in case you’re not much of a biker chick (or boy), that’s a massive bike which looks much like a spaceship. Gold Wings have a sound system, cruise control, comfy padded seats and even arm rests for the pillion rider.

Honda Gold Wing image from

Our borrowed Honda Gold Wing looked much like the one in this photo from except ours was a classic seventies model and it was red.

Still, no matter how flash and comfy a motorbike is, unless you’re riding it, any trip longer than 20 minutes is boring. In my experience as a pillion passenger, any trip longer than an hour is torturous and any ride longer than two hours will stretch both biker and passenger to their limits.

Apparently I am the worst motorbike pillion passenger in the world too. Something to do with fidgeting, chattering non-stop and constantly poking my head over the rider’s shoulder to see where we’re going. What can I say? I get bored easily.

So there we were on our big motorbike trip to the pan-handle of Florida, affectionately known as the Redneck Riviera. We were there off-season, so there were no rednecks were to be seen, just beautiful beaches and even a turtle. We had fun.

That afternoon I’d been playing bat and ball on the beach with the Mucho Man when, in a daring attempt to return one of his bad shots, I fell awkwardly and hurt my ankle.

It wasn’t too bad at first but as the hours wore on it hurt more and more until finally I was in agony.

We finally set out in darkness to the nearest the hospital and emergency ward where I was x-rayed and told my leg was indeed broken. When the doctor broke the news I practically punched the air in excitement.

ER Travel Emergency

We went the long way to Destin, Florida (spot B) from Atlanta traveling via Savannah in Georgia. That was probably my silly idea.

The doctor was bemused by my reaction but I was vindicated. Not only was I right – there was something wrong with my leg – but now I wouldn’t have to endure the five-hour ride back to Atlanta on the back of the motorbike. It just wouldn’t work with one leg sticking straight out and covered in plaster.

We had travel insurance (I never go anywhere without it) so the cost of the emergency treatment, x-rays, painkillers, doctor’s consultancy and getting the leg put in plaster was all covered, along with my flight back to Atlanta.

I was delighted I didn’t have to endure the long ride on the back of the bike and noted the Mucho Man wasn’t complaining about making the journey solo either.

But my ecstasy was short-lived. Once home the reality of having a broken leg set in. Now I couldn’t drive, work out or swim. Even making supper while on crutches was tricky.

The next week a girlfriend took me to a local doctor as instructed to check how my leg was healing. Another x-ray, another large doctor’s bill and, unexpectedly, more good news.

“I don’t think your leg’s actually broken,” this new doctor told me. “I’m going to take this cast off, then you try walking on it and see how it feels.”

Gingerly I climbed down from the couch, tentatively I put some weight on my poor broken ankle and took a few baby steps.

“It feels fine,” I told the doctor, “it doesn’t hurt at all.”

“You seem to have a crack on your bone,” the doctor said taking another look at the x-ray, “but it looks like an old injury that healed many years ago. Have you ever broken your leg before?”


“Oh well, I guess the broken leg was a misdiagnosis but your leg’s fine now. You can go home.”

Dismissed I skipped out of the room and ran to my friend shouting with glee:

“It’s a miracle, I’ve been cured.”

A murmur of excitement rose through the waiting room but I had no time to explain my happy tale to the masses.

“Come on,” I said to my friend, “let’s go swimming.”

I thought the Mucho Man would be so pleased when he heard the good news and he was too.

“I told you there was nothing wrong with you,” he sniffed shaking his head.

Normally I hate to admit he’s right but this time I didn’t mind at all. It funny how things worked out rather nicely for both of us in the end.

The moral of the story

Always, always, always get good travel insurance cover because you never know when you might need it – even if it turns out you didn’t actually need it at all. I was lucky all my medical expenses and flights home were covered by my travel insurance or the Mucho Man would have had a real reason to be cross and it wouldn’t be a funny travel story at all.

This blog post was published on behalf of  Good2Go Travel Insurance. If you’re traveling within Australia or overseas you can get a quote from their website online or call their free hotline for instant cover. You could end up being very glad you did and, even if you don’t end up making any claims, the huge peace of mind you get from buying travel insurance is definitely worth the small investment.

Have you ever had a medical emergency when traveling? Or an imaginary illness?!

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  1. Seana Smith September 21, 2012 at 11:07 am - Reply

    LOL, I really am laughing aloud! That’s all so funny, but especially the: ‘It’s a miracle, I’ve been cured.’ Hooray for the memories of being a trophy wife, with no kids either. Best job in the world!

    Now then, my not-Mucho Man, is totally anti-insurance which I find annoying. When he’s abroad he’s working and insured by his company (I begged them to increase it when he worked in Yemen) but I do like to be insured when travelling and do it sneakily. What he doesn’t know….

    Ideally I’d love an annual worldwide insurance for anywhere, any time, any place… and then I’d like to go and blooming well make the most of it by whizzing all over the planet. But must be patient!

    • Annabel Candy September 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Lol, wish I could hear that:) That’s funny, my Mucho Man is a real stickler for it. He often insures us twice! It’s really not expensive when you consider what you get IF something goes wrong. But I think you need to travel a lot (maybe four or five times a year at least) to get the benefits of annual worldwide insurance.

  2. Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane September 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Great story, and how strange to have this “crack” show up on Xrays! I broke my leg in three places while living in Ghana, West Africa. And not just anywhere either, but 4 hours out of the capital in the rainforest.

    One of the things I did was straighten out my leg myself, being in animal-survival mode . . .

    As you can tell, I lived, and am fully ambulatory again. Here’s my lighthearted tale of it if anyone wants to read it:

    Love your story and how it all worked out so very nicely! I can assure you that vegging on the couch for weeks was no joke. My cast was up to mid-thigh, immobilizing my knee. Afterward I had to learn how to walk again, which was agony. Trust me, I’d have taken the hours on the motorbike instead ;)

    • Annabel Candy September 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Miss F,

      That sounds horrible! Especially the straightening it out yourself. Yes, definitely worse than riding pillion – esp. with such a lengthy healing time.

  3. QwkDrw September 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Enjoyed and was inspired by your unique travel story — with a very reasonable moral incorporated.

    The small town where we live is uber sophisticated and not at all satisfied to be anything close to stuffy. Many people in town do not work. Most have more money than they can spend and still look empathic. The concept of trophy husbands, or intimate partners, is not uncommon. One club has a membership of only ladies that drive red cars. Sports cars, mostly vintage models. Not all of the red car ladies are in their prime. Nobody notices. And the trophy men are satisfied and well respected.

    Our college graduate son traveled for three months before leaving our small town to work in a big American city that had use for newly minted engineers. Central American countries were on his itinerary this time, because he’d already been to Europe and had lived for a year in Australia while studying. He buzzed his hair short, packed his backpack with bare essentials plus a four piece collapsible hula hoop (it also went to the top of Half Dome — no problem), and visited a medical doctor for inoculations and three month courses of medication appropriate for jungle environments.

    One of the most reasonable things that this small town California native son did was buy travel insurance. Turns out that he didn’t need it for anything major. But he did report that the often crowded buses sometimes traveled crude mountain roads for hours between destinations — no problem


    • Annabel Candy September 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      Hi QwkDrw,

      Ooooh, he sounds like a worry. Glad he came home safe!

      I did some crazy things in my travels I hate to think of my children traveling like I did but I also want them to experience it. I will be so worried when they do. I’ll get them the best travel insurance which will even fly mummy out to them if they break a finger nail:)

    • Dave Doolin September 22, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

      Sounds like Danville. =)

  4. Barbara September 22, 2012 at 1:58 am - Reply

    So funny! I have a friend who inherited her family’s home in Destin. Such a coincidence. And yes, she readily admits it is the ‘Red Neck Coast’!

    Love how you’re handling sponsored posts! I’m trying to do some myself.

    • Annabel Candy September 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      Lucky lady, it’s a fun spot:) Thank you! I love working with advertisers who appreciate the advantage of getting a fun conversation going round their brand.

  5. Molly Kelash September 22, 2012 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Good one, Annabel! So funny how you were both happy in the end. :)
    On a side note —must have been around then that you attended my wedding, eh?

    • Annabel Candy September 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Molly,

      It was the same year – and what a great day it was – although we didn’t bike to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, we flew in – our Redneck Riviera biking experiences were probably enough for both of us!

  6. Robert Schrader September 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I have gotten emergency food poisoning — does that count? Interestingly, I attended college not far from Destin, and had an unfortunate ER experience one night following a spider bite. Not fun!

    • Annabel Candy September 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Robert,

      Sounds like you’ve had some real emergencies putting my imaginary ailments to shame! That must have been a fun place to go to college… apart from the biting spiders.

  7. Anne Galivan October 13, 2012 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Actually, Destin is certainly not the “Redneck Riviera,” though some might like to characterize it so. Yes, the Panhandle is full of rednecks – you will rarely find them though unless you like to hunt or hang out in a swamp on your swamp buggie.

    Destin, however, is a GORGEOUS resort these days. I imagine when you were there it was probably much smaller. But for those reading your travel posts, they should know that Miami’s beaches don’t even compare to Destin. And I say this as someone who lived in Miami until I was 32. I’ve lived in Tallahassee since 1995 and the beaches in the Panhandle have just amazed me. The BEST beach in Florida, as far as I’m concerned, is located on St. George Island, a state park that is on a small island that does have rentals available if you’re interested, but it does NOT have much shopping, dining, or anything else. It is best for a very laid-back vacation.

    Destin, on the other hand, has tons of shopping, dining, and nightlife. Sandestin, which is the premier resort there, has dozens of different types of lodging from brand-name hotels to 1- and 2- bedroom condos. I love it!

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