I’ve never really been a mushy person who falls for sap stories about bonding and how long it took for the people bonding to break through the awkwardness, until the summer of 2007, when a travel experience changed all of that. My foster dad, who happened to be my uncle, and I had gotten along passively well. It was a relationship that was amiable, but it never progressed anywhere further than that. The relationship became even more strained when I learned that he had cancer and that it was likely to take his life. In the months that followed my dad began to experience life as he never had before, and so begins the story of how traveling brought my dad and I closer together.
It was June 2007, my dad and the whole family were going for a road trip to the Colorado River. It’s a five hour drive from San Diego California, to Bullhead City, Arizona our destination, knowing my family the ride would be eventful. On the way to bullhead there are lots of tourist attractions like ghost towns, amusement parks, and museums. My dad figured since we had never been out past San Diego, that we hit the ghost towns. We went to Calico, a ghost town right smack dab in the middle of the desert. Joy. It was 110 degrees outside, and I was not eager to join the fun with a man named Ranger Dan who was to be our guide through the mines and the house that defies the law of reality. In other words I would be traipsing through the desert walking in a claustrophobic mine encrusted with fake jewels and getting an extreme case of vertigo from a house that is gravity challenged. I was not a happy camper. The first leg of out journey passed without enjoyment for me, and it seemed like I was in for a long weekend. At length we reached the house. It was late and we all went to sleep in preparation for the next day at Lake Mohave located in Nevada about an hour out from Bullhead.
When we got to Lake Mohave, I was astounded. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. The sheer cliff faces looked as though they had been carved by the most masterful carpenter. I was always afraid of water and so I didn’t have the inclination to take a jet ski out on the lake and go explore the beautiful landscape that was in front of me. Had my dad not taken me out, I would still be afraid to this day. When he took me out on the Jet Ski, he showed me the mountain goats and the birds, and the shallow waters where the fresh water lobsters and small fish bred. I had never traveled before this and I was amazed that there was this much life and beauty in the world besides what was outside my own home. Though we said little to each other, we both understood that this place had brought us together in a way that neither of us could understand. I remember the last thing that he said to me that day, “Olivia, I am going to die, without having seen the world, you are young and outgoing, and you need to take advantage of the beauty that is out there waiting for you.” I encourage you all to go to Lake Mohave and experience the simple beauty and pleasures that await you there. You won’t regret it, I know I don’t.
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