Ewok

I was in need of a treat to myself before returning to Texas.

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One of my new Canadian friends referred to my adventure as a “roadie.” I liked that descriptor, specifically since it spoke to the road trip nature of my adventure. I was feeling mixed emotions about my roadie coming to an end and my adventure taking me by air. I’ve developed such a sense of comfort living out of my car for the last two months that I’ve wondered how I’ll fare with air travel again.

After thinking about the last leg of my trip from California to Texas I wanted to give myself a little gift and end the roadie with a bang. While on the road it’s easy to treat myself. It doesn’t take an extravagant piece of jewelry or a fancy bottle of wine. Experiences and nature are what fills my heart with joy so what better way to treat myself than a visit to Grand Canyon National Park?

Before I left from California to head to Arizona I wanted to spend time with family in Long Beach. My visit to Long Beach, California would make the third “Long Beach” I would visit in two weeks. The others being Long Beach, British Columbia and Long Beach, Washington.

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During the weekend visit I had the pleasure of befriending an animal that happens to resemble one of my favorite creatures from childhood. He’s built like a bulldozer and has a meatball personality. We instantly bonded as he’d wake me up in the mornings and greet me by joining me on the bed. The only thing he’s missing to complete the ensemble cast of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a leather outfit and spear (walking on two legs may help too).

In addition to spending the weekend with an Ewok I had warm family time with two of my favorite people, my uncles. We had a lazy weekend watching movies, sharing conversation over wine, and going out for breakfast. During my visit they hosted a small dinner party for close friends and I had the pleasure of getting to know them better while enjoying some tasty homemade chili.

On the way from the sequoias to my uncles’ house an indicator light on my car illuminated. It alerted me that my oil level was low, so I pulled over at the nearest gas station as soon as I could. My dad, being a car guy, sent me off on my adventure with an extra quart of oil to keep on hand for exactly this circumstance. I was awkwardly fumbling the bottle in an attempt to pour the oil in the engine without a funnel when I heard someone come up behind me. “Want to see a trick?” is all he replies. Smirking, I asked if he means with the car. Sensing my crude sense of humor he laughs and heads to his truck bed to grab an empty water bottle.

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A couple of seconds later American ingenuity makes an appearance with the creation of a funnel out of an empty water bottle. My car was so low on oil I had to go inside the gas station to purchase another quart. Mr. American Ingenuity continued to surprise me with this gentlemanly nature. As I returned to my car I’m surprised to catch him checking the air level in my tires. He continued the niceties by advising me on some warning signs to be aware of since my car shouldn’t have used that much oil.

Even though I’ve resolved to tell myself to expect good things from all people I am always still caught off guard when I witness general kindness and human decency. I was so thankful to have met Mr. American Ingenuity and I made a mental note to pay forward the kindness he showed me to the next person I encounter that’s in need of help.

As a result of the low oil scare I went ahead and had my oil changed while in Long Beach, and made sure to monitor the level for the remainder of my journey. Leaving the comfort of family I headed to the desert for the first time since my a*s kicking in Moab and wondered what it had in store for me this time.

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