It is near midnight. My dad, in an Excursion filled with teenage boys, is frantically looking for a hotel. We had played two or three games that day in sweltering hot Palm Springs, but we had forgotten to find a place for us to stay overnight. People had flocked in from all over the country for an annual car show held in the area, making it a mission impossible.
We all knew from the start that my dad was not willing to drive back home, nearly three hours, so we were beginning to grasp the fact that we might have to sleep in the car. This was not an option for my dad. We must have stopped at every hotel along the 10 freeway, but that did not stop him. While driving near the renowned wind turbine generators I think the Big Man himself was giving us a sign that we should stop. In the rear view mirror we saw a four-door sedan get turned completely around, then smash into the center divider. While everyone was in awe of what they just saw, this did not stop my dad.
As the night became darker and the time passed by people began to fall asleep. I was not one of them. I was always my dad’s co-pilot up front, making it the best seat in the house. He was always one to give anyone and everyone the best that he could. Whenever the team would travel and have to spend the night away he would always accommodate those who were not a part of the family with the same lodging he received – always the best. This time was different however. As we continued to drive and continued not to find a hotel we found ourselves in Riverside. My dad was not too enthused, but we go off the freeway and found a run-down motel. This place looked like it was straight out of a movie, the ideal spot for anything your mind can think of, but we checked in anyway.
Now there were three different rooms we had that night and each one has a different story to tell. Whether it was the mysterious tapping that occurred in room 201, or the man from the news knocking on room 205, each one was an experience. In the morning you could tell how disappointed my dad was to have placed us in this situation, but he always found a way to make light of it. In the car, as we drove away, he turned to all of us and said, “Don’t tell your parents that we stayed at the Crack-House Inn!”
My dad is the greatest person I have ever known . He will always be my hero. I think about him every day and this story is one of the many that I know I can cherish forever.
I love you, Dad.