Making Memories On A Long Dirt Road

Making Memories On A Long Dirt Road

When not one but three signs tell you to turn around, you should probably listen.
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It had been a wonderful night with an even more wonderful person, but now it was time to see my family.

It was New Year’s Eve, and my boyfriend and I had just watched the Trans Siberian Orchestra rock their hearts out on stage, and were now starting our three-hour trek from Cleveland, Ohio to Hawking Hills State Park. It was dark and cold, and we were looking forward to spending time with great people, playing some games, and ringing in the new year.

Everything went smoothly, and we were nearing the end of our journey when our GPS told us to turn left down a dirt road. We stopped to read the massive road block which said, "Road Closed: Local Traffic Only." We assumed they just didn't want trucks on this old, dirt road, and we were going to a cabin in the middle of nowhere after all, so we proceeded on our trip.

A few minutes later, after driving on this dirt road with no lights and trees for miles on each side of us, we come upon another road block. This one is smaller, broken, and off to the side more so than the first one. We carefully drive his small Impala around the road block, and continue.

Shortly after, we see a huge, white boulder in the middle of the road. After several minutes of muscling the rock out of the road, we continue.

It's about 9 p.m. now and the GPS is still telling us we're on the right track when we come upon a massive wall of dirt...and a very definitive dead end.

The road ending was the least of our problems.

As we tried to back up to turn around, we realized something terrible: we had driven right into mud that was at least two feet deep.

To our left was the mound of dirt that seemed to defy the laws of physics and went almost 90 degrees straight up. To our right was a drop of just as steep as the dirt pile with no barrier other than a small piece of rope.

For two hours, we tried to pry the Impala from the clutches of Mother Earth to no avail. After a whole lot of stress bonding and both of us wanting to throw up (me from anxiety and him from over exertion) we decided to try to call for help. There was just one problem...

Neither of us had cell service.

It was clear that the road we were on had connected to the road we needed to be on at some point, but someone had decided to get rid of the connection. We could see the road we needed to be on, but we were doubtful that anyone could see use because of the dirt piled around us.

We managed to call his dad who then let my mom know we were trying to contact them but couldn't. I got in a few short phone calls to her, but both of our calls kept dropping, and our phones were almost completely dead after the long day we had had.

After a half hour, my phone finally got enough of a signal to find our location, and I sent it to my mom. We could see my aunt's truck on the road in front of us, but we had no way to flag them down. Even if we could have, there was no way for them to get to us from that side.

Finally, they saw us and back tracked until they found that long dirt road full of barriers we had embarked down over an hour ago.

They struggled to hook up straps to the Impala to pull it out because by now, we had dug ourselves into a hole so deep that you almost couldn't see its wheels. After many failed attempts and broken straps, we finally got one good pull in and could then just rock it back and forth to turn it around.

I watched my family to direct me because if I looked in the side mirrors, all I could see was how close I was to falling down that massive ledge.

After a whole lot of stress, sweat, and mud, we finally got it turned around and on solid ground again. We all happily returned to our vehicles and...

It was midnight.

Soon, we were all out of our cars again screaming "Happy New Year!" on a pitch black dirt road in the middle of nowhere, hugging each other tight, and thanking God we were safe and together again.

We had no idea that this was how we would be ringing in the New Year, but I don't regret going down that old dirt road, passed all the things telling us to turn around.

It reminded me to hold my loved ones just a little bit closer, and I learned that sometimes all it takes is getting a little mud on your tires to make a memory that will last a life time.

(Okay, maybe A LOT of mud in this case, and I'm good with just one memory like this one. No more road-blocked dirt roads for us!)

Cover Image Credit: Emmy Rinehart

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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An Open Letter To The Friend Who Continues To Save My Life

No one knows me like you do.

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From the day we became friends, we have always had nothing but support for one another. Although we have only really been friends for about seven years now, I feel as if you have always been a part of my life. You know me just as well as you know yourself, and I understand you in the same way I understand my own thoughts and feelings.

You have never made me feel pressured, insecure, or unappreciated. The mutual respect we have for one another is unmatched. We can talk to each other about anything; from some of the most trivial topics to entire life philosophies. We have grown and matured together, and I couldn't be more proud of the person you are today.

We don't always agree on everything, and I always appreciate your fresh point of view, but I have never felt more in sync with another person than I do with you. We share the same birth month, the same age, the same home town, the same anxieties, and many of the same attitudes and values.

I feel as if you know exactly when I want to be alone and when I need company. Since we are both introverted, we understand that the other person needs time to recharge. And when I'm sitting alone with nothing to do, I always get a text from you asking to hang out.

In some of my loneliest, most vulnerable moments, you have been there. When I question how many true friends I really have, you are always sure to make your love for me known.

Through high school, and now college, we have experienced so many life-changing events together. Some that have taught us extremely valuable lessons, and others that have shown us incredible pain and how to grow from our lowest moments.

I want to thank you for showing me what life-long friendship looks like. Thank you for always understanding me and never putting too much pressure on me. I see an incredible future for both of us no matter where each of our lives takes us.

We will always share a unique connection that cannot be separated by any distance. But, for now, I'm glad you're only one text or phone call away.

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