The sun glints across the windshield and then dissolves behind a cloud. My dad reaches behind me and rustles around for my sunglasses. He throws them on my lap and makes a comment about how I always seem to be the one driving into the sun. Zion is behind us now and we are full steam to Las Vegas. My mother’s flight gets in around 11pm. We will pick her up, and then the next day they will continue onto Sedona while I wander off into the rocks. Wagon and I.
As the mountains of Utah smooth and sink, I start to fall into the moment. This is probably one of those times you want to remember, as you get older; That time, when you drove 3500 km to Las Vegas with your Dad. He asks to hear another one of those podcasts and we play one that talks about adventure and travel and danger and living on dimes and seeing family on holidays, maybe. He listens and chuckles when the voice mentions worried parents or anecdotal discomfort. I keep my hands on the wheel and squint into the silhouettes and the perspective lines I am following. The story ends with mentioning some glorious moment of perfection; sending a flaming car into the Indian ocean or getting success as a climbing photographer after years of shoestring living. “ I can see you doing that, Laur” he says after the music chimes in to end the episode.
I tell him about the times I hitch hiked across southern Ontario, the time that me and my friend, Camber went up our first multi-pitch trad climb with strangers in Colorado, I point out the Chrysler town and country that resembles the rental that my partner and I got last year after a bear tore the door off our car in Yosemite. He asks what those metal things are called again. “ Pro, they are nuts and cams.” “ Oh ya” He nods. He asks me if I have named my car. I nod and smile. “Wagon” I say, allowing the corners of my mouth to twist up. “ WAGON?” he answers. “ That’s not a name…” “ Not when you say it like that dad! Its more like wah- gon.” I answer.
My dad tells me the stories of his dad, whom I never met. He tells me about his midnight snacks as a kid and how he almost went to teachers college, and but finally got into med school. He tells me about his own adventures. I ask him about his brothers, about his Dad. “ You know… your mother and I have been married longer than we haven’t been” he mentions. “ Yea I know dad… you should be in a zoo, you’re a rare species.” I joke.
As the towers and lights of the strip appear on the horizon, traffic drifts out of no where, drafting us on both sides. We float into a stream of exhaust and traffic lights and for the first time I realize that I might actually get lonely without him.
A brilliant red velvet hangs above us, falling backdrop to the lights of a black Egyptian pyramid on the strip. We are both tired, both short tempered and neither of us have any idea how to navigate Vegas. But I hold onto the moment as long as I can. That moment when you are just traveling, driving into the sunset with your father.