Hello reader! This is an English essay I've written for the prompt "a memorable experience".
It was a pleasant day in March in Dulzura, California. Many people would associate the place as the “middle of nowhere”, but that middle of nowhere was my beautiful neighborhood. Mountains lined the horizon, the sun peeking through the clouds just above them. A fairly nice evening, a bit chilly though, so I had stayed inside most of the day watching a couple movies and laying on my bed looking through my computer. On a day like this where I spent most of my time on my devices meant that my dad wanted to make me do something outside soon. I knew what came when I heard footsteps coming outside my bedroom door. I had expected the usual “Go brush the horses,” or “Go ride your bike,” from my dad but this time it differed.
“Put some jeans on, we’re going on a ride,” my dad commanded, peeking in through my door. He left as abruptly as he came. I shrugged, not thinking much about it. I thought we were just going on a bike ride through the neighborhood. Little did I know that this would be one of my scariest (and most memorable) experiences in my life.
“Where are we going?” I asked him as soon as I got some jeans on.
“We’re going on the quads- go get your helmet and boots,” he replied, putting his own boots on. We normally rode our quads in circles in the field in our backyard so I went outside, not too worried about going on them. I trembled timidly, my mind flashing back to our previous quad ride when my dad made all sorts of twists and turns, at some points popping a couple of wheelies. I’ll just ride mine in a straight line, thank you very much, I thought to myself.
I went to get my helmet and gloves that had been waiting for someone to use them all year inside the trailer. I shared my helmet with my mom since I did not enjoy the other one we had. Besides, my mom rarely used her quad so the pink helmet with black and gray bulldogs on it was practically mine. Sure, it looked a bit goth, but I thought I looked cool in it. I pulled the heavy helmet on gingerly, trying not to rip my earrings out of my ears in the process, grabbed my gloves, and headed for my dad's workshop where he kept our four wheelers.
My dad filled up the air on the tires of his white and blue quad that seemed rather dirty. Mine waited in the back of the workshop. The loud sound of the air compressor vibrated around the small structure as I went around and opened the massive metal door. The bright yellow color of my quad came into view.
“Hello, Bumblebee,” I murmured, patting the small vehicle. I looked at my hand to find it covered in soot. I stood up on it, not wanting to make any contact with the brown film of dirt and dust that covered the entire quad. I pushed the key into the small hole and turned it. After turning the switch that enabled the quad to use gas, I pulled the choke plug and pressed a small button with a little lightning bolt on it. The quad hummed to life as I twisted the handle for the gas. Vroom, vroom! The noise of both the quad and the compressor now echoed across our backyard. I went into first gear and slowly pulled Bumblebee out of the workshop and into our driveway to do some cleaning. Turning it off, I grabbed the hose and began to wash all the soot off of the bright yellow quad. My sister came outside after hearing the sounds of our quads.
“Me wan’ go too!” she shouted, beginning to come towards my dad who had just pulled up.
“No, we’re gonna go bye-bye today, it’s too long of a ride. You can’t come,” my dad explained to the excited three-year old. My sister’s excitement faded as she went inside glumly. I switched my quad off. We were going for a long ride?
“Where are we really going?” I asked my dad, beginning to get worried.
“Just a ride through Marron Valley,” he replied, smacking his quad with a rag. We lived on Marron Valley Road, so it seems weird for me to never have gone to Marron Valley, but I have never been there. It looked a bit too dangerous for my taste. I went inside while my dad finished up cleaning the quads to grab my small tote bag and sweater. Oh well, no getting out of this one.
We turned on our quads again and revved up, facing the big hill which pointed towards the exit to our property. My dad zoomed across the driveway, already at the top of the hill by the time I had just barely gotten to start going up. He took a right and we drove on for about five minutes until we reached a small gate. My dad got down and opened it and we entered a large plain, the mountains that normally seemed small from our house, now loomed above us like massive sleeping giants. I drove fairly slowly so my dad had a pretty big head start on me. He disappeared around every turn we took, each time my heart raced in fear. I lost him several times until he reappeared when I rounded that turn. I looked to my left to find that we have been riding on a mountain the entire time. I slowed down even more, looking down at the plain dotted with trees and vegetation that now seemed more like a plate full of salad.
My dad stopped ahead of me as I pulled up next to him. I pushed my foot down and went into neutral. “You have to keep up!” he shouted over the loud buzzing of our engines, “You can’t go so slowly, not even in first gear, it’s bad for the quad!” Oops. This was it… I had to go fast now. My dad began to go as I gripped the handlebars tightly. The strong odor of gasoline wafted up my nose as I put my foot under the small lever that switched the gears. Slowly, I started accelerating until I began catching up with my dad. I stuck to the side of the mountain, not wanting to accidentally fall off.
For five minutes the ride was pretty easy going. That is until the dirt stopped being solid. Heck, this is not dirt, it is sand! I thought to myself. The tires began rumbling beneath me, shaking the quad. The handle bars pulled me in a different direction - towards the mountain. I slammed my foot on the brakes just as I began to collide with the curb. I panted, my heart practically jumping out of my chest. I pulled the handlebars away and began to go again. Please God, do not let me crash. Let me get home safely please, I began murmuring frantically to myself. My quad began to start going in the direction of the mountain again. No, no, no. My dad stopped this time, turning off the quad and walking towards me. I turned mine off as well. Did I break it? Was this because I went too slow?
“Maryah, calm down.” His voice muffled due to the large helmet he had on his own head, “You’re in control here. The only problem is you don’t know how,” he said to me.
“T-the quad keeps pulling me into the ditch and into the curb--” I began.
“That’s because you’re riding in the sand. You have to go in the middle of the path where it’s not as loose,” he explained. Oh. Seriously? We both turned our quads back on and resumed our voyage. My hands shook as I struggled to stay in the center of the road. Just a little bit longer and we would be back home. I found myself singing one of my favorite songs before long. Through the tears, through the pain comes a new day, we rounded another curve, this time I did not get pulled in as much. Blown away, still amazed You pursue me, ain’t no limit to the way you love. We seemed to be getting pretty high, but I did not notice over the breeze that refreshed the musty air inside my helmet. Oh but you know me so well, I can be a little punk sometimes, I smiled, now singing the chorus of the song with renewed confidence. Everything zipped past me in a blur of black, brown and the occasional magenta wildflowers.
So don't leave me, leave me alone, bust down the door to my heart like it's Your home, don't need no keys, I'm on my knees begging You please. I've gotta settle this thing once and for all, You got my heart, my soul, You can have it all. I'm on my knees beggin' You please, beggin' You please Lord, don't leave me alone!
My heart raced, but this time, not from fear, but from absolute exhilaration and excitement. So much I did not even realize that we reached the top of the mountain.
“Whoa…” I murmured in awe, taking my helmet off to get a better view. Grass and trees - everywhere - the entire landscape was green! Purple and orange splotches surrounded the area. I looked down at a large lake that sat at the edge of the mountain. The perfect image of the mountain we stood on reflected in the lake. Like a gigantic mirror lying at the bottom of the valley, the lake sat there, not a single ripple in sight.. A small breeze blew through the area, carrying the pleasing scents of sage and other wild flowers. It is amazing! I exclaimed to myself. Suddenly, it seemed ridiculous for me to have been so afraid on the way here. I was just overthinking everything!
The sun was beginning to set, barely peeking above another mountain. The sky, now tinted pink, began to dim as the stars finally came into view. Me and my dad stayed in Marron Valley for about fifteen more minutes.
My dad got up, putting out his hand to help me up, “We should leave, it’s getting dark.” The fifteen minute ride back had to be the best one I have ever taken. Bumblebee buzzed cheerfully as I whooped happily. I took my goggles off the helmet, letting the fresh evening air fill my helmet up. Best. Quad ride. Ever!
Sure, at first that ride was a bit traumatic, but afterwards I began to look forward to our next quad ride. I realized that I should not have been freaking out so much and overthinking everything. I just had to take a moment to stop, think, and proceed -with caution if necessary. After this experience, we started doing more rides in unknown areas and I enjoyed them more each time. I still do get a little scared to begin with, but I just remember (as cliche as it sounds) you’ve just gotta keep calm and carry on.