The Laughlin Trip

My family moved a month after I finished 8th grade, providing me the wonderfully crappy experience of starting high school with no friends. I'd seen the documentaries. You know them, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Breakfast Club," etc. So I wasn't scared. I was petrified. But during the first month of school, I met some guys. 30 years later, those guys remain my best friends. I'd like to tell you about them.

This is Deron. He's a graphics designer and has his own line of skateboard hangers. He has some sweet ink as well.

Greg is in IT. It's his boat that takes us on our adventures. His hair used to be much shorter.

John is the most generous of the crew, and also happens to be a fireman of almost 20 years.

This is Jon, without an H. He works in housing and elevates trip adrenaline by 80%. He's also the most musical of the guys.

Chad is the most interesting of the group. He's seen and done it all. I can listen to his stories for hours, and often have.

We made our first trip to Laughlin as a group in the late 80s, as high school juniors and seniors. But trips became less frequent over the years. Stuff like work, mortgages, families and other responsibilities limited the gatherings. But after 9/11, we took stock of our friendship, making a renewed commitment to an annual trip.


Imagine the old parts of Vegas, not the shiny billion dollar Strip resorts but the downtown joints stuck in the 1960s. Now drop it next to the Colorado River and voila! Laughlin.

The guys live in Southern California and Arizona. I'm in Chicago, so I fly into Vegas and make the hour and a half drive down to Laughlin alone. It gives me the time to reflect, on lasting friendships and unbreakable bonds. And the opportunity to ponder, what new memories will be created.

"Some people can't stand being alone. I love solitude and silence. But when I come out of it, I'm a regular talking machine."

Celine Dion

We spend a lot of the time on the water. We swim, do back flips off the bow and wakeboard. Some of us aren't as good as the others.

"Do or do not. There is no try."


Afternoons are reserved for The Cove. We float in the cool, tranquil waters sipping beers and making new friends. Some even leave lasting impressions.

The dinners are more like banquets. There are toasts and laughs, plenty of each. We do theme nights: buffet, steak, Mexican and In-N-Out. I call this my "table for one."

There are a lot of shenanigans. Guy #1: Did someone pack the "chlamydia?" Guy #2: Uh, no. Not this year.

One year, I replaced one of the guy's Fruit Punch Gatorade with this delicious surprise.

Something like this happens every three or four years.

We usually don't fare too well at the casinos. Might be some flawed gambling strategies.

But the best parts of the trip are like this, a whole lot of nothing going on.

While my a** is in the water 97 percent of the time, the three percent above is pretty sweet.

"Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget." - Anonymous #roadtrip #friends #travel #lakemojave #laughlin #wakeboard #memories #fun #stellerstories #places #action Twitter: albertliu71 Instagram: albertliu71

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  • doobie240

    What a great story Albie. Makes my hair stand up and butterflies in my stomach......until next year....


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