Monday, September 12
There’s something I failed to mention in the previous post. Well, not exactly “failed.” I didn’t want to cause concern so I left it out.
I’m talking about the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
When the crew and I roll into Red Rock Park, Gallup, New Mexico, on Sunday, after a long, hot drive across Navajo Nation, we don’t roll so much as clatter and rattle our way into the park. The PTV is making an awful racket, the kind where people stop what they’re doing to watch and listen as you drive by. That kind of racket.
As you know, Bridget, Reggie, and I spend a pleasant evening at Red Rock. The next morning I check the oil and transmission fluids. I add a half-quart of oil and we hit the road with me not knowing how I’m going to deal with the engine situation.
Rather than board the interstate, I take Route 118 around the south side of Gallup.
(I think it’s Route 118, not sure. It follows alongside the interstate for a while.)
There’s that noise again and it’s getting louder. I’d better get us off the road and figure out what to do. Oh, there’s a Family Dollar. I can park there . . . .
We approach the red light and I move into the right turn lane to go onto the cross street to Family Dollar. As I do this, the engine protests even louder, alarmingly so, as if pots and pans and hammers are being thrown around under the hood.
That’s when a most surprising and miraculous thing happens.
Think about this. Here I am in a strange city. I don’t know where anything is. I don’t want to fight my way through rush hour traffic looking for an auto repair place and I don’t want to spend another night in Gallup.
The PTV sounds like it’s going to explode or jettison itself into outer space — something not good, at any rate — and what appears out of nowhere?
I still shake my head in amazement as I tell this story.
Shortly beyond the Family Dollar, on the other side of the road, sits a Chevy dealership with a service department. . . just what we need!
I maneuver the PTV, which happens to be a CHEVROLET van, past the showroom and brand new cars to the service bays in back.
As I reach for the ignition key, the cacaphony under the hood stops.
What? Did the engine quit? The window is up so I’m not sure.
I turn off the engine and walk into the service department.
I explain the situation. The service guy glances at the PTV and says, “We’re gonna’ hafta’ unhook the trailer to look at it.”
“Could you come out and listen to it first?”
He follows me out where I lift the hood. I turn on the engine and the PTV purrs like a kitten with a belly full of warm milk.
“It must be a miracle!” Service Guy exclaims jokingly.
“Yes, it must be! I believe in miracles more than I do good luck!”
Service Guy checks the fluids and adds some power steering fluid, no charge. I thank him and ask, “What’s the name of this place anyway?”
“Amigo Chevrolet,” he replies with a smile.
I laugh, giddy with the turn of events.
“Amigo! Perfect! Thanks again!”
I hop into the Perfect Tow Vehicle and the crew and I head southward across Zuni Reservation.
You know what would be really weird?
If I drove back to Gallup to that intersection by the Family Dollar, and, looking across the road, all I see is an empty field. No Chevy dealership.
What a great ending to this story that would be!
~ ~ ~
Okay, on to our next camp!
Under a rapidly changing sky and a few minutes of rain, the Perfect Tow Vehicle makes nary a whimper as she carries us south on Route 602 and then west on Route 53.
At Zuni Pueblo I stop, buy an orange juice, and fill up the PTV with gas. Signs are set up across town, “No photography of religious and cultural activities.” To be on the safe side, I take no photos at all.
We cross the border into Arizona!
Route 53 becomes Route 61. Soon we’re going southward again, on Route 191. The PTV doesn’t let us down!
A few miles past St. Johns . . . .
“Okay, crew, we’re almost home! Let’s see what this place is like.”
“You can get out in just a minute.”
“There’s the lake!”
“We’ll stay for one night and then our drive tomorrow will be really short.”
Rather than join the few campers in the main campground, I choose a camp on the beach, all by ourselves.
In the next post . . .
Photos of our Lyman Lake camp and where we go next!
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