Monday, December 29
I awake with no intention of moving today. Bridget and I go for a walk.
I surf the web and reply to comments on this blog. Mid-morning I learn that a blast of arctic cold air is expected to move across the West. Tonto National Forest will be hit with cold and rain, maybe snow, by Wednesday.
Hmm . . . maybe we oughta’ move out of here . . .
Breaking my rule of moving camp early in the day . . .
It’s afternoon by the time Bridget and I motor toward Globe on Route 188. While in town I stop at Tractor Supply to pick up a bag of Hill’s Science Diet for Bridget ($32 as opposed to the $64 paid at the vet’s office in Pinedale, Wyoming). Bridget has a potty break at the edge of the parking lot and then we’re off to the Shell station for a fill-up.
For those of you who like to follow along with your map . . .
From there we take Route 60 past Oak Flat, go through Superior and journey on to Florence Junction. It’s a relief to be out of the mountains and into the valley — that stretch between Globe and Superior is pressured driving.
We head south and make a series of right angle turns following Route 287. Then it’s stop-and-go through a series of red lights as we move through Casa Grande to pick up Interstate 8. We go west to Gila Bend.
Bridget sleeps most of the way.
About ten miles beyond Gila Bend, I pull off the interstate at Exit 102. We come up to the back end of a Scamp travel trailer parked at the stop sign at the bottom of the ramp. I wait behind it for a few minutes and it doesn’t move.
Gee, maybe something’s wrong . . . .
I jump out of the Perfect Tow Vehicle to check on the driver.
An elderly gentleman sitting behind the steering wheel rolls down his window. A lady sits in the passenger seat. Both of them hold mostly-eaten sandwiches.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
“Oh, we’re fine!” the man replies. “We stopped for a bite to eat.”
I go back to the PTV, planning to drive around them. Before I do, the Scamp moves, crosses the road, and zips up the on-ramp.
Well, that was weird, having a little picnic on the off-ramp of the interstate. . .
Our destination is Painted Rock Campground and Petroglyph Site.
By this time shadows are long and dark across the road. It’s another eleven miles to the campground.
I’m familiar with the campground, having stayed overnight here a couple years ago when traveling to Ajo with friends, Bill and Ann. It’s a no-services, BLM campground ($8 regular/$4 with senior pass).
I drive the gravel road through the campground, looking to choose a site.
Up ahead the road widens. All of a sudden a head pops up out of the road like a jack-in-the-box!
“What was THAT?”
I pull up closer and park next to a hole in the ground. I’m ready with my camera when a face appears.
I put the lens cap back on the camera, and set the camera aside. As I’m about to move the PTV forward, out jumps the critter! He runs for the cover of creosote bushes along a wash.
Darn! Missed that shot! I note that his tail has a black tip. Gosh, I love the desert!
I back the PTV into a campsite.
The sun is setting. I get out to check how close the BLT is to being level. I’m not happy with the site — the PTV is on a slope. It will be dark soon. We’re only going to stay one night anyway. This will do fine.
I throw down a block of wood to bring up one side and move the BLT onto it. I get out again to check the level. The block of wood is too thick. I pull out some plastic level blocks that aren’t as thick, set them down, get back in the PTV, and . . . .
Let’s pause here, shall we?
Why do I have a personal rule to move camp early in the day and to arrive at the next camp before mid-afternoon? I’ll tell you why. Because, dear reader, if one drags into a new camp at sundown, something bad is bound to happen. I haven’t conducted a scientific study on this. I don’t need to and neither do you. You can trust me on this.
Okay, where were we? I climb back into the driver’s seat to move the Best Little Trailer forward onto the plastic blocks.
I cannot move out of parking gear! The shifter will not budge! Bridget hops around, whining and fussing to get out. (Bridget has an uncanny ability to choose the worst times to throw a fit.)
I stare straight ahead as I arrive at a full realization of our predicament.
Now what am I going to do? Here we are in the outer reaches of The Middle of Nowhere and I can’t get out of park . . . . Maybe the transmission fluid has run out . . . . Maybe the transmission is shot and . . . . No! I’m not going to think of that! I could call Good Sam Roadside Assistance. And be towed back to Gila Bend. Ugh!
She needs exercise before it’s too dark. I put her squirmy body in her black suit, grab the leash, and we walk around the campground.
I’ll check the transmission fluid level in the morning when I can see what I’m doing. No sense fussing with it today. No sense hurrying for a tow either. We can stay here for days, if need be.
I ask a guy with a travel trailer if he has any transmission fluid.
No, he doesn’t.
I ask a guy in a big Class A with two slides if he has any transmission fluid.
“I’m in the van over there and I can’t get it to move out of park,” I explain.
“Have you checked the fluid?” he asks.
I tell him I haven’t because it’s too dark.
“I’ll come over in the morning and take a look at it,” he says. Then he adds, “I’m not a bad mechanic.”
“Oh, thank you! That would be great!
I tell him my name is Sue. His name is Bill.
“See you in the morning, Bill!”
I finish setting up camp, set down a dish of kibble for Bridget, and fix myself a bowl of oatmeal. Well, we’ll see what tomorrow will bring.
To be continued . . . .
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