It was a long evening, waiting for AAA. Then, out of the inky blackness, a hero arrived. He came in the black super-pickup, attired in his signature costume of alligator boots and Texas wide-brim hat. Bill was here, to save the day!
Bill Lowery knows a thing or two about fixing automobiles, after having so many hundreds of buses and trucks as part of Christ is the Answer. He took the dog house off the engine, and began to work on it right away. Indeed, though taking an hour to drive up from his house for us, he was nearly done by the time AAA got there and towed us the 2,000 feet off the freeway, for only a few hundred dollars. While I went to get drinks for people just after sunset, he finished the work, and the RV was fired up and ready to go. (It's like Bill was a devout follower of Obama!)
We arrived at Bill's estate late at night, only one day late. The following morning I again woke up early before everyone else, and wandered about with the dog. Then I saw our true environs, like something from the African Bush.
About us roamed rattlers and scorpions, lizards and quail, rabbits and the occasional mountain lion. And exquisite falcons.
Inside the conversation roamed to the Jesus Movement days, and current politics. Bill's house was pure Texas, with a cowskin rug he'd skinned himself on the floor and a Texas Longhorns above the mantle. (I understand he wrastled the cow to the ground himself.)The second evening at the Lowery Estate approached with great anticipation, as I got to see Melissa, who I used to work with at GWA. She stayed an extra two years in Morocco, and so I had not seen her for a long time. But serendipitously, she was from Tucson, and lived only 10 minutes from Bill. And we had a great time catching up on the latest gossip over Mexican food.
The next morning, we were off, with a freshly refurbished RV. Though perhaps our first stop should have been a warning.
Entering New Mexico we were filled with gorgeous skies and sedimentary deposits.
The land broke out into gentle rolling hills, and then an approaching storm.
And thus, with a sputter and a growl, the RV ground to a halt up a steep hill, just beyond Truth or Consequences. It would start, but as soon as it was put into drive, the engine would stop. Brake lights worked, but those were the only lights. We finally gave up and called the police, but the New Mexico police told us that the freeways were outside the jurisdiction of their highway patrol. We called AAA for a tow and a mechanic, but they instead sent us a pickup with a non-affiliated mechanic. We spent the night at a hotel in Truth or Consequences while the mechanics worked on the RV.
This morning I watched my first 9/11 coverage. I hadn't realized that they cover it every year. In 2001 I was in Seattle traffic, and missed most of the attacks. In '02 I was in Alaska for National Marine Fisheries Service Observer Training. 03-06 was Morocco. I was just unaware and without cable in 07. So it was rather moving and gut-wrenching to watch the play-by-play of the planes flying into the towers. Like a bad movie, you know what's going to happen, but can do nothing to stop it.
The mechanics proudly returned to tell us this afternoon that it was all fixed. Just to be safe, as we were entering a region of steep hills, I detached the Saturn and drove behind. Since I could travel 20 mph faster than the RV, it wasn't till I was 35 miles South of Albuquerque that I got a call from my dad saying that the RV was again exhibiting exactly the same problems as before it was "fixed"- though they were only half an hour out of Truth or Consequences. Electing to try their luck rather than turning around, they got it running again, and met me in Belen. I followed behind, just in case it rained or got dark too soon. And as soon as we left the exit, the RV came to an irrevocable, gut-wrenching halt, signifying that all that had come before was a mere pause. It was as if the mechanics had done no work at all, but merely took $1200 from us.
Truth or Consequences indeed.