Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello from Moab

We pulled into town Sunday.
The sun was straight up in the sky.  It was about 100 degrees.  The children are relieved to be here.  Somewhere.
At the first stoplight (the highway goes through town), I go to move after the light turns green, and "No."
"Nope.  Not going."
"What?!?" C'mon.
"Nuh uh."  No shifty engagey.
Clutch pedal goes to the floor, and stays there.  I pull it up, but it means nothing.  Grindy, grindy.
Shit!  Turn on hazards.
"Nope.  Won't do it."
Oh god.
Honk!  "Stupid person!  I have my hazards on!  Go around me!"
"I'll push you to the side," says husband.
"Think it's the master cylinder?" Asks me.  Which sounds terribly important and very, very expensive to me.
We've known it needed to be done at some point, but it's a four hundred (plus plus plus, no doubt) repair job, so we wait since it's not an  immediate problem.
"I'm hot!"  I know, Darling." Then... "Uh... maybe if we sit in the shade, and let the engine cool off, it will work again?"
Can't check in at the hotel 'til three, (who's idea was that, anyway? an annoying policy, if you ask me) so we hang out near the truck behind a building, under a tree, no one's around.  Eric fumes silently.  I try to not catch on fire from his blast.
"I think I saw our hotel sign up there, off that last street, want to come with me to see if that's it?" I asked the babes.
We loaded up ice water, and headed for our two block walk.
I truly wasn't all that worried.  I knew that it would be fine--it always is.  I mean--we broke down as we rolled into town, for heaven's sake.  Not on a dirt road on a redrock mountain, and not on the highway, a hundred fifty miles from home in the middle of the desert.
But I sure was wishing that it was three o'clock!
We get back from our jaunt (was a little light-headed from the heat, over a hundred, now, and we're not acclimated) and we don't talk about the car, as Eric is emitting these toxic fumes, still, and I'm battling The Darkside, here, as I know everything will turn out alright (that's just his way--stuck in the desert, gotta take care of the family) so we hang for a few minutes, then with a half hour left, "Wanna walk to our hotel with me?  We can see if we can check in early, or at least park our truck over there."
"No", they say.  "Then, "Yeah, I'll come with you."
Maddie and I walk over, and the man at the desk (of the Rustic Inn) is really nice (I think it's his place)
and we have a little awkward moment of communication, as I'm a bit undone by the circumstances, and he isn't sure if I'm checking in, but I'm asking if I can park my car here, and it's a quarter 'til four, "Oh, I thought your clock was wrong", "Maybe you're coming from the west coast?"  "Nope, Salt Lake, isn't the time the same?"  "Oh, our clutch...."  "Ah.  I'd send you to my guy, but he's always two weeks out, every time I call him, but I've heard this guy is good."
So we have a name.  And here's Eric, pulling in. 
At least the truck made it this far.
It's Sunday afternoon, and at least we're in the room, now.  Not sure how long we're staying, and how this is gonna all play out.
We'll let the truck sit, and see if it acts normal tomorrow.  Then we'll call Marty, and figure out what to do.
Monday morning comes, and the truck has not changed its mind.  It's speaking very loudly and very clearly.  Damn it.
"It could take a week to repair it.  Why would a small town like this have our parts?"
"I disagree, Babe." says brilliant me. "This is four-by-four country.  These people know rigs like ours.  4Runners and Jeeps everywhere.  It's what they do."
"You're right.  I didn't think about that."
Still, our truck has sat at our mechanic for days and days, waiting on parts.  And many, many times with an eight hundred plus dollar repair bill. 
How would we make do with that?
Well... the mechanic we've been referred to rents cars.  So if we needed to, we could just stay the one more night (that we've paid for, already), and Eric could take us home.... when our truck was ready he could drive back down here.... we'd be paying for the rented car, but not the rented car and the hotel.... Yeah, that would work.  Okay.  Moment of uncertainty over.
After that I was able to feel my way through it, and still really felt that it was fine.  The whole thing just happened too perfectly for it to end disastrously.  (And really, we don't experience horrible things from life, but rather many, many blessings.)
You know, Stephanie, this could turn out to be a really good thing.
Yes, it could.  I know that.  I'm starting to think that's exactly what this is.
I mean, optimally, this could be a two hundred dollar repair.
It could. (There might have been a tiny bit of skepticism in that voice, but certainly no sarcasm.)
I mean--we're fine!  the room is clean and big, we have a (regular size) fridge in our room, and plenty of food and a kitchen counter, a pool to cool off... We should just go play, at least for today, and call the mechanic tonight to see what he says.  Can't stay around here pacing, and being afraid all day.
Right.  Because what if it turns out alright?  Then you'll have wasted a whole day!

So I've called the mechanic, and he seems nice, and I say "master cylinder" and he says "could be that, or could be.... " some other thing in there, I don't know what it's called.... bring it in... he doesn't give me any idea of cost.
Take it in, get a rental from him.
Off we go, into the desert.  Breakfast, first.
Off to see dinosaur bones.
And then footprints.
An' it's hot out there.  Heavily iced water turns warm in about ten minutes, and I am absolutely not exaggerating.  It's damn hot.  But somehow, we're not miserable and cranky from the heat.  (We all have our turns for other reasons, but not the heat.  :) )
Bones and footprints are totally cool! 
"Do you want to just drive over to the mechanic?  Then you can talk to him, too?"  Eric gets mad that I always ask a million questions after he talks to someone like that, and he doesn't know or forgets some of the answers.
"Yeah, let's just drive over."
The door was open, and seeing our truck in the garage with the hood up and someone leaning over it was reassuring--at least they were trying, and hopeful.  It wasn't ditched with a "Dead" sign hung on it out on the dirt driveway.
"Did you get my message?" asks The Guy.  Pat is his name.  
"No... we just stopped by because we were close...."
"The master cylinder was bad, and so was the..... " that other one that he had mentioned.
"Can you fix it?"
"I think we should have it done in an hour, by five."
Gulp.  Oh my.
"Here's the invoice... here's the part, here's the part, here's the labor...."
$262 something.  Dude.
Dear Universe.  I know you know, but really.  My gratitude.

So then it's dinner and swim....

and now it's morning.

And we're going out to play.

We'll see you tonight.  With postcards from Moab.


  1. SWEEET! Have a great trip!

  2. Oh-so-glad it worked out! And glad to hear from you...I've missed you!

  3. I had a bit of a cry when I read this - what a lovely story (although it probably didn't feel so lovely at the time).

  4. Right. On. have a wonderful trip...

  5. Very nice!! I love your attitude :)

  6. aaawww, what wonderful memories of Moab i have. if it's still there, pay a visit to Back of Beyond Books. one of the best book stores i ever met.

  7. oops - that wasn't really dan, though i'm sure he'd like this story. twas i!

  8. Good to hear from you again!

  9. It's so nice to get out of town. I'm hoping to either in August or December. Glad things worked out with your truck. I know the feeling....we've been having troubles with our van. Hope you have a fabulous gateway!

  10. first- i must say, the universe is amagical magical place.

    second-moab itself is also quite magical and brought our little family quite the lesson and experience.

    looooooved this

  11. P.S. I've passed on a blog award to you, but I know lots of bloggers don't do the award thang...just wanted to let you know I appreciate the wonderful moments you have captured here. TC

  12. Still in Moab? Miss you! Hope you're having fun!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!