Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 16: Cowboy Cavalry

Sunday, June 22

Fast Facts
Starting: Arizona (Phoenix)
Ending: Arizona (Wilcox)
Today's Mileage/Total Mileage: 203 mi (326 km)/3415 mi (5495 km)

We were supposed to spend tonight in New Mexico.

Then again, a car is supposed to shift gears when you ask it to.

Let me back up a bit. Yesterday, amongst the trains & the pizza, we had the oil changed in our car - seeing as how we'd hit the 3000-mile-mark and all. Today, we went to church this morning with our friends, and in general had a nice leisurely lunch before hitting the road.

Before we jumped onto I-10 (realizing in a bittersweet moment that we were now heading East instead of West), we stopped at a gas station to fill the tank and realized it was a little hard for Husband to shift into Park. But it did shift in the end and had no trouble going into Drive afterwards so we thought very little of it. Husband convinced me to drive this portion because it was supposed to be uneventful & he could get some work done.

Now, if you look at a map of I-10, you quickly realize that there is NOTHING out there in New Mexico or Texas. So, in the interest of having enough gas, we decided to stop in the last known point of civilization: Wilcox, Arizona.

However, now the car REALLY didn't want to shift into Park. Both Husband & I sat there pushing with everything we had, until we thought we'd succeeded & could turn the engine off.

All was well until Husband tried to restart the car. Nothing happened. Furthermore, the car was really only in Neutral (as we discovered when I leaned a little too hard on one side. Good thing for emergency brakes!). While I muttered vile things at the oil-change folks, Husband called AAA. The lady there was full of information - once she figured out where we were (because saying you are at a Texaco in the middle of nowhere is not helpful), said she had a tow truck on the way and she even found a repair shop close by, though she was sure it wasn't open on Sunday.

So, we figured that since we were stranded in Wilcox, we might as well make the best of it. There was a Days Inn across the street, so Husband went & got a room. I took the kids to the McDonalds playground next door (because even if you go to a distant planet, there will be a McDonalds there), and Husband stayed at the gas station waiting for the tow truck.

About a half hour later, a pickup truck swung into the gas station parking lot, and stopped right in front of our car. Two crusty cowboys - complete with hats & overalls hopped out & sauntered over to Husband.

Cowboys: So, your car won't start?
Husband: (seriously hoping they are the tow truck people or mechanics and not crazy folks who get their kicks out of stranded people): Um... no?
Cowboys: Yeah, we're the mechanics from the shop back there and wanted to get your car fixed before quitting time if possible.

Turns out, the auto repair place was right behind the gas station. And they had the car fixed in about 5 minutes - turns out the battery cover had popped off & there was a hunk of plastic sitting in the gear shaft.

I took back the mean things I said about the oil change people, the cowboys filled out all the paperwork, and Husband paid them.

The night of AC and cable television in the hotel room? Almost made the heart attacks worth it!
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