Forgiveness is the key to happiness and grace is the door to the peace beyond the mind. Rumi
"Grace is the door, grace is the door, grace is the door," how many times have I chanted this to myself as we travel. I want to say itas all sweetness and light as we set up to clear out of Jerome but the that was not the case.
I got out of the van the last morning in Jerome to check the oil and get ready to head out for Globe, AZ, and some more indigenous sites. To my absolute horror and my mechanic Michael is gonna flip when he reads this, my oil cap was missing. This is the second time. Michael berated me without mercy the last time he tuned up the van and found the oil cap off and laying on a ledge in the back of the van. At that point I took responsibility and assumed I had forgotten to put the lid back on after putting in oil.
He put the fear of God in me about what could happen on a dusty road if that cap was not on and I cannot believe I somehow just FORGOT to put that cap back on. But there it was, gone, completely. I absolutely panicked. I was running around the van like a chicken with its head cut off. I completely fell apart what with the anxiety of damage that might have been done to the motor, now long was it gone. Joe wasn't even out of bed when I'm practically screaming, "We've go to go to Cottonwood right now and find a mechanic, get an oil change. The oil cap is gone again!!!" My voice is quaking I'm so scared.
"Whoa, whoa," he's saying. "I haven't even taken pictures yet. The van has been here three days. Nothing will change whether we leave now or later. Calm down." And I tried. I was twirling around outside so conspicuously I guess a man across the street asked me was everything alright? Well no! He offered to help but there wasn't really anything he could do. So he just wished me luck.
I took some deep breaths and tried to calm myself. My insides were shaking so bad. I fashioned a cap from some fabric and a rubber band. Then I gave myself a small amount of reassurance when I checked the oil rubbing it through my fingers and determined that indeed it was smooth and I certainly didn't feel any grit. So I waited and while Joe hot his shots I walked around town to see if there were any VW mechanics in town. Of course not. But someone mentioned Oil Can Harry in Cottonwood so that is where I headed. Well that turned out to be one of those franchises and they just scratched their head at my VW. I have learned to only deal with VW mechanics so I went on into town. At the Autozone no one had a cap for a VW van. So I just left the my rag and rubber band in place.
As it so happens the van was driving like a dream and as we got closer to Phoenix I began to calm down just a little bit. Particularly because the van was driving so well. We kept our eyes out for a VW shop all the way through Phoenix but no luck so we pressed on to Globe. More auto parts stores, more questioning of residents, but still no VW references. By now a new oil cap and oil change is my only goal. We urban camped in WalMart after Joe visited the Besh Be Gawah ruins. I stopped at a NAPA dealer and tried again to get an oil cap. No luck but here I learned about a VW parts guy named Sparky who lived about 20 miles back through the mountain range I had just traversed. Oh no, we aren't out of those mountains yet. They are only getting steeper and higher.
Adding to my poor luck the dealer no longer had Sparky's phone number. Even if I had his number I was also having problems with my phone and it was of no use either. But whatever - James told me where Sparky lived as best he could in a trailer park back at the "Top of the World" community. I was ready to drive there right then since I couldn't call but Joe convinced me at five pm it was too late to head back up the mountain. Better wait. So we urban camped in a WalMart lot and I kept an eye out for VWs. There was one that passed us just as we got there, an old bug in the process of being repainted. I chased after it on foot but wasn't quick enough. However right there in the next lane was another VW. So I parked beside it and waited, thinking good thoughts.
Joe has been practicing mind control. He didn't even mention it to me for a while but some of his experiences were producing such good results that he finally brought the subject up. And of course I have been struggling with my form of mind control ever since I started the trip, so we embarked on the VW quest with some positive thoughts.
I parked beside that little VW and didn't let it out of my sight for five long hours. I had determined after two hours that the owner must be a WalMart "associate." As the night wore on I ascertained that my phone didn't work because the battery was low. I got out a portable battery and charged it up. One good sign.
It was after eleven pm when someone started the VW. It was a young Mormon looking clean cut kid named Cory. And just as I knew would happen because I mentally visualized it, Cory flipped open his phone and gave me Sparky's number right there. I KNEW if I waited by that VW long enough I would get the information I needed.