Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beatlick Travel Report: The Oil Cap Travails

Date: Mar 20, 2009 2:16 PM

So bright and early the next morning I am calling "Sparky" the VW guy, my phone works fine, and he's on the line by 7:30 a.m. He says come on up so I retrace my steps back up the mountain 20 miles to the Top of the World community and after a few missteps find Sparky and his trailer. I thought he was a mechanic but he only sold parts. That meant I wasn't getting an oil change. But he had all I needed and sold me a new oil cap and dip stick. He assured me the oil was fine and I would be alright. God I love VW people, they are the best in the world. I want my mechanic to know I did get an oil change and the van is performing perfectly so all is well.

Well I wish I could say the day progressed well after that but as we headed toward Springerville our destination to yet another Indian ruin the mountainous terrain just got worse and worse. Within two hours we were in a vast mountain range yet again. What? Bavaria, Switzerland? Now this is four days of driving in this crap that I had no intention of ever entering. I started bitching again. How did I get into this situation? What went wrong with the plans that put me in this position? I will have to monitor Joe's navigating. With no apparent thought of the terrain he had just taken the most direct route to all these places out of Quartzsite and never gave a thought to elevation. We have a new agreement now that I will double check his routes before we head out next time.

Within two hours I swear to God we are in a blizzard. We are past the Continental Divide and in a vast Indian reservation with a SKI SLOPE. Excuse me. The wind is whipping up and snow drifts are crossing the highway, there is a snow plow on the road and a virtual whiteout in my immediate vision. Nag, nag, nag. I just couldn't believe it.

Well we made it to Springerville and found a nice food store parking lot. We settled in and prepared to visit the Indian ruins. It was absolutely the coldest night we have experienced since we hit the road last November. The worst cold yet. I had only two really warm days on this whole damn trip and here we are again freezing. Nag, nag, nag.

Before we got to bed that night though I assure you Joe went to bed a happy man. I did feel bad for all my complaining. And I'm trying so hard not to complain but every day it seems like another challenge awaits me and I'm beginning to wear down. So I let Joe know how much I love him and thank him for his patience.

Next morning we head out to the Indian place and sure enough, conflicting with all printed material, the place is closed. Budget cuts, what else. And it was going to be closed on Monday as well. Considering the temperatures at night that is the end of the line for Joe and his Indian ruin quest for now.

I feel really bad about Joe missing out, still, it is with real relief that I swing out onto the road again. We finally start losing elevation. For the next 120 miles we had a wonderful journey through great landscapes on a bright sunny Sunday morning.

My next stop is San Rafael, four miles out of Grants, NM. It's the home of my old Alaskan friend Andrew Torrez. We were best friends in Anchorage, AK, back in the mid 80s. We've been friends ten years longer than I have known Joe. His warm home seems like an oasis after all this time on the cold road and it is with great delight that we arrive.

And here just about ends my journey for now. We are booked for a series of house sitting gigs and won't be traveling for quite some time. So I have a few more thoughts to share about some of the outstanding people I met on the road and then this travel series ends.

By the end of March all these reports will be posted on my website at www.beatlick.com for anyone who cares to catch up on anything they missed. I want to thank all of you for your kind thoughts and words of encouragement.

Happy Trails
Beatlick Pamela

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award: Free Download

Dear Reader:

My novel The Killing Spirit -- a metaphorical story of a modern day Crazy Horse, the Indian Holocaust, and the history of evil culminating on September 11, 2001 -- has made the first cut in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

A 3,000 word excerpt, promo materials and two editorial reviews (one positive, one negative) are posted online. For those who are inclined you can tap the link below and post comments. To read the excerpt you have to click the download button on the upper right. It looks like a purchase but the price is $0.00.

I would be grateful for your comments and criticisms.


Ray Miller / aka Jack Random

You can find your excerpt on Amazon.com via the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UG39UQ, and access the main contest
page where all entries are located at www.amazon.com/abna.

Beatlick Travel Report: Mind Control in Globe AZ

Date: Mar 20, 2009 1:42 PM

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.

Happy Trails
Beatlick Pamela