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.