21 Sep 1997 09:25:23 -0700
State Park; Santa Fe, New Mexico :: 21 SEP 97
On Friday we barely survived one of those traveler's nightmares.
Lost in Santa Fe's narrow canyon street maze after sunset, we must have
frustrated several drivers. "Why don't you get a smaller car!" we heard
shouted from a passenger window passing us. Before long, our forward progress
blocked and no room to turn about, we were backing down a curvy road well
after dark, drawing numerous spectators but just one offer of aid. With
the trailer finally headed back downhill, some kind souls lead us out
of the hills and pointed up the right path for our 1,800 foot climb to
the State Park.
Frustrated and unable to see the campsite pad, the engine hot
from the ascent and extreme elevation--nearly 9,000 ft. above sea level--coolant
and tempers boiled before managing to park the trailer correctly. Then
came the rain and we called it a night, microwaved potatoes and spaghetti
sauce for dinner, and slept fitfully in sloping beds.
In the morning, an ominous rattle issued intermittently from
the engine. In the course of chasing around Santa Fe for a mechanic's
opinion--on a Saturday, of course--the rattle disappeared. When we found
one, and described the condition and circumstances, the mechanic conjectured
a connecting rod bearing about to go. That means, if he's right, one of
three options: rebuilt engine; new engine; new truck. Being on the road
compounds the unfriendliness of all three.
The rattle has not come back. We're hoping it won't. Until it
does, that's all we can do. But the possibility hangs over us like the
thick clouds that have threatened rain for the last 36 hours, and often
followed through on the threat.
Not the best conditions for a visit to Santa Fe, the pretty
little cluster of adobe-look buildings at the base of the mountains. We've
managed a couple pleasant dinners in town. A film, a wild thriller titled
"The Game," provided an escape and, because it featured someone having
a much worse time of it than I, soothed the 'why me?' feelings.
We're pulling out of Santa Fe today, two nights and a day later.
It's raining still. Hopefully, the weather will improve alongside my spirits.
Every long journey includes these moments. Self-doubt, seemingly
impossible obstacles. You push through them and soon enough, if you don't
dwell on the negative, you get past them just like you get past the ugly
stretches of commercial strips along the highway, the surly waitress,
the rotted section of highway. You push through and look for the next
wonder. Soon enough, it'll come.
~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
The Mexicans were weak and fed. They could not resist,
because they wanted nothing in the world as frantically as the Americans