As we walked the dirt road, Bowie tried to sniff and piss on everything, oblivious to what was currently going on around her. I was practically dragging her down the road only adding to my current frustrations. Not even a faint rumble of a car could be heard on the road. I was silently pleading to the heavens that a car would approach; no such luck.
We came around a turn, and I could clearly see the campground below. “If only we could tuck and roll down there like that kid in Hook,” I said to a sniffing Bowie. Alas, we could only walk. I thought of my friend Amanda, dealing with situations like this when her husband is deployed with two children; surely I can get this figured out; I only have a dog. “I gotta put my big girl pants on; I can handle this.” I chanted over and over in my head.
Perhaps it was because it was all downhill or maybe I was lost in my chanting, but before I knew it we were on a paved road, less than a half mile from the campground. As I kept checking my phone along the way for service, I discovered I stupidly let the battery run low, and my battery was almost dead. Where was the charger you ask? Back in the Clydesdale, I didn’t pack it. I could now only hope that the campground had a landline.
As we arrived at the main building to the campground, I noticed a sign on the door to the store. The air caught in my throat. The thought flashed in my brain, “they are closed for the season still,” but at the same time the thought came, the words on the sign read clear. They didn’t open till 8am; it was just 7:30 am. I breathed a small sigh of relief, as Bowie and I made ourselves at home on the front porch of the main building.
Ten minutes later a dark-haired woman walks up on the porch. I hardly noticed her as I racked my brains on what I needed to do. I had decided I would call roadside assistance for possibly a tow; I would get the Clydesdale into town to a mechanic, then get whatever the issue was fixed. I would at some point try to get ahold of Darwin; he was expecting me to pick him up at Sonora Pass in the morning. Tomorrow was our wedding anniversary, and we had a date planned. As my thoughts started to overwhelm me, the lady interrupted them by asking if I needed help. I hurriedly explained my situation surprisingly without dropping even one tear, and she very casually put out her cigarette and unlocked the office door; she was the manager!
She allowed Bowie and I to enter the small building all the while informing me I wouldn’t get service until I went a mile further up the road. She also bashed my dreams of a tow truck stating that it was would be nearly impossible to get one out that far up a washboard road and there was no mechanic in Bridgeport. I couldn’t doubt her as she had worked at the campground for almost twenty years and knew the area but I had to try something. I politely ignored her information and continued my focus on getting in touch with Good Sam Roadside Assistance while simultaneously trying to make sure Bowie didn’t eat her two cats.
Forty minutes later, Good Sam still had me on hold for the millionth time and could not tell me if a tow truck was coming. Finally, when a voice returned on the other end of the call, I informed it I had to disconnect as I was on a business line. The voice told me she still could not locate a tow truck and asked to call me back on my cell phone. At this point my own voice broke, revealing how upset I was to the manager and to a campground guest waiting for me to end the call. I again asked if a tow truck was on the way and the voice on the line told me she still couldn’t locate any cities around me with a mechanic but would get one out soon. I hung up.
After a forty minute phone conversation with the company that I was paying to help me in such situations, I was told they couldn’t even locate the nearest city mechanic around me! What!? I was utterly frustrated, and I still hadn’t had any coffee! As my eyes started to water, the guest waiting for me to get off the phone must have seen the defeat on my face and offered her help, well at least her husband’s. Thirty minutes later, Bowie and I found ourselves in the back of a truck heading up to the Clydesdale with the woman and her husband.
Now back at the van, her husband popped the hood and immediately saw the issue, the clamp on the battery had wiggled loose and was hardly connected to the battery. As soon as he tightened the clamp, I turned the key, the Clydesdale immediately roared to life! I hugged both of them not caring I hadn’t showered in a week! I was overwhelmed with happiness and relief!
I followed them back down the dirt road Bowie had peed all over earlier in that morning and waved goodbye as they turned back into the campground. I still didn’t have signal, but I was on a paved road and heading back into town. Unfortunately, the Clydesdale started puttering again as soon as I got to a reasonable speed. Not wanting to chance pulling over, I kept puttering along until I reached my safe zone in Bridgeport, the library. Smack in the middle of town. A town that was full of people and cell service.
After a few phone calls, I somehow got the number of a mechanic in town. Well, he worked at an auto part store doing auto body work on the side at his home. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a little nervous going to a stranger’s house but I was desperate, and the only other option was to risk an hour drive to the nearest auto body shop. I put my trust in the older lady that gave me his number, and after I called him, I followed his directions to get me to his place.
When I arrived, I found him elbows deep in a truck. He greeted me with a big friendly smile that put me a little more at ease. He listened to me as I explained my situation and talked with me giving me his full attention. He told me what he thought it sounded like the problem was but explained he wouldn’t have time to look at it until late afternoon and he would call me back. By five o’clock my patience was running thin. I pictured Darwin hiking closer and closer to Sonora Pass and the disappointment on his face when I wasn’t there in the morning. I couldn’t wait any longer and called again. I was greeted again by his warm tone; He would look at it at 6 pm.
Bowie and I sat in the van as he worked, accessing the Clydesdale’s engine from inside. He explained everything he was doing before doing it and looked me straight in the eye when he talked to me. We made friendly conversation as he worked. I watched as his son and wife walked by, thanking him over and over again for taking time out from his family to help me. Within an hour, he had found the culprit, a bad spark plug, and once replaced, the Clydesdale galloped on as usual. I gladly paid him for his work and he assured me I would be okay to drive up the mountain road to meet Darwin in the morning. I was almost sad to leave such good conversation as Bowie, and I drove into the sunset heading towards Sonora Pass.
That night I reflected on my day. I was in a desperate position and had to rely on strangers to get me through. My needs were met by people who were honest and good. It’s risky these days to give your trust so willingly to others, but in my case, I was rewarded with a few beautiful examples of humanity. Thanks the campground manager, the camping couple, and a resident mechanic in Bridgeport, I was the one waiting on Darwin the morning of our 11th anniversary and not the other way around.
(An Awesome BLM Spot Complete With Fire Ring, Picnic Table, and Lake View!)
Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:
Review On The Macabi Knee Length Skirt – Coming Soon!
My Book! Currently In The Final Editing Stages – Coming Soon!
(in mid to late July, at least that’s the goal!)
Cool Thingys That I Also Do:
Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail – Newly Dropped Prices On Several Items!
Other Van Life Posts You May Enjoy (featuring The Clydesdale or The Stallion):
A Traveling Fear Comes True: Part I
10 thoughts on “A Traveling Fear Comes True: Part II”
I’m glad everything turned out okay. Take care…
Snuggles truly a heart pumping experience, well for you it not so much for Bowie, as I read thru your troubles I too had great relief to hear it’s was not a major issue. Your trail angel was on your shoulder. You truly embraced the suck . Best wishes .
Maybe consider a complete service on the van as you are alone and in some desolate areas.
Thanks Vincent! – Snuggles
Ha! Thanks! – Snuggles
Agreed! Thanks Jim! – Snuggles
These mishaps are what make the feeling of being elated over the small things much more powerful. Happy to hear things worked out in the end! With enough of these experiences, you can change the blog name to Snuggle’s Struggles. 😉
Ha! That’s a great name! – Snuggles
Pingback: Audio Touring A National Park | Darwin Onthetrail
Pingback: Van Life & Writer’s Block | Darwin Onthetrail