Lemons to Lemonade

Sherry and I are in the middle of a big change. (See Leap Of Faith) Last week we successfully moved the majority of our belongings in our travel trailer from southwest Missouri to central Arizona. That was the first and biggest step. This week was step two.

Last Monday, we flew back to Missouri to load the remainder of our junk into our two cars to make the final trek. Our friend Chris agreed to help with the driving duties. On Wednesday morning I said goodbye to the house that served as our home for the past 15 or so years and hit the road.

The first drive out with the trailer had a bit of pressure. I had never towed a trailer that far. Never dealt with the issues of moving and setting up your home to some extent every night. We broke the drive up into three days, and honestly it could not have gone any better. We stayed on schedule, we got everything set up in our new home and we managed to get all of the important work done like opening a bank account. The plan for the second trip back was supposed to be easier. Supposed to be…..LOL.

The plan was to take our time heading back west, catching some of the sights along the way. Day one, we stopped for coffee with a friend in Tulsa, had lunch with my parents and made it to the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, TX.

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Cadillac Ranch

Day two, we stopped in Santa Rosa, NM to see Blue Hole which is both beautiful and a bit unbelievable. We took the tram up to the top of Sandia Peak and did a little shopping and exploring in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Then there was day three.

Day three started out with a walk through the ancient art of Petroglyph National Monument. The weather was awesome! Our next stop was to be at the combined areas of Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. This was a three-hour drive from central New Mexico, so we looked for other opportunities along the way.

As you get close to Grants, NM, on I-40, you begin to see signs for “The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano”. I’ve driven this stretch of interstate many times in my life and never stopped. Today was the day! Much like Blue Hole, it was both beautiful and unbelievable. I highly recommend all of these places!  To get to the Bandera Volcano, we followed a highway that took us about 25 miles off of our original path, but were pleased to find out that we could continue on west and get back to I-40 without backtracking.

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Bandera Volcano

We passed by two other national parks, El Malpais National Monument, which appeared to be closed, and El Morro National Monument. As it was getting later in the day, we stopped by El Morro just long enough to decide we needed to return ready for a good hike someday. It really was a beautiful day, but we planned to get a bit farther down the road, so we moved on. That’s when it happened.

Somewhere along the highways back toward I-40, south of Gallup, NM, there was a small rattle in the engine of our little red KIA, which I was driving, that we had checked out before we left home. On a highway where the speed limit was 65, a pick-up truck pulled out into the lane and kept it at 55. As we approached a passing lane, with a bit of an incline, I gave it more gas to get around him. Not only did I not speed up, but that little rattle decided to turn into a big knocking sound. Soon after the oil light came on the dash and I pulled over at a gas station that magically appeared out of nowhere. The important word here is “magically”.

As you can guess, this is what led to the picture at the top of this post. In all honesty, a lot of things worked out for us to have this all turn out. The gas station just appeared, we had not seen a gas station since we left I-40. The entire time we were on the remote highway, we had no cell service, yet we had no trouble calling our insurance for the tow. We were able to easily locate a dealer who could take our car even though there are no KIA dealers in the area. We easily found an affordable hotel and booked it before the tow truck arrived. The tow truck operator, the dealership, the gas station cashier, literally everyone that we have come into contact with has been friendly and supportive!

So, it’s going to take some time to get the car looked at. Some time to get it repaired or moved if that’s what we decide to do, but in the mean time, we are moving on. We’ll be one car short, but so many other things could have gone wrong. A lot went right for us to have things work out the way they did. Tomorrow we will continue on our adventure!!

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