My dear friend Kasey will soon be departing for a year-long* intercontinental journey. This past weekend, I drove out to Arizona to visit with her. I decided to leave Los Angeles in the late evening, which would mean driving into the wee hours of the morning. At about 2am, with one hour of driving left until my destination, my car decided to putz out and overheat. I was very lucky that I hadn’t yet entered the mountain pass, where cell phone service would have been nonexistent. Kasey so kindly picked me up and we drove the hour-long stint back to get a few hours of shuteye.
The next morning, we awoke and set out with coolant, water, duct tape, and some tools. The night before, I had noticed the coolant was low, but the car started just fine. We were hoping that refilling the coolant would be enough to get it through the one hour drive to our destination. We made it 5-10 miles and stopped for lunch at a diner in a tiny highway town (hamburgers, yes please). After lunch, the following 30 miles proved to be a patience-testing game of driving as far as possible before the temperature gauge got into the red, stopping, letting it cool, and setting off again to go far as we could. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The lure of calling AAA for a tow was great, but lack of phone service prevented us from doing so.
40 miles and some-odd hours later, we made it to our destination. Because it was a Sunday in the early evening, no mechanics were open. We opted to park my car for the evening and go on a much needed hike. I felt such sweet relief to have the car close by, and hopeful that it would only require a minor fix.
Monday morning, we dropped the car off at the mechanics and decided to explore some of the outdoorsy things nearby: rock hopping; rock climbing; river hiking; frozen yogurt; movie night. And the next day: yoga; meeting new friends; hiking & rock climbing; hamburgers; root beer floats.
In terms of the car, after a series of phone calls spanning the two days of waiting, at long last the mechanic is fixing the car as I type. I’m crossing all of my applicable appendages that I’ll be able to make it home tonight.
There are far, far worse places to have a car breakdown. There are far, far worse stories to be told. It’s felt so wonderful—and I feel so thankful—to be able to see my dear friend, get out of town, and just be.
*or as the open road softly—or loudly—calls her.