Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Piglets", my husband said. 

"We're turning into little piglets, just sitting around watching the birds at the feeder."  We didn't really want to leave, but the time had come. It was time to be on our way. So we left my sister's house on Monday, having stuck around for just one more weekend. We took our time, even then. It was noon by the time we pulled away from the local supermarket, where we had stocked up on a few staples including a refill for our 5-gallon drinking water bottle.

I was surprised to find that I did actually enjoy the ride. The last time we drove out of Texas on our way home, we took a more northern route, and I loathed it. I probably blogged about how it made me feel to drive for hundreds of miles without seeing any features on the landscape. I wanted to go hide my head until we got to a place where there was something to look at -- a mountain, a tree -- anything!  This time we went over the  I-10, staying close to the Mexican border, and there was Scenery -- trees, rivers, towns. It was lovely. A four hour drive took us to the town of Sonora. We needed fuel anyway, and the afternoon sun was getting into position to blind us as we drove, so we decided to stay there for the night. About that time, R looked at the rear view mirror and said "We're leaving a trail of smoke."


We went to the Chevron station in Sonora and put some fuel in the tank. At the next pump, there was a State Patrol car. I walked over and asked the officer where we could find a mechanic to look at our motor home. He directed us up the road to Victor's Garage, and that's where we spent Monday night -- tucked in against the back of the garage. It was pretty well closing time when we arrived, so the mechanic just put us up for the night and set to work in the morning, trying to figure out why we had almost no oil left. When we had the starter motor fixed in Austin, we also had the oil changed, so there should have been plenty there, but instead of staying where it belonged, the oil was spraying out over the engine, producing the smoke we had seen. It was a horrid mess. In the end, Victor's mechanic threw his hands up and referred us to the Ford dealer in San Angelo, seventy miles north of Sonora. If we drove gently, we should be able to get there without being towed. So, off we went, knowing already that the mechanics in San Angelo wouldn't be able to look at the engine until the following day.

Meanwhile, I called my brother-in-law and asked him to make the (nearly) four hour drive to San Angelo to pick us up and bring us back to Austin.  We thought we might end up flying home, so we scurried around, packing our clothes and laptops and perishable food. When our valiant rescuer arrived, we filled his car with as many of our belongings as we could cram in and still leave room for ourselves, and R and I shared the driving on the way home.

Against all odds, given that we've been hanging around for an awfully long time now, we were welcomed with open arms. We are trying not to be quite such piglets on this part of our visit. I've started walking again, and R has joined me. Today we took our second walk on the local golf course. We didn't go all the way around, but we did walk for over an hour. That's just about right for me, but R isn't used to taking hour-long walks. He much prefers riding his bike, but his bike is in San Angelo, in the Turtle.

So here we are, waiting for a call from the Ford dealer.  We suspect that we are going to need a new engine -- poor old Turtle is showing her age -- but I doubt now that we will end up flying home.We will probably just run a little behind schedule.

The silver lining in this cloud?  If this mechanical misfortune had to happen, it couldn't have happened in a better place. We aren't in a strange town, perhaps staying in a hotel and eating restaurant food. We are back at home -- my sister's home -- surrounded by people we love and who love us back. I've been granted a little extra time here, and I'm grateful for that.


Rachel Fox said...

we had lunch in Sonora back in May last year!

AngelMay said...

Maybe you will trade your Turtle for a Tortoise when you get home. :) Just take care - glad you two are doing fine.

Sandra Leigh said...

Rachel, I took a walk in the morning. Sonora is a pretty little town, once you get off the main drag, isn't it?

AngelMay, I suspect that we'll have to move at a faster pace than we had planned, when the time comes, but at least I'll have had some extra family time.

The Bug said...

Oh man - poor Turtle! I'm glad you're getting to spend some good time with your sister though...

John Hayes said...

Wow, you certainly have had some setbacks on this trip! Glad it happened where it did so that you could get back to your sister's place easily.