Right now it's 10:45 a.m. Arizona time (same as Pacific time because Az. doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time) and I'm writing from the comfort of the second home of my dear friends Tim and Heidi Kent in Rio Verde, Az. This place is absolutely spectacular and is serving as a sanctuary for me. The place is referred to as The Hideaway. More about it in an upcoming post!
The van broke down yet again in Holbrook, AZ. and I've gotten rid of it and am working on getting a new one. In the meantime, I rented a car in Show Low, Az. (closest car rental place to Holbrook) and drove to Rio Verde. But more about all that later...
What you are about to see are, by far, the most spectacular views I've seen on my trip thus far. Primarily, views of the mountains and setting sun from the top of the tram in Albuquerque. But first, a little more about the van. Sunday morning 9/9, after being plugged in all night long, the back-of-the-coach battery did not hold a charge. I realized this, but didn't realize until almost noon that the refrigerator was also not running. At first I thought it was because the propane, that runs the fridge when it's not plugged in, might also be out or disconnected (this thought was based on the limited knowledge I've gathered about how the van runs on this trip). After calling roadside assistance (again) I learned that the fridge must have at least 12V of power to run, so the root cause was the battery not holding a charge. I'm learning WAY more about such systems than I ever wanted to learn! They told me "get thee to an RV park and plug in ASAP!" (ok, that's my rendition of what they said, there was no "thee" language used).
I know someone in Albuquerque from one of my programs, and we'd already planned to meet for coffee (plus he told me there was a 4 p.m. meeting that night) so I decided to make the hour drive there and find a place. I was lucky enough to find a KOA, where I met Ted. Ted is an older gentleman who works at KOA and was basically my savior there. As I may have said before, I've depended greatly on the kindness of strangers on this trip, and Ted is a prime example. He spent a lot of time with me trying to isolate the problem so that when the mechanic came he could "hit the ground running."
Before I get into all that, I have to introduce you to my new companion. I bought him in the KOA office because he was so fucking adorable, AND he has a sewn-on smile that never goes away, and makes me smile when I see him! I just really needed some comfort and when I laid eyes on him, I knew we were destined to be friends. He has the New Mexico state flag emblem on his chest, and I got so much help from so many kind people there that NM will always hold a very dear place in my heart, so it just seemed fitting.
After a little while I decided to name him Marty Kristopher Robin. "Marty" for my friend (and another savior!) who I met in Tupelo, Ms. because he worked for several days in a row on the van. Marty has been my van consultant along the way since he knows me, is familiar with the van and mechanical things in general, and he is very conscientious (e.g., when the alternator died, I called him to ask if I should turn it off or leave it running in case nightfall came before the tow truck came and I couldn't roll up the windows). "Kristopher Robin" after a fellow who was someone I'd spoken to right before the breakdown on the side of the road, and who I called for comfort (and who delivered!).
In future posts you will see Marty Kristopher Robin, who I will refer to as MKR. Hard not to smile at him, isn't it?!
On Sunday afternoon my program friend Rick picked me up and brought me to the meeting, then brought me back again to the KOA. After the meeting, I decided to hang out by the pool and go swimming. By "go swimming" I mean go in the pool and walk around in the water to cool off. I met a German couple in the pool who'd just come from Yellowstone. They assured me that I didn't need to make a reservation at an RV park ahead of time (phew! It's hard to make reservations when you don't know when you will be there, or if the van will break down again!). These pics are of the pool (obviously!) as well as the KOA.
On Monday a.m. I called the RV Repair Co. that Ted referred me to, and before lunchtime Erick of TLC Fleet was there, yet another savior! He was extremely kind and helpful, as well as knowledgeable and respectful. In fact, he spent at least 3.5 hours working on the van. He determined that some kind of transfer switch was the culprit. Once he got the part and installed it, he realized that the control panel (shown on the right) was actually the source of the problem because the switch is not working properly and keeps causing the problems with the transfer switch. When I reminded him that I had four more weeks of my trip ahead of me, he looked into finding a replacement panel, but there isn't one available for another 3 weeks! It's being manufactured, so won't be ready to ship for another 3 weeks. We made do by him putting the switch into a neutral position and him instructing me not to touch it again, unless I planned to park it for several days.
This is Erick at work (admittedly not flattering pics - he's quite the handsome dude!)
On Monday, Rich brought me lunch and hung out with me to chat while Erick worked on the van. This is a pic of Rich's 3 dogs, Rock, Dart and Loki. All of them are rescue dogs. Ironically, Rich says he used to hate dogs. Change is possible!
Before I show the pics from my Monday night trip to the tram to see the sun set over Albuquerque, I have to talk about another incredible spiritual lesson I got... Erick the mechanic suggested I go to a place in Alb. called Green Jeans as a cool place to hang out on my remaining night. When I ran this by Rich, he said I should take the drive up the mountain to watch the sunset over Alb. rather than spending time in the city proper. As I was preparing to go, I realized I misplaced my glasses. I wear progressive lenses, so I need them for everything. What's weird is that I'm very much a creature of habit, particularly when it comes to where I place important things like keys, phone and glasses. 100% of the time (except this time, that is) when I put on my sunglasses, my regular glasses go into the sunglasses case.
I searched everywhere, including the garbage, but couldn't find them. I went to the KOA office to see if they'd been turned into Lost and Found and Ted was there. He looked but couldn't find them, but then told me, "Tram, tram, tram. Don't drive up the mountain, go to the tram and take a ride up there to see the sunset. Go now so you can see the sunset" (it was about 6 p.m.). I did as he said, and as you will see below, the views were absolutely spectacular.
I will say I kind of panicked thinking about how I'd make it through 4 more weeks without glasses, even though I know God has my back and, as Marie Forleo says, "everything is figure-outable." I kept thinking, "I wonder if there is a metaphor here about seeing clearly..." I realized later that night that I never would have gone to the tram if I had not misplaced my glasses. I was blind, but now I see.
In the morning, I found them on the door side of the passenger seat, a place I am certain I looked since, in my own car, that is where I often find lost items. Onto the tram ride...this is the view on the way up to the tram.
This is MKR waiting for me at the base of the tram, and a pic of a young woman who took the tram ride up with me. She wore this for her mom who was with her and terrified of heights (who had the courage to face her fear and take the ride anyway - sound familiar??). It seemed incredibly apt so I asked if I could take a picture.
The smaller rock balanced on top of that pile is called something like "Golf Rock" and that rock balance on the top is supposedly bigger than the tram, which holds 43 people! I feel the need to note here how incredible it is that my phone is responsible for all these pics! I was able to zoom in that close using a phone!
Here I am, Albuquerque sun setting behind me. And that's the tour guide for the tram ride. He called himself Positive Terrence (and he is, though this picture does not depict that!). He chose this particular pose for some reason, so I just went with it!
In a couple of these pics you can see a strip of brighter lights, that's the State Fair.
This is one of my favorites, taken from the restaurant at base of the tram ride. It shows a star and a tiny little sliver of the moon. The moon sliver is faint and is about 1/5 of the way over from the right border of the picture.
Barb Nangle is the founder of Higher Power Coaching and Consulting, an entrepreneur and an eternal optimist. She loves motivating others to become better and better versions of themselves, just as she has become better and better versions of herself.