Note No. 76

July 15, 2010

It would be a lot harder to be stuck in Mexico right now if it weren’t for my dad. Remember how against Roxanne he was? How much both my parents hated it when I bought her? Well, a day after I came back to Mexico, I got the following e-mail from him:

The vehicle looked less of a junk to me in sunshine I must admit, but I still have concerns about the front end portion and the wheel bearings. I would definitely recommend a tire expert would have a look at. I know someone at Porterfield Tire who lives on our street to see if they perform this type of work on this vehicle.

He realized, he said, that if he did not take it upon himself to help make her the safest vehicle she could be, and something happened to me, he would never forgive himself. And thus began a whirlwind of activity. Suddenly, he was making appointments and taking her to one garage after another. He was sending me almost daily reports, long explanations of what had been done and what needed to be done, and how much my bill was growing to be. It was spectacular.

We even made plans to drive down to Pensacola, Fla., together, because I had found a rear axle there for a great price and it apparently just had 64,000 miles on it. My dad decided he would follow me in his car and I would drive slowly, so as to minimize the risk of the entire back assembly coming apart in the middle of the interstate. It was going to be a fun bonding trip and a way to see if Roxanne held up.

Well, then my visa happened. And I found out I’d be stuck here for another indefinite amount of time, so my dad decided to do the trip himself, which made me immensely sad— and full of guilt. But THEN he took Roxanne to ANOTHER mechanic, who gave her a good look and consulted with some others and decided that ACTUALLY, she is only 16 feet long and thus, does not need a new rear axle, because it’s the 18+ footers that are a danger. Which was such good news, because other than meaning that my dad did not have to take Roxanne out there by himself, it also meant a savings of about $1,100 dollars.

Meanwhile, my dad had also helped me get AAA coverage and insurance and things were just getting ticked off my list: brakes, new alternator belt, radiator flush, front alignment— the list went on. All the while, he was warming up to Roxanne more and more. One day, when driving her through town, he noticed that two different motorists made some gestures indicating that they liked her, which he interpreted as a good omen. Then, he wrote me an e-mail last week, after having picked her up from a particularly long session at the shop, and it was titled “She purrs…” After a jubilant description of how she drove “like a dream,” he wrote “Your camper rocks!” And I almost died.

But on Tuesday, after patiently waiting for me to get the insurance finalized, he and my sister and her two dogs, plus Rennie, all piled into Roxanne for her first big test drive. One of the last major jobs to be done was to weld the AC block back on, as it was about to come off and crash onto the fan belt, causing untold amounts of damage. One of the mechanics had found a salvaged part about two hours away and my sister was up for the adventure, so they all five set out to take care of it for me.

And do you know what happened? The salvaged part was actually not going to fit in my engine, because of some lame communication on the salvage yard’s end and then, after all that, on the way home again, the clutch broke, stranding most of my family about an hour outside town. Here. Have a look.

My dad’s next e-mail was called “No such thing as a free lunch…” and it was all about not saving those $1,100 after all. But through it all, through the massive repairs that have had to be done and the fact that most everything he had warned me about before I bought her has come true, he has never once said “I told you so,” nor have I gotten the impression that he has wanted to say that.

Had he not been there for this last month, doing everything possible to get her ready for my departure, I probably would have flipped out this morning, when I went to immigration and was told that my visa will take at LEAST another two weeks. At LEAST. If not longer.

Clearly I am not leaving tomorrow on my trip then. That was clear a few weeks ago. It’s horrible. I am frustrated. But there is nothing more to do about it than wait it out and try to make some limeade out of limes.

I am still turning 30 tomorrow, though, so true to my blog’s word, I will start posting tomorrow. This is my last Note then, you guys. From now on, I will be broadcasting from my new site.

Thank you, then, for all your support over these last two and a half years. Seriously. Just to know one person is reading has always been motivation. But come to find out, there were more of you than that. So, thank you. From the absolute bottom of my heart. Over and out. For now.

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