This is the second of a multipart post.
We departed Fort Sumner, NM after a cold continental breakfast with Super 8. Leaving early we planned to get to snow with as much daylight as possible. In the car dad took the responsibilities of primary teacher for the first time. Charity and Tabitha studied mostly on there own. Judah and I read aloud from his reading book, history books, and science. We hit Santa Rosa and eventually arrived in Las Vegas, NM.
There are fewer antithesis greater than Las Vegas, NV and NM: smallish, dirty, 70s-style, almost primitive, but thankfully very friendly and hospitable. We pulled into the first gas station to fill, bathroom, and ensure proper directions to Red River. But we didn’t pull out…under our own power. This time the starter was as dead as Billy the Kid. Some crying and much fretting ensued. The polite suggestion was made to check the store for help. I did remembering the kind female clerk that has steered me away from an expensive $6.95 map of NM when simple directions would suffice. She indicated a nice do-it-yourself gentleman in town often helped her, and said she’d call him for me to see what he could do. (And he drove a tow truck, too.) In about 8 minutes, Joe and his young hispanic helper had arrived. The conclusion: the starter is probably dead. I asked if he knew the whereabouts of a local shop. Joe said the Ford shop was just up the street about 1.5 miles. Then I asked for a tow. Generously and with cheer, he consented. To be fair, his vehicle was a former tow truck. Chained to the frame, we were pulled along. With Ronny Copeland training, I knew a light foot on the brake much of the way was needed to keep the link taunt. In a few minutes we arrived in the back lot of Ford. Shaking hands and profusely acknowledging their kindness, I thought of rendering payment, but had no cash whatsoever. (I will probably still do so if I can locate the local gas-station and clerk.)
Entering the dealership I was pointed to the “Repair” shop I’d just passed on the way in the back door. The desk-jockey of the shop completed his phone call and asked how he could help. I explained the task needed as he made notes. He said 30 minutes would pass before the van could be examined. (I noticed that didn’t mean repairs would ensue.) Then our larger family was pointed to the waiting area in the dealership. Amenities: TV, chairs, magazines, floor alphabet puzzle mostly very dirty from greasy clean-up hands. We waited anxiously and perhaps somewhat impatiently. Snow lay SO close! To the desk-jockey’s word, the van was magically pulled in (how did it start?) and I watched the examination. Again, the starter was diagnosed as ruined. “Good. At least we’re on the same page”, I thought. The van was pulled out. (This time the starter was hot wired.) Mr. Desk-Jockey explained kindly that a starter from Albuquerque would be there in the morning. It would only be $135. My quickly blood-drained brain froze. “Or, we could get one from Car Quest, but the price is about $255.” Still drained, I took the expedient option. $255 + labor + examine labor + yada-yada it would be. I sent Tam and the busy bunch to DQ. A good move really. Food usually helps the grumpies. The part showed up soon after they left on their walk down the street. With interest, I watched the part swap: new for old. Before lunch was done, we had a 100% starting vehicle. Again, I profusely thanked the quiet mechanic, Mr. Desk-Jockey specifically for his patience with me, et. al., and even the cashier for her initial directions back to “Repair”.
I picked up the crew at DQ down the street, checked directions in DQ (the teenage workers didn’t know the street running in front of their store was 518 to Mora, NM. Only a chat with the manager confirmed it. I guess there was a time that I didn’t know much about Memphis either.), and we were off again. 12:30. At Mora, we followed the Angel Fire sign down an obscure looking road. The mountains lay in the distance with snow atop. 3 snow plows passed us. A minivan with a foot of snow on the roof hurried past. Finally, we passed Guadalupita and ascended to the highest elevations. Frozen creeks, snow galore with laden trees, and wind-swept snow-covered valleys met us! With difficulty and caution we sauntered into Angel Fire. Again, store attendants pointed the way and we went. The road to Red River was even more icy and steep. Finally, the grace of Red River kissed us. Quaint, snow covered, cottages and store fronts. A virtual wonderland of cuteness! And our accommodations smack in the middle of the cozy community. <Sigh> We checked in.
Now let’s get out!