Continuing our journey through New Mexico, we drove through a crazy thunderstorm (see video on social media) and then paused briefly in Las Cruces (lunch for us; dog park visit for the pups) and then continued on to Tularosa, where we had a Harvest Host reservation at the Tularosa Vineyard – a tiny, family-owned winery. Parking/leveling was difficult because their normal RV area was muddy from the recent downpour so they had us park at the side of the driveway instead (and because we’re not able to use the leveling jacks right now (see previous post)), but we eventually figured out that if we left the slide-outs in on the passenger side, we were pretty level, so we left it at that and went to check out the winery. Father and son owners were welcoming; we sat on the patio outside the tasting room and chatted for a bit. The only drawback was the flies – like an Amityville Horror amount of flies – I guess they come out after it rains? Every table had about 8 flyswatters laid out, but that didn’t really help. Even the dogs were going nuts trying to catch them. So it wasn’t too long before we decided to retire to the coach.
The next morning we were ready to head out pretty early, before 9am, but when Deron started the engine, the pinging noise we’ve been noticing was way more frequent, and then the check engine light went on… and the engine promptly stalled. And wouldn’t start again. While Deron got ahold of a mobile mechanic, I reached out to a few friends to join me in praying for us – that the mechanic could fix it and we wouldn’t need a tow. (Towing a beast that big is a real feat.) The mechanic arrived at about 10:30am, and quickly determined that we did indeed need to be towed to his shop.
It was so tempting at that point to feel defeated by yet another mechanical problem, and to wonder if this RV life was truly the right decision. But Deron and I have had so much experience walking with God through difficult circumstances, it didn’t take long for us to begin to praise Him in the midst of the frustration – that He protected us from being on the road when the engine stalled, that He parked us in a free location rather than a paid park, with owners who sympathized with us rather than being angry that we were stalled in their driveway.
The tow truck arrived a little after noon, and the driver immediately expressed concern – because of where we were parked (half on/half off the driveway) and because we were low to the ground (the suspension airbags inflate when the engine is running – and our engine wouldn’t run, thus the need for the tow). After much laying on the ground under the coach, both front and back, he determined that he didn’t have enough clearance to hook up the tow truck.
Long story short, after lots of mechanic and tow truck comings and goings, we finally got hitched up and towed to the shop, at 6pm. The shop was closed at that point, but they stuck around long enough for us to grab clothes and stuff for a couple nights at a hotel. As we stood (so tired, hot and hungry) outside the RV talking to the mechanic, we looked up and saw a huge rainbow on the horizon. Such a sweet message from the Lord.
Once we checked in to our hotel room and had the absolute worst Chinese food ever, we began the long process of re-scheduling our future reservations. Then we decided if we were going to be stalled in tiny Alamogordo, we would make the best of it. We spent the next few days walking through nearby White Sands National Monument, taking pics at Pistachioland, buying some spicy Hatch chili fudge at the Old Apple Barn, and driving through scenic Lincoln National Forest (plus visiting Barks Dog Park every day). We chatted with lots of friendly people, including an 80-something-year-old veteran who told us a funny story about John Kerry in Vietnam.
Even though we didn’t have our smart TV, we made do watching Foothills devos on the laptop. We did two big loads of laundry at the local laundromat, and washed the dogs in the hotel bathtub. And we reminded each other that since this isn’t a vacation and we don’t have jobs to get back to, the time doesn’t matter. And that since God so richly blessed us with way more money on the sale of our house than we were dreaming of, the extra expense of repairs and hotel rooms isn’t an issue either – and we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing our rolling home is in much better shape than it was when we started this journey.
As of last night, the mechanic still hadn’t received the part he needed to finish fixing the coach, so we’re still hanging in Alamogordo for the weekend. Today we took a drive to Cloudcroft, a little mountain town similar to Julian, and ate elk burgers at Wild Game Bistro & Market. Tunnels and bridges have always been our jam, so we were happy to see both on our way up the mountain. We’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing some more laundry, watching church online, and enjoying the A/C in our hotel room while we pray the part comes in early Monday and we can get back on the road. Next week we anticipate finally making it to Carlsbad Caverns.
We love and miss everyone – it’s so weird to know that life is going on as usual while we’re gone! We’re still working out our schedule after Texas, but we’re hoping maybe we can be back in San Diego for Christmas. XOXOXO
praise & prayer
We are learning that in this #nomadlife, circumstances will often take an unexpected turn, and we need to roll with the punches together. One of the best things about our marriage (and, I’m assuming, many others) is that when one spouse is caught up in the whirlwind of the moment, the other is so often able to see beyond the immediate clouds and be an anchor during the storm.
Our verse for the week is James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
We’re hoping our insurance company will pay at least some of the towing bill – because the mechanic had the tow truck out twice, but the coach wasn’t towable at all the first time and not until after a significant wait the second time, we ended up paying way more than we should have. The insurance company is investigating at this point…
And, of course, we really just want to be back on the road – but we’re willing to stay put if this is where God’s got us for the moment!
current learning curve
- Leveling the RV without leveling jacks is more difficult than anticipated.
- Scheduling reservations ahead of time is ideal – but then any delay means a lot of rescheduling. It’s really good to have everything written down!
- You can make anything fun if you try – even a 7-night stay in a tiny New Mexico town.
travel teasers – what’s next
Nashville/ Franklin/ Gatlinburg
5 thoughts on “the tow”
The adversity brings you together 😄Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
Praying that your part comes in tomorrow. You will love the Carlsbad Caverns and parts of Texas, but the best is yet to come when you get to Franklin, Tennessee. You will fall in love!
Thank you Debi!
Pistachioland sounds the best to me….yum, spicy fudge!