Now, I’m not a superstitious person, but I think Doug and I jinxed ourselves. We’d heard so many horror stories of things going wrong when people launched their full-time traveling plans that when we didn’t have anything major go wrong, we got a little cocky. I mean, we did have some trouble – the open neutral fried some of our electronics, the landing jacks had a big problem, etc.. but it was all easily manageable. So we were all, “Yeah, I don’t know what’s wrong with those people, we’ve had it pretty easy!”
Ha. Ha. Ha.
We left Carlsbad, headed to Alamogordo. The drive was uneventful for the first two and a half hours. We drove through Artesia and – wow – are there a lot of statues in that town. We headed up into the Sacramento Mountains and were smitten with Cloudcroft. Then, with about a half hour drive down the other side of the mountain range to our campground, the truck’s engine started making a knocking sound. We pulled off the road, did some Googling (we are not exactly knowledgeable about cars/trucks), and decided to call our roadside assistance for a tow.
We moved Niall and the three cats from the truck into the minivan so the kids and I could head to our campground – they don’t take reservations, so we wanted to make sure we could get a spot. Let me just say.. one adult, four kids, two dogs, three cats, and a leopard gecko is a lot for one minivan. Doug waited around with the truck.. and waited.. and waited. Down in Alamogordo, we found a campsite easily and waited.. and waited.. and waited. Finally Doug arrived with our home-on-wheels and the tow truck. What should have been a 3-3.5 hour drive took at least 8 hours.
It was a day or two before we heard back about the truck, and the news was all bad. The truck threw a rod, which basically wrecked the engine. It needs to be completely replaced, which they quoted as about $11k. Thankfully, we’ll probably be able to get it down to about $6k by getting an engine from a different source, but still.. geez. Six. Thousand. Dollars. Obviously we won’t be here for just a month.
In fact, it’s been a little over a month now. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to have everything all fixed and ready to go by the end of May – which unfortunately means we probably won’t be able to get Fiona to Massachusetts for her birthday (where my family and some of her friends are). But it’s better than nothing, I guess.
We have been able to do quite a few fun things since we’ve been here: White Sands National Monument, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alameda Zoo, Three Rivers Petroglyphs, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, Cloudcroft, etc, etc. I’ll do a month-one recap for our next post. In the meantime, if anyone wants to donate an engine to get us back on the road, we’d be glad to take it! 😉