So, I luck out. The clutch problem is the simplest of the possibilities, a leaking hydraulic line. There is even a replacement part in town. Colin, the mechanic squeezes me in (remember, no appointment) and I’m back on the road by 3pm. I cut across cool little mountain roads, even dirt at times and come out on the high plains of New Mexico. The sun is nearly setting as I come across a beautiful gorge cut out by the Canadian river. I race through hoping to find the right scenery, but fail. On the other side I keep looking back at the way the sunset is shaping up. Finally I stop to capture the moment. When I start up again I immediately feel something wrong with the car. I pull over, get out and OMG, my back rear wheel has four (out of 5) missing lug nuts. And by missing I mean not only are the nuts gone, but the studs they screw on to are broken off. There is one nut, barely holding the wheel on.

I jack the car up and tighten that one nut, wishing that the studs hadn’t broken. If they were still there then I could have stolen one nut from each wheel and been in pretty decent shape. But no. The next town on the map is ROY, NM, but I don’t know how far away I am. Do I walk, call for a tow, try to drive? Pulling out my phone I see I have no reception. But I did back where I just had my last photo shoot. Where I’m parked the road is rising towards Roy, so I start walking in that direction, figuring that I’ll get reception back when I get to the top of the rise. About half way up the hill I flag down a passing truck. He informs me Roy is just 4 miles from here and the road is in good shape. Thanking him I go back to my car and decide to drive to town. Stopping occasionally to check the wheel and not going over 10mph I arrive in Roy.

It is 8pm, dark and gone to bed. I literally walk down the middle of the main drag scoping out what my possibilities might be in the morning. Up at 7 I start walking around. The only thing open is a funky coffee shop run by Claudia. I begin to explain my problem when she interrupts and said aren’t I the guy who walked 4 miles to town. News travels fast in small towns. After explaining the situation and correcting the story, btw with the couple of locals that were in drinking coffee we got the story to be that no, I hadn’t walked into town. Instead I had picked up that corner of my car and pushed it into town. After all, my car was sitting just over there.

Anyway, she calls Justin to get advice, seems he’s the practical one in town. But Justin is about to leave for Colorado, but he suggests, if need be, we could probably figure a way to get towed to the next town that might have parts, because there was no way parts were to be found in Roy, not for a Subaru. At 8 I walked over to Rick’s gas station to ask if I got the parts could he install them. He said he wasn’t really a mechanic and would not be comfortable doing that. However, he was pretty sure Danny could do it after work. He’d track Danny down and ask. So I went back to Claudia’s. One of the locals, Marlin, said he was taking his uncle in to a doctor’s appointment today in Sante Fe and he would be happy to pick the parts up for me and be back by 4-4:30. I said great. Justin stopped in to see how the situation was doing. In a couple of hours Marlin called and said he had the parts. Then Rick stopped in and said Danny would do the work for me.

Isn’t it great when a plan works out. These people have been super stellar. Now I just have to wait and if all goes well I’ll hit the road this evening. Because I do have a wedding reception to get to outside New Orleans by Saturday.IMG_3850aIMG_3852a

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