So, So, So Close

I’m having a lousy day. I don’t know why. In the grand scheme of things, this day won’t even register as a blip. I hope. I cannot convey to you how much I want to get to Arizona and how afraid I am something will screw it up. Even now, when we’re only Arizona minus five days.

To give you an idea of how neurotic I am, Glenn made a map to get to Arizona. He wanted to save it as “Arizona or Bust,” and I went beserk. Tears were shed. Voices were shrill. Because if you knew me, knew my life, it would be just my luck if it were bust. I told him to call it “Arizona: Mission Accomplished.”

Today, though, the Jeep went to get fixed, and the guy brought it back saying he can’t do it: it’s too rusted. It’s been rattling but chugging along for months and months, so Glenn thinks it will be fine.

The mechanic says it could be fine. At some point, it will break, and we will be dead in the road. That could happen a week from now or even six months from now.

As you know, I have been neurotic about the Jeep for months. I don’t know why. I just have this fear that it’s going to break down and we’re not going to get to Arizona.

Since I’m being so confessional about my neuroticism, may I point out how nerve-wracking it is to drive with your HOUSE down the highway? I mean, one slip of attention, one slip of anything, and you have no house.

I can’t wait to be in Arizona. It feels so far away…

Is this what cold feet is like? Or is this craziness?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags: ,

Time to Get Dirty

Did I mention that this fall will be my Jeep’s fourteenth birthday? I love the thing, but it’s been making sounds lately. I often worry I should just sit in my camper and not drive it, for fear of running out of Jeep to drive.

But what is the point of this adventure if I’m too afraid to drive anywhere? How silly is that?

It only has 158,000 miles. And it’s a Jeep. It’s supposed to last for over 250,000 miles. Thank God. The engine is in great shape. You’ve seen how pretty she is, right? Lemme show you another picture. She’s one of a kind:


It’s making this clicking chug when I drive, in tempo with the speed of the car. Chuck a-chuck a-chuck a-chuck chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck. It totally freaks me out. And then it was groaning and squealing when I touched the steering wheel. I guessed I needed steering fluid (I was right!), I added some, and then felt like a baby genius mechanic. (The feeling didn’t last.)

I’m so afraid that my car is going to break down and keep me from my adventures, that I worry about it constantly. In my journal, I wrote of my first night on the road. (Forgive the pretentious writing: it’s my journal.)

I feared the rusty metal on my fourteen-year-old Jeep would crack under the weight of my possessions. It jerked down the street, lugging a two-thousand-pound camper, which I was sure would bust every bolt holding the Jeep together. My ears were peeled for a pop, my muscles braced for a sudden halt and a splat on the road while wheels rolled off in four directions, disappearing into the scoffing rows of corn.

The problem with mechanics, is that you never know which ones are going to be honest and which ones are not. The current clacking did not start until we took it to RadAir. When I took it to another RadAir and asked that they look at what the first RadAir had done to cause the rattling, the guy said they fixed the rattling “in the back.”

“What was it?” I asked.

He looked at the mechanic. “You fixed the rattling in the back, right?”

The mechanic froze, mouth open.

“The rattling,” the manager prompted. “You fixed it in the back, right?”

The mechanic obediently began nodding his head in slow motion, his eyes wide and surprised.

“That’s funny,” I said. “The rattling sounded like it was coming from the front. What did you fix?”

“Let me get you the estimate on the other stuff.”

And off he disappeared into his office. So I’m not feeling real good about mechanics at the moment. How do you trust one? How do you know they’re not going to make your car worse? And, come on, $425 to fix two bolts? I don’t understand.

So I’m ordering a Chilton’s tomorrow (I just gave one away in my big purge! I’m so annoyed at myself!) and I’m going to get to know my car so well that if it breaks, I’ll be able to fix it. I’m going to read Chilton’s from cover to cover. I’m going to crawl under the car and learn everything about it, memorize every screw and every piece of rust, so that if a mechanic tries to break something in order to get more business, I WILL KNOW. BIG SISTER IS WATCHING YOU.

I learned to change the oil in my lawn mower last year. I can crawl under a Jeep. I can use a wrench. I don’t mind getting dirty.

Tomorrow is a mini-road trip to my bank and to see an old friend. It’s going to be sunny, no clouds, so I’m taking the top off the Jeep. Yay! I can’t wait. Glenn’s plan is to replace the Jeep next year with the truck that will pull the fifth wheel. I am NOT looking forward to that.

The Jeep is one piece of stuff I want to keep forever and ever.

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags: , ,

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