In the morning, I called the front desk to ask about a second night. Then I found a Honda dealer that turned out to be within walking distance and called the tow truck they recommended. When the guy got there he tried to unstick the steering wheel, which I knew he wouldn’t be able to do and told me his tow truck was too long to fit behind the car in the small parking lot. He gave me the name of another guy. I called him and went up front to pay for another night, momentarily misplacing my driver’s license in true Nicole-fashion. I was getting quite exasperated with myself, though I’m not sure I can reasonably blame myself for an ignition assembly gone bad.
I got a few things together and sat on a red bench waiting for the tow truck. When I was walking down the sidewalk, I saw a small wooden charm with “Oregon” written on it. I wouldn’t normally pick up such a thing off the ground but I thought it was a nice reminder of what my destination was. Later, when I was asked the tow truck guy about the mountain range in the distance, the one I had descended the day before, he said it was called the Oregon Mountains. The charm must have come from a tourist shop and dropped by a kid.
The tow guy was nice and charming and when I joked that I might have to sell the Element he asked me how much I wanted for it. I knew it was only worth 3-4 thousand dollars. I’m not sure if he was serious or trying to flirt.
After explaining the problem, I found a spot to write and work on photos at the dealer. After a couple of hours the guy broke the news. With parts and labor it would cost me about a third of what the car was worth. It seemed like such a stupid thing to do. I pried the mechanic for cheaper options. Predictably he had none. I could have searched for other mechanics for cheaper parts and labor but that would have included more towing and more time. And previous experience had taught me that not using Honda parts and Honda trained mechanics was risky. Since I was over a thousand of miles away, I decided to bite the bullet and spend the money.
I went back to the motel and went for a long walk, hoping to get a view of the mountains. I don’t know what I was expecting, an expansive vista, I suppose but all I found was building after building on the campus of New Mexico University. It was hot and dry and I felt like a pack mule carrying my camera back and camera. After an hour or so I made it back to the motel, stopping at a gas station for chips, chocolate and beer.
Tomorrow I would pack up and uber back to the dealer to wait for them to fix the Element.
And then on to………….I don’t know yet.