There’s just one problem with our new leash law.
Putting on of the black suits signals the crew it’s walk time. I want Bridget and Spike to get their business done pronto and come back inside so I can fix my coffee. I have to admit it is a peaceful start of the day, though, wandering around the palo verde, ironwood trees, saguaros, and flowering creosote bushes as the first streams of sunlight beam out from beyond Black Mountain. Funny. In the afternoons I’m anxious to move on, but on mornings like this I don’t want to leave.
A little after eight the desert stillness is swept away by the drone of ATVs.
I look out the door and across the sloping desert. From my house on a hill the red vehicles look like big, racing ladybugs as they zip down the main road, triangular flags fluttering aloft. A dark pick-up follows with what looks like white plastic drums, possibly containing water? I wonder if it’s the border patrol on a mission. A border patrol truck often goes by pulling a trailer-load of ATVs. I remember Rick saying the ATVs are a way for the agents to pass the time when boredom is about to drive them crazy.
It’s surprising how quickly the cold desert night warms into a sunny, comfortable morning.
I putter around the campsite and straighten up the BLT. Every time I step out the door the hordes of mourning doves take flight. It looks like a Hitchcock movie.
I experiment with my camera’s timer. I figure out how to set its delay function. I place the camera on the BLT’s belly-band, grab Bridget, step back, and presto! All in ten seconds!
The PTV’s appointment is for 11:30 this morning.
On the way I stop at the Chamber of Commerce to fill up some water jugs. I go to lift the handle on the pump and . . . What’s this? The handle is locked down. Oh darn, no more free water.
Next I stop at the Ajo post office to pick up the rest of my Amazon order. I get part of the order (a package of brushes). So far, so good.
Then the post lady hands me a card. It says the rest of the order couldn’t be delivered because of an undeliverable address. What?
The packages were sent via United Parcel instead of by U.S. mail to a GENERAL DELIVERY address! Now how dumb is that? So now I have to fix this problem and I bet I’ll be charged for shipping. Well, that’s two strikes.
Off to NAPA Auto Repair.
I hope it’s not strike three.
After discussing the PTV’s problem with the repair guy, I decide I don’t want to sit on the “waiting bench” inside the store.
The crew and I walk along the roadway. It’s lined with yellow brittlebushes and an interesting tree with cottony blooms.
The brittlebushes are in bloom all over the desert and in the town of Ajo. They look pretty growing along the roads and in people’s yards.
The crew and I turn back toward the NAPA store and notice a mural at the rear of the building where U-Haul operates.
The repair guy presents the PTV’s diagnosis.
The oil pressure is fine. Since the gauge is “pegged,” the problem is probably the “cluster.” It’s where all the gauges are.
“We could pull the housing and replace it, but that would mean waiting for us to have the odometer reading notarized and it’ll cost you around $130 . . . These things go bad all the time on Chevys around the year yours is.”
“Just so I can read the oil pressure gauge.” I’m thinking out loud.
The repair guy continues.
“It’s annoying to see that gauge all the way up. If it’s really gonna bother you, we can replace the cluster. That’s a lot of money to not be annoyed but we’ll be happy to do it if that’s what you want.”
“What if the oil pressure really is high?” I ask.
“Well, if that were to happen, the check-engine light would come on. Same if it’s too low.”
To make a long story short, whether it’s the sending unit or the dash gauge display unit, I decide to leave it be.
“So I can expect the other gauges to conk out at some point, too?”
He smiles, shrugs, and replies, “Probably.”
The crew and I go up to the counter to pay the $32.50 labor charge.
Bridget hides between the counter and my legs.
Spike, however, wants to mee the NAPA dog, a shar-pei mix, while I hand over my credit card. (I haven’t had much luck trying to pay with my out-of-town checks.)
Turning into Darby Well Road, I realize I’m starving!
I’m glad I made my standard bean dish last night. It requires great expertise.
Open a big can of pinto or black beans, a smaller can of chopped tomatoes, and a can of kernel corn, and dump it all into a pot. Add some garlic powder or any other seasoning you happen to have.
Then take the block of green chilies out of the freezer. Since the chilies are frozen harder than concrete, place the block on the rear bumper of your vehicle or rv. (Not directly on the bumper, of course. Put something under it to keep it clean, for heaven’s sake.) With one hand jab a screwdriver (Phillips or blade will do) into the frozen chilies while holding a hammer in the other. Whack the screwdriver with all you’ve got. Throw frozen chunk of chilies into the pot. Heat and serve!