A Shadowfax Adventure
Back in the day, had a yellow Ford LTD, vintage 1970, named Shadowfax. The car was big, luxurious, and above all, the radio was by the steering wheel, right next to the driver’s window, no one messed with what was on it, but me. She proved magical, this is but one of her stories.
During one college spring break, my most recent boyfriend, now just friend, had decided to introduce me to a lady in Denver, named Joy. Was living about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, so it was at least a little ways east, gas was only around 25 cents a gallon, had ten days to two weeks free, so away we went.
First stop, Sparkes, Nevada. He, named John, knew a girl, named Grace, who had a place. Don’t remember much of her, or her place, other than she was nice, and let us stay the night. She took us back to California to some park, where we got stoned, not getting back to her place till the wee hours of the morning.
Later, the next morning, somewhere, about 30 minutes east of Sparks, my radiator hose blew. Back then, it was held in place by a piece of bent metal, very low tech. Pulled over to the side of the road and began waiting, in the age before cell phones, that is just what one did, for some nice person to come by and help out, somehow.
That happened about fifteen minutes later, a pickup truck, yellow, with a California license plate pulled over and offered to go up ahead to a mechanic and possibly get us a tow. The weather wasn’t to bad, just sitting on the side of the road, watching dust devils blow around the arid area off the highway.
45 minutes later, this old rusted, flaky, grey, pickup truck comes into view, heading our way. He does a U-turn through the dirt median to get to our side of the road. An old guy, thin, lanky, very western, down to earth manner, takes a look at the hose, and manages to jerry rig it. Tells me to take the second exit, and he can fix it.
Get everyone back in the car, had two hitch hikers as well, and headed for the exit. Right at the exit the hot light goes on. Gunned it under the overpass, to place it along side one of the six fuel stations, quickly turned off the engine, and let out a sigh of relief. Success! The old man got the hose, also bought an actual clip, that tightened with a screw driver, to hold it in place, a battery terminal cleaner, a five gallon green plastic water container, plus gas, and some thing for everyone to drink.
The service station was like a mini-all-could-ask-for-store, in the middle of nowhere. Looked over in the rear, and there was a short order chef and waitress talking to each other. It was at this point that it occurred to me that how did this place survive out here. With three bays, all with service lifts for cars, and no one any where near.
The more that thought ran around my head, the more things began to feel very surreal, and when it got to uncomfortable, just decided to accept it as real, and everything went back to being just what it was.
Paid for it all with a credit card, ARCO, which is probably no longer in existence, and was on my way. We dropped the hitch hikers off somewhere, it wasn’t important for me to remember where, got to Denver, and were slowly making our way back, when we got around Elko Nevada.
There the great idea hit John, to instead of stopping there for gas, which needed, just go a bit further and get back to the ARCO station. Well friends, have been up and down Highway U.S. 80, all across Nevada, at least 8 or 9 times over the next few years. No ARCO station, no bill, no underpass, no nothing. Just why the Great Whatever choose to help me out, at no cost, is totally unknown to me. But, every so often, it is my practice, when something goes nicely, easily, or just seems wonderfully unlikely, to say to sky, or who ever can hear me, Thank You.
Have no real idea what reality is, but do know from this experience, that just because one can see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or laugh about something, doesn’t mean anything of it is real. Or that it isn’t real. Just has me thankful to be here, writing this, and hoping someone somewhere will resonate with it.