We had to get back to New Mexico quickly – there was no argument about that. The tourism board calls it the Land of Enchantment; the graduates looking for a job and getting stuck here call it the Land of Entrapment. Chloe and I love it because we met here, we have hiked all over the mountains, and our closest friends are here.
Our truck, Mord, hadn’t been touched in three months, so we had to jump-start him twice and he nearly overheated near Las Vegas, NM, before all the fluids were at the right level. Our seven-hour drive took twelve hours. With a 1988 Ford Ranger like Mord, you have to work constantly. It hasn’t been long since we needed an emergency starter change in a parking lot, and even less time since we replaced the U-joints with a hammer and elbow grease.
Before that, all the lights failed. We rewired it with a custom switch, but couldn’t figure out the license plate lights. A flashlight duct-taped to the bumper has worked so far; at least we haven’t been pulled over.
The turning signals don’t work, either, so we have to use hand signals. The tires are too big (they were free), so we have to divide our speed by .86 to know how fast we’re really driving. The gas gauge doesn’t work so we have to be meticulous about the mileage. Driving Mord is an intellectual exercise; I’ve had college finals that required less thought. We carry extra parts and wires and tools and jacks and come-alongs and tow straps so we don’t get stuck or stranded.
To make it even worse, I had to renew my registration while I was in Taiwan. The payment went through, but the stickers and registration paper never arrived at our official address. We had to make the entire drive with expired stickers!
But we made it. We pulled into my best friend’s house – an old CouchSurfing friend, actually – and he met us at the door with two shots of tequila. Welcome to New Mexico! Casey, his girlfriend, said: “We saw you pull in, and saw two shots of tequila left in our bottle, so we knew it was meant to be!”
New Mexico is always one of our coziest homes. It is good to be back among friends for a little while, with the Sandia Mountains as a backdrop. I fixed the registration issue – so Mord is legal again. This coming week, we’ll head out into the wilderness again. Six months homeless and counting.