Stuck in San Antonio. Something that can always be expected with the Vanagon is minor road problems. In this case, my bearing failed on the rear driver side, causing the retaining nut for my rear wheel to come off allowing the tire with brake drum the liberty of traveling down the highway unaccompanied by myself. The sudden loss of stability and metallic sounds that erupt when you suddenly go from traveling on four wheels to traveling on three wheels is something I hope not to experience too many times in my life. The brakes go soft as fluid all oozes into the pads that have nothing to push against. The sparks visible from the driver’s side mirror are evidence of the problem if one were deaf to the noise. I reacted by yanking the emergency brake and downshifting, slowing myself just enough to get out of the traffic on highway 10. After three hours of waiting on the highway I finally got a tow truck driver competent enough to get the rig onto a truck. Unfortunately the mechanic that I was towed to, who has been in the shop here for forty years, is past his prime, and unable to take on as much work as he would like. His normal four day work week is being cut to three on this occasion and he is taking a four day holiday. I may get the parts I need, a hub assembly, from Oklahoma tomorrow, or Saturday, or Monday. What more can be expected from life than uncertainty? I am not in the best part of town, quite a run down section I’m told with crack dealers and prostitutes, I was told by the gentleman here that I am more than welcome to stay until the parts come in, at which point we will transport the van to his friends shop. Until then, I’m told there is a river walk a few blocks over which I will likely check out this afternoon.
It is hard to leave the beach, and all the people that I’ve met there. Wayne and Diane were wonderful friends to have especially with their love of gardening. As luck would have it, I met three kindred spirits a few days before taking off. Kandice, Sarah, and John will hopefully pop back up in my life again at some point, perhaps next winter if not sooner. I feel for Tom, my boat neighbor, who is now eighty years old, as we were great companions during my time there. All the days talking politics, bullion, guns, and drag racing will live on in my memory though he may be gone in a handful of years. Isn’t that how all of our society is constructed? From stories. We learn how the world is from the generations before us, and are almost bound by tradition as we head of into the future. Putting kids behind the wheel of a red bodied, yellow roofed, foot powered plastic play toy comes to mind. Just getting them used to the fact that cars are an essential part of our life.
Right now I’m trying to redesign my own life, into one that is not so dependent on fossil fuels. Going back to my property feels like the only way I can go back to the land. My plight is more in line with the Native Americans however, being driven to the fringe of habitable environments to survive. All the fertile floodplains and creek sides have been gobbled up by the affluent, who no more care to garden than they care to change their own brake pads. I will have to haul water in until I can build a well, or catch what rainwater falls from the sky. The desert landscapes that I have seen rejuvenated with the techniques of permaculture give me hope.
It will be nice to lay down some roots. I look forward to developing lasting friendships with my neighbors and coworkers. I will be isolated without cell phone service, but also removed from the incessant noise of our news and culture. I think it will be a great chance to just go off and be myself, without outside influence for a little while. I am a little nervous, but in a good way.
Everything is rusted in TX. Starting day two of looking for parts. Wishing I was at the beach, and not in the mechanics yard.