On a whim JB suggested we drive through Durango on our way to Moab, as opposed to remaining on the main highway, since Google predicted it would add only three minutes to the route. I guess not even Google can predict when our camper van will break down and just like that three minutes turned into three days.
We pulled into the Durango Home Depot parking lot to purchase some van improvement items suspecting we would hop back in Connie (the van) and drive on. But Connie had other plans for us, she wouldn’t start. JB suggested it was a fuel delivery issue and likely the fuel pump but first we were going to replace the dilapidated fuel filter in hopes that was the issue (below left). We tried to limp Connie over to O’Riley Autoparts for fuel filter replacement but we subsequently died in the parking lot The Grease Monkey about 50 yards from Home Depot.
There could have been far worse places to break down (like on the side of the highway going to Moab), the Grease Monkey employees were more helpful than we could have ever expected. The manager ordered us parts from O’Riley so that they would be delivered to his shop and he didn’t even mark up the price! Unfortunately, the filter was not the solution. Another employee, Brian, offered to help us once he got off work – not only did he offer his time he also allowed us to pull the van into the shop to take a look at it all for free (above right). After tinkering with some relays under the hood we conceded to staying at The Downtown Durango Inn for the evening and taking Connie to the mechanic in the morning.
We spoke with Lance at the 4 x 4 and More and he was willing to squeeze us in even though, just like every other auto shop in town, he was completely booked. We thought she would be fixed the same day since Lance quickly concluded the fuel pump was as fault. We had to check out of the hotel by noon so that left us without a vehicle, one bike, and a cat until Connie was up and running. The two rental car agencies in town had no available cars so naturally we bought another bike (at Walmart) strapped Sparrow’s crate to the back of JB’s bike (below) and attempted to ride down the river bike path.
Sparrow may have or may not have become detached from the bike at some point and taken a short tumble. She is not the happiest of cats these days, especially after being downgraded from a house, to a van, to a crate on the back of a bicycle. I do hope she forgives me. JB and I played in the Animas River (below left and center) for a bit while Sparrow hid in the bushes (below right).
Fast-forward to 5 o’clock, Connie is still broken, the 4 x 4 employees are enjoying a post-work beer and JB and I are taxiing back to the hotel with a cat, litter box, crash pad and climbing gear. We asked the taxi driver about local climbing spots and he took us to see X rock (off the clock) so we could find it easily in the morning. We ended up climbing Sailing Hawk (below left) nearby X rock before checking out of the Durango Downtown Inn for the second day in a row. But before leaving we found some delicious red treasures in the front bushes of the hotel (below right). I found this rare treat (at least for a Floridian) a reminder that although the trip isn’t going as planned and broken down or not, there is beauty in every situation if I choose to acknowledge it.
We trolleyed down to the mechanic shop around 4p.m. since Lance informed us Connie should be ready by early afternoon and we still hadn’t gotten a call. We hung around the place to make sure she would be done before closing – we were ready to hit the road for Moab. Which is exactly what we did.