Day 18: Back at it!

The mechanic brought Sparkle over to the motel around noon-time.  Then I had to hit a series of ATMs to get the balance of the $5200 total.  The mechanic wouldn’t take a credit card — and I didn’t want to wait til Monday to get the cash.  Here’s Sparkle’s new nose job:


Not bad, eh?  A new bumper, new side panel, new lights, new grill.  They couldn’t find a hood but managed to bang the old one into shape.  Also missing a little reflector thing about the lights.  And I’ll have to get a new windshield when I get home.  There are a couple big cracks and NYC has very strict laws about that.  But really, these guys performed a miracle here.  They stayed up til midnight last night working on her.  What they did in two days would probably have taken at least a week, maybe two weeks, somewhere else.  And I think I got a really good deal actually.  The parts alone were more than $2,000.  I am SO glad I kept Sparkle — I really love her so much.  She is the perfect traveling vehicle for me & the kids and she was running so perfectly all day today — despite the heat, the hills and the hail (see later).

First stop was Hatch — good to see that Teako Nunn continues to add to his collection (Muffler Man, A&W  statues, giant Uncle Sam, giant piggy bank, etc.).  This Yogi Bear was in his storage yard:



Back to Las Cruces which I started and then bagged a few days ago since the weather was crappy and I knew we had to pass back through later.  Today was perfect.


Note the lightning bolt on the sign:



More from Las Cruces:



Just look at that blue sky — but it will be changing shortly:


A closed saddlery shop — and what must’ve been a gas station sign support originally:


Leaving Las Cruces — incredible white puffy clouds.  This sign is what’s left of the Organ Mountain Lodge in Organ:



I’ve shot these Alamogordo rocket signs in sun before — but maybe these rain clouds moving in behind them are more dramatic.  I was relieved to see them both still there:




I was devastated to find that this sign in Alamogordo which I shot in 2008 has been replaced with a plastic box sign:



Heading up the mountain to the east of Alamogordo en route to High Rolls and Cloudcroft — first there was a dust storm (scary enough) and then it began to hail.  The hail bigger than peas, smaller than grapes.  I’d say bean-sized?  I don’t think I’ve driven on hail before and it felt pretty grindy & slippery.  I went SLOW.  Luckily, on the way back down the mountain, it started to rain and washed away the stuff:



From Alamogordo earlier in the day — and then later at night.  The arrow is filled with chasing bulbs.  Too bad the “L” is missing from the night shot side:




OK — so we’re back on track.  I hope the rain and freakish weather is done by morning.  Lots of central NM planned for tomorrow.  I’m so excited about it!  It feels SO good to be driving and shooting again.  

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16 thoughts on “Day 18: Back at it!

    • Pretty great! I was expecting a crunched up looking result. But they really did a “bang up” job. The bumper they got was black and I said that was fine. I was kinda looking forward to it. But they insisted on painting it so I wouldn’t have a “cow van”.

  1. that’s sort of weird the mechanics would only take cash? does that mean if there’s a problem you have no recourse with them….? paying with a credit card can protect the purchaser.

    so glad you are back on the road debra jane. some great pics today — looking forward to following you on your journeys….


    • I think it’s just that they’re a towing service — and just happen to be mechanics. They would not be able to justify to the IRS a $5200 tow. Sure, I’d have no recourse — but it’s not like I’m going back to Silver City. This was a transaction based on trust. Not a lot of options given where I was at.

  2. Well, Debra Jane, I’m so glad you are rollin’ again. Not only did you get back out there on my Bday, but a miracle did happen: The Cubs
    won a game! Plus, I could watch ’em win. WOW.
    I also had a nice slice of cheese pizza & a mocha coffee drink.The only drawback was my decision to have my first churro in many years. It wasn’t baked long enough, & well, ick. But enough about my day.

    Did your mechanics do your alignment, too? You don’t mention it so I guess they did. Sparkle certainly should feel a lot better now.
    How bad are the cracks in the windshield?

    You certainly had a mix of weather in that day! Glad the hail was small, ’cause bigger ones could have done Sparkle more mischief.

    Great colors in your shots, sun & blue skies (& PWC,too) adds lots.
    The sputnik looks almost 3D. Good work, as always.

    My only constructive comment is this: PLEASE try to make your videos longer. 7 seconds is too short, IMHO. Not that you will follow my advice. You never did before. SIGH.

    Hope your wrist is feeling better.

    Drive carefully.
    Go get ’em.

    • Wrist still the same. I make the videos short in hopes that Flickr will upload properly — but never seems to. So I usually just try to get a couple sequences to make the point and that’s that. But maybe next one longer.

      I didn’t get alignment yet. The wheel does not seem to be pulling and I keep looking at the tires for signs of wear. I’m hoping to make it to Albuquerque — the only NM city with Firestone dealers — where I would be entitled to a freebie. I’ve spent enough money on this trip already!

      The cracks are on the very far driver’s side — but not blocking view. But long and I know the first ticket agent in NYC will gleefully nail me for it. I don’t think they’re going to get any bigger on this trip — certainly not dangerous.

  3. Congratulations! FWIW, when in Albuquerque go to a windshield repair place and see if they can repair the windshield. I got two broken ones last summer thru stone chips and a third in Rochester. On the last one I called a windshield place and they did the repair in 20 minutes for $90. It may be an option for you depending on the size of the break.

    On topic, I really like those two ‘rocket signs’ and the White Sands Motel sign.. great stuff. Take care!


    • I’ll definitely keep my eye open for these businesses. I know sometimes they can do a “filler” instead of a replacement. These are long cracks — so maybe more substantial that the little round rock dings. But I’ll get them looked at.

  4. Simply amazing. Anyone else, after sustaining a traffic accident, is grounded for weeks while their car is assessed, repaired, and returned. Yet, you got it done in two days. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the situation – thousands of miles from home, and four dogs. I guess a lot of the speed was due to it being an emergency and CASH. Whatever the case, at least you’re back on the road. I’m still amazed.

    • Part of the speed was that it wasn’t covered by insurance. Which would have taken an adjuster and all kinds of bureaucracy before a screwdriver could be lifted. I maybe got lucky that it was a small town and the guys didn’t have all kinds of other customers to deal with. And I think they did take pity on me — and also realized the sooner they finished, the sooner they’d get their money. But yeah, pretty amazing I agree!

  5. Just to say I also didn’t have a problem with watching the video on flickr. Just wish for 15 seconds or more.

    Hope your wrist will improve today & Sparkle runs swell.
    See you next post. Happy shooting.

    • Sparkle chugging along just great.
      I guess the video was just the crappy internet service / speed I had last night. Funny it should be different at Flickr & YouTube though. I have had that problem before — so I usually just upload videos to YouTube.

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