Day 30: Inching Along in Southern Arizona

It’s always something.  Another frustrating mechanical day.  It started out great — perfect weather and all kinds of ambitious plans to wrap up the rest of southern AZ.  I hit the 3,000 mile mark and spotted a Jiffy Lube.  I’m very on-the-ball with oil changes and all.   I opened the brake fluid lid ever so gently — something that I have done myself since The Accident — realizing that it needs to be treated delicately.  Although it was full the past couple times I checked, this time, the front half was empty.  Uh oh.  The oil change guy pointed me in the direction of a gas station so I could go get some brake fluid.  Got some and started pouring it in.  It was leaking out the bottom just as fast as I was adding it in.

The oil change guys called their mechanic buddy and I eventually got towed to his shop.  Sure enough, the epoxy on the reservoir had deteriorated.  I don’t blame the mechanics back in Silver City where a part was not to be found, anywhere, and who sincerely believed the epoxy would hold.  And it did — for about 5,000 miles or so.  After talking with these mechanics, it seems I should’ve made a more concerted effort later to find that part and have it replaced.  The risk of losing the fluid and getting into an accident from brake failure was very high.  So, I counted my blessings that nothing happened in those twisty turny mountains yesterday — or in the middle of the nowhere desert (which is about 85% of all Arizona it seems).

While they were replacing the reservoir (no problem finding the part in Tucson) and master cylinder, I had them check out the A/C.   This mechanic believed it was the vacuum valve something and replaced it.  He was sure of it.  So, another $780.  Their credit card machine was not working — so I had to go get another cash advance at the bank.  Argh!  But I’m much relieved to have the brake thingie replaced & resolved.  And the air is running really nicely.  I sure hope it lasts since I have the big summer trip coming up and just can’t bear to waste more time and money on the A/C.

Enough about all that.  Instead of being too pissed off and depressed about wasting more than half the day in the shop again, I was just grateful to be alive.  The dogs and I even caught an hour-long nap on the waiting room sofa.  Since I only got to a few small towns, I only took a couple dozen photos and don’t have much to share with you tonight.  But tomorrow’s another day!

Cool windows on what appears to be a mid-century bank in Tucson not far from the garage:


Down to Nogales to shoot a few things.


Nogales is a border town (with Mexico) and there are all kinds of Border Patrol cops and regular cops everywhere.  This bank is the neatest thing.  A mix of midcentury with sort of a streamline moderne feel.  I took several photos but am just including a couple.  I had a security cop from the bank all over me — insisting I could only stand in the street to take photos.  I said that the sidewalk was public property but he said no — and it was too hot and I was just in a hurry to get moving so I didn’t argue.  Dealing with cops and cop-wanna-bes was just not the way I wanted to end my day.

The bank’s ATMs:


On to Benson.  I’m pretty sure this is a modern sign — patina-ized to look old.  Still funky and fun:


On to Tombstone.  The hat piece is most likely new — but the top part looks like probably old “can” reworked / relettered:


So that’s it I’m afraid on tonight’s visuals.  Stayed the night here in Bisbee (no, not the Shady Dell) where it’s mountain-like cool.  I’m invigorated and ready to get moving in a serious way.  I’m thinking I should be able to wrap up Arizona in about two days — just the southeast and the northwest to go.  Which puts me slightly ahead of schedule and might leave a little time before the American Sign Museum “thing” in Cincinnati for dabbling in either Colorado or possibly some Kansas City stuff.  I have some short lists with me in case I ran ahead of schedule — something that’s never happened before.

12 thoughts on “Day 30: Inching Along in Southern Arizona

  1. so FREAKING glad you figured out the part before anything had a chance to happen. wow 5,000 miles since you were in Silver City?!? lordy lordy you don’t mess around, debra jane!

    enjoying all of the buildings / signs, as usual. glad the trip has been so productive.

    keep it on the road (as my shrink always says)!



    • I think I usually log about 15,000 miles on these trips. Can’t remember exactly. But yeah, 13+ hours of driving every day times 39… adds up.

      I’m grateful that we’re all alive and that I just so happened to stop at that Jiffy Lube in Tucson — at that moment — and not a far tinier town where unlikely to have parts or decent mechanics. Or worse, had to brake hard and done some sort of spin (a likely scenario so the mechanics said) and gotten into (another, worse) accident.

      So, yeah, eager to just be driving and shooting again today. Always looking forward…

  2. Wow – that Bank of America in Nogales is great. I wonder if it was originally a Secuirty Pacific Bank branch? The old California based Bank of America did not experiment that much in architecture.

  3. Oh, MY, Gawd. DJ & Sparkle & The Kids dodge another bullet. Wow, talk about skeery. Well, all’s well that…

    Don’t love the building but the Bracker’s sign & font make up for it.

    One last thought about your lens hood.You may find even if you had it ON all the time, it may only be a pain if it gets on your way. Bet for 99.9 % of the time , you won’t have missed it.
    Nuff said.

    Hope by the time you read this your day HAS BEEN trouble free & full of good shots to share!

    • Sparkle put in a stellar day. And we certainly don’t need the A/C anymore — it’s freezing up here in northern AZ. Who knews?! Tonight’s supposed to be 28. Glad I have my winter coat buried here someplace.

      I experimented with the Hood when I first got Dee. Not only did it annoy me with sticking out, bumping on stuff and looking like a novice trying to look pro. But, more than that, it added that black junk around the edges of photos. I think they call it vignette-ing — whatever it is, I hate it.

  4. Despite the expense, I still think Arizona has been very good to you. Finding the brake fluid leak before an actual failure occurred was from heaven.

    That bank looks sooo 1970s. Even in graphic design, rounded corners on all the rectangular borders was all the rage. Now I’m not even sure why! Maybe a backlash reaction to the strict Swiss Grid graphic design of the 1960s?

    Back in the day I was very good at creating rounded-corner borders with Rapidiograph pen when creating camera-ready art for ads and corporate brochures. The trend persisted from 1970-1985. Way before the Mac, Quark and Illustrator came along and made it all so easy.

    • Yes, AZ has been very good to us. I think there’s been sun every single day. And yeah, major luck to get those mechanics to jump right on things and get me out of there on a Friday. I would’ve been one miserable camper if I’d gone to another garage and they said they couldn’t get to it til Monday. Or same result, if I’d broken down in a tiny town on a weekend.

      Love roundie windows. Usually, it seems they did this stuff with plastic — kinda more impressive in concrete & stucco. Usually those materials went the brutalism route — which I also love.

    • The A/C has been an ongoing issue for years (and I always travel during warm weather — never need it at home so it’s bound to require attention on the road). Hopefully, that’s fixed for this trip and the summer trip. The accident — I take the blame for that expense — can’t blame Sparkle at all for that! And the other stuff — not too much of it really — considering the amount of driving (12-14 hrs per day) and the number of days (30-something). Something’s bound to go wrong — esp. on the road since I never drive at home — NYC is all about moving it 20 feet to the other side of the street and that’s about it. Not like normal folks who drive to work. And I don’t even drive on the weekends since I’m working 6-7 days a week to pay for this “lifestyle”.

  5. Considering the mechanical issues you’ve been having, and that you’re more likely to have things happen due to the accident, perhaps you ought to head straight to Ohio to the sign museum when you’re done and use your extra time there rather than “dabble” and take a chance on another breakdown thousands of miles away. Just sayin…

    • Too late now — that post was thousands of miles ago. I’m now poised near Kansas City so it’s a straight shot pretty much to Cincy. Things are pretty much on schedule — I should arrive in Cincy on Thursday.

      I don’t think there will be any mechanical issues related to the accident. The guys in Silver City replaced the radiator, lights, etc. The engine was not hurt — nor was the frame. So the only mechanical thing was the brake fluid reservoir which had a crack — and the part could not be found anywhere. Hence, the epoxy — which they thought would last forever but only made it about 6,000 miles.

      And all in all, I think having to have repairs on the road makes sense. I probably drive more miles on a trip like this than most people drive in a year or two.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s