The sign read 12 miles to Madrid.
I was screwed, yet remained hopeful.
I might make it to Madrid without mutilating the Lincoln or killing myself, so decided to chance it.
It was not much of a decision, with so few options left.
Sleep in the car, on a desolate road, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night or try for the only other reasonable alternative.
I certainly was not dealing with roadside assistance again.
So onward I drove.
Was the level of desolation on this road a good or a bad thing?
Regardless, I was determined to get to my Madrid AirBnB and lie down in a bed that night. Even if the damned sun was rising by the time I got there.
The Aviator crawled up a steep and curvy incline, as I murmured my mantra… slightly amending it each torturous mile.
Just 10 more miles, just 8 more miles.
Come on baby… you can make it.
A Dogs Life
I checked the rear view.
Roadie was quiet as usual. Asleep in her backseat and nestled in her hammock. Completely accustomed to long hauling at this point.
Even at her age the dog has the bladder of a champ and only asks to stop 2 or 3 times in a 16 hour stint. 16 hours being generally my limit for long distance driving.
She’d slept through the flat tire. Through the most of the tow truck guy changing the tire with my equally flat spare. (Thanks a lot you asshole)
She sat up and watched a bit as said “help” did not check if the spare tire was good. Even after I repeatedly shared my concern and told him that I was completely ignorant to the condition of the spare.
Roadie wasn’t worried, after all she’s a dog. For a moment I wished she was the driver and I was the dog in the hammock.
The Turquoise Trail
Tow truck dude reassured me that the tire was good.
Then drove off in his tow truck. Leaving me on a gravel road, that not one, not even two roadside assistance services could find without a great deal of direction and description from me.
Me, my ancient dog and my Lincoln Aviator with an equally flat tire as the first.
Alone on this unpaved road, in the middle of the desert, on a seemingly clear but oddly starless night.
Me and my sweet dog.
Left as fodder for the coyotes, only a few miles from our destination.
It seemed hours ago that I’d turned onto the Turquoise Trail and started on the last 12 miles to Madrid.
We now had only 7 more miles to go.