Another unfamiliar room appears when I my eyes open. Light spills through a small east facing rectangular window above the shower and pours across my bed. The alarm never sounded. Crap. Am I late for the Jeep doctor? No. I’m early. I roll on my side and try to get comfortable enough to reverse my conscious state, but no dice. A little before seven I surrender and make the coffee. It’s a two-mile drive to Boss Hawg Offroad and I have just over an hour to get there. The coffee tastes good.
I pull the U-Haul and trailer out of the cul de sac at a quarter of eight and make it to Bryce’s shop at ten til. He’s another tall guy with a manageable accent and we make the cursory introductions. As advertised by my parent’s friends, he’s a “stand-up guy” and I immediately trust his intention to fix what’s broke and get me back on my way. I untether the two-inch ten-foot tie-downs and back the Jeep into Boss Hawg’s lot. We exchange information and I head back the way I came, unwilling to relinquish the U-Haul set up until I know I won’t need it again.
With a little time to kill, I decide to head out for a morning pedal. The riding is fun, even if it feels like I’m spinning from Tomorrowland to Frontierland. The soil is a little wet from yesterday’s rain, and I learn quickly that limestone is frictionless when damp. My cell phone comes to life in the side pocket of my shorts and I pull off the trail to pick up the call. It’s Bryce with some news.
The Jeep’s current driveshaft is the wrong size. It was installed by a hack, probably the former owner, and will continue to plague my life until the correct sized part is installed. It was never going to fly let along drive. Amazing I’ve made it this far. The front-end needs a standard 60,000-mile maintenance which he adds to the list. Other than that, I was in pretty good shape. Bryce ordered the parts and expected to have me out the door on schedule. My warranty doesn’t cover the aftermarket driveshaft, and I can expect to pay about $700 for the correct component.
Absorbing the new information, I decide this is a good thing and venture farther north into the trail system. I can still get home before five, clean up, return the U-Haul and see what the town of Bentonville has to offer. It’s good to be under self-propulsion for a few days. I’m smiling inside at the thought of getting back on the road over the weekend as planned and acquiring Kéa in Nashville for our father-daughter leg. Game on.