Kaye’s Corner: ‘Broke down’

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MEEKER | When equipment didn’t function on the ranch, my father-in-law would call it “broke down.” Being a teacher of grammar, I always wanted to say, “broken” but the message is clear either way. Something ain’t working.

If Joe Sullivan, a master mechanic, and a life-long fixer of about everything was “broke down,” it was serious stuff. He could repair anything, large or small.

Fast forward to our 2021 vacation and we are “broke down.” Our ever-faithful Tahoe, after enduring too many miles, whined, spit out smoke, and essentially quit.

Since we are camped near a town about the size of Meeker, we drove 40 miles north to investigate more options. The auto repair folks are overwhelmed as America takes to the roads again with apparently many auto issues.

But we found a good ‘ole Italian-accented guy who is a transmission expert. This is what he does every day and the online reviews were overwhelmingly positive. He told us he was booked for a month out but given our sob story would try to work us in earlier.

Although it would be fun to stay on the Oregon coast for several weeks, we can’t do that. We investigated rental trucks but finding something that can pull our trailer was a challenge. Campgrounds everywhere are already booked to the hilt, so we couldn’t move closer to the hoped-for repair place.

After several hours of researching auto repairs, campgrounds, rental cars, and finally lunch options, we drove the Tahoe back to the competent Italian guy, arranged a quick as possible repair, walked down the road to a restaurant, hailed a cab, rented a tiny car, and returned to our campsite.

At the end of the day, we were exhausted but survivors of “broke down”. The sun is shining in our campsite, we enjoyed an excellent home cooked meal, and have more adventures to look forward to tomorrow.

The shiny side of “broke down” is all the kind strangers who help you with practical information, advice, and assistance. As we investigated our options, many of our “trail angels” didn’t make a penny from our woes, but they helped anyway.

One pointed out we could have friends Fed Ex us our prescription meds as we didn’t bring a sufficient supply for three or four weeks but have plenty at home. Done, thanks to great Meeker friends! Fed Ex even delivers to camp sites! (Well, for a price, of course.) Who knew?

The campground host extended our stay in the same place, since now we can’t move the trailer. Then when the gray water needed dumping, they loaned us a portable disposal tank. Trees provide barriers between every camp site, laundry facilities exist, and it is very peaceful in camp.

With our tiny rental car, we go sight-seeing every day and have discovered many beautiful coastal sites, lots of sand dunes, and even some seals. Some days we dine in restaurants to enjoy the local seafood and take a break from tiny 160 square foot trailer living.

As our days here linger, we were thrilled to have a visit from our son, daughter-in-law and two grandkids. Even better, it was Father’s Day, so we rejoiced together over the weekend. This was a bonus visit following a previous three-day camping outing together.

While writing, I don’t know the end of this story and we don’t know when the repairs will be done. But we carry on and hope for a happy ending.

P.S. When internet connections permit and wind or rain drive me inside, I keep writing thus some articles written on the road!


By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times