The great escapeAugust 20, 2012
When we last left our heroes, they were slowly melting in the fires of Needles, California. Things were looking dire. It was somewhere around day 4 when our supply of Futurama ran out. We knew that we could not hold on much longer. On day 6, in desperation, we journeyed to the banks of the mighty Colorado, in search of water. While reading on the sandy bank we were approached by three girls, natives of Needles. They greeted us in what we could only assume was a typical local greeting- "Are you guy's, like, gay?" Now, Eric and I are not, in fact, gay lovers, but we are two dudes living in an RV, so it's not like we had never heard the question before. But we wondered what had prompted the question since they couldn't possibly know our living arrangements, and asked. This was the response: "Well, like, I don't know, like, you guys are like here...together...and you're not in the water, and your just, you know, reading books..." Think about that for a second. Books.
By day 8, we were nearly insane. Even Scrabble had lost its appeal. Luckily, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Our radiator was fixed and we were preparing ourselves for a life beyond Needles. When we turned the key, Steve roared to life, only to sputter out soon after in what seemed like a dying gasp. It turned out that the radiator had been the easy part. Now we found out that the head gasket on the left side of the engine had failed, spraying oil and coolant into the compression chamber. For those of you who, like us at the time, know nothing of cars, this is not good.
But, we were committed to nursing Steve back to health, and this turn for the worse did offer us an exciting new opportunity. We now knew that Steve would not be ready anytime soon, as we had thought before, so we decided to make a run for it. In April I had couchsurfed with a kid named Andrew in Flagstaff. I called him, and to my surprise, he was still around and willing to put us up if we could make it there. We packed up what few things we could carry, and set off, attempting to hitch a ride 200 miles East to Flagstaff from Needles.
After about 2 hours on the On Ramp to I 40, we were finally picked up by a kindly ex-hippy named Clay, just as we were about to give up and submit to another night in the desert. We arrived in Flagstaff just before midnight, and met up with Andrew. There was only one couch, so we decided to sling our hammocks outside his house and sleep under the stars. It would be another 8 days before we were on the road again, but of course, we didn't know that at the time. Stay tuned for Part 2.