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After the sixth phone call, I told Heath to just stop calling.
He was trying to find us an RV park near the Grand Canyon and for the first time, they all told us no. They were all full.
“Alyssa, I have to find us a place to stay tonight.”
“Don’t stress about it. We’ll find a place to stay. Let’s just enjoy the Grand Canyon today, okay?”
I don’t know how I kept so calm or why I wasn’t the person stressing about details, as was the norm. But whimsy filled my soul and I somehow knew, deep down, we’d find a place to stay.
And we did indeed—at a mechanic shop.
“Let’s just exit anyway and see if they have a spot for tonight.”
“They said that they are full when you called though, right?” I didn’t know why we waste part of our day checking on an RV park that already told us we couldn’t stay with them.
“Yeah, but let’s check anyway. It’s the closest Passport America RV Park to the Grand Canyon,” Heath replied with a hopeful smile.
“Sounds good,” I agreed. Waiting until the heat of the day passed before visiting the Canyon didn’t sound like an awful idea.
He pulled off at exit 163 and cruised down the off ramp, turning right at the green light and then stopping in the middle of the road.
I looked at him confused. “What are you doing?”
“We just died.” Heath’s eyes were wide and I half believed he was joking.
He turned off the engine and restarted the car. We jostled about ten feet forward into a parking lot before the car’s engine dwindled down to its eminent death.
Heath started the engine again when I noticed the meter in the dash with the picture of an oilcan sat far past low. Not that I have any idea what it means, but being in the red looked bad.
“Seriously? Wal-Mart changed our oil and checked our fluids not even an hour ago.”
I shook my head in disbelief assuming the pro mechanics at Wal-Mart made some fatal error. I hopped out the RV to follow Heath to the engine and met eyes with a girl standing next to her car. A man was bent over messing with her back tire. Just beyond them, I noticed a familiar sign.
After driving through desert and mountains, we landed in a mechanic’s parking lot in the picturesque town of Williams with a burnt out fuel pump.
So instead of hurrying to the Grand Canyon and stressing about having no place to stay, we found ourselves walking old Route 66 where we found the only Mexican restaurant in town and indulged in a bowl of queso. That’s where we met Jimmy and Karen, who teach martial art in the small town. They let us take a free class and taught us self defense and let us break our first boards.
You can’t force magic. Magic happenswhen you take risks, when you don’t schedule, when you don’t try to control. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and let the bad, the broken fuel pump, turn into something good, like lifelong memories.