Day 220 : Hot dog, jumping frog, Martha’s perky

22 February 2011

Santa Fe to Truth or Consequences (via Albuquerque)

High point: Martha getting a clean bill of health…and bowling, small town style

Low point: Dirty diesel…yuck!

No point: James acknowledging a car’s hoot with a blast of blues and twos, only to later admit it was him who accidentally hit the horn in the first place…smooth!

Author’s notes

As a newbie to the crew it soon became apparent that things didn’t always go to plan on the road…but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Our first port of call for the day was to head to Santa Fe Fire Department 5  to get Martha checked out following her hiccup yesterday. The verdict wasn’t good, it looked as though the turbo was shot, which would prove catastrophic for the expedition. If we’d lost it while we were on the road, it would have blown out the entire engine, and bought our Guinness World Record attempt, and fund raising, to a grinding halt!

Now, Martha is a 17 year old unique piece of kit. Sourcing a part for the old girl is no easy feat, and after a few hectic phone calls searching for a replacement turbo, worried looks were being exchanged.

We were told our best bet was to head to a diesel specialist in Albuquerque – Central Motive Power.  Joe and the boys there impressed Steve with their knowledge, gadgetry and skill and after much tinkering the diagnosis was better than we’d previously feared. Seems Martha doesn’t like sub-zero temperatures and bad diesel…and I don’t blame her, sounds like an apres ski Schnapps induced hangover!

By the time we hit the road from Albuquerque, it was gone 4:00pm, we were seven hours behind schedule and unable to make it to our intended destination for the day – Ruidoso, where Todd from Sitzmark Chalet was putting us up for the night (sorry Todd).

After a quick bit of rerouting by our lovely Stage 8 Route Master General, Val, we’d set our sights on a closer target – the fantastically named Truth or Consequences.

The town got its name in 1950 when a local game show announced that if any town changed its name to Truth or Consequences it would receive unlimited amounts of publicity. The town, then known as Hot Springs, voted, and the rest is history. Only in America!

As we drove the beautiful roads of New Mexico, talking in the breathtaking scenery of red rock mountains and vast desert landscape, we set about trying to find a bed for the night…

Our SOS was answered by Jake, general manager at Riverbend Hot Springs who generously donated a night at his hotel and use of the natural hot spring baths that surrounded it.

The town of Truth or Consequences was idyllic – a small community-spirited town that welcomed us with open arms, and provided the boys with something they’d be longing for for a while…a bowling alley!

Bedroxx Bowling Alley opitimised small town America – it was friendly, welcoming and inquisitive – we were met with lots of questions, offers of contacting the local press and even spoke to a volunteer fire fighter from the town.

We bowled to a soundtrack of 80’s rock and Amy expertly showed up the boys by ‘whooping their behinds’ and beating them hands down – Girls 1, Boys 0. The evening rounded off with Steve attempting to pay $70 for a $17 bill – bowling is surprisingly cheap in the US!

So, the day didn’t go as planned, but as with so many instances on Follow That Fire Engine, things work out due to people’s generousity, kindness and overwhelming support in what we’re doing. It’s a crazy ride, but it’s amazing to be on board!


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One Response to “Day 220 : Hot dog, jumping frog, Martha’s perky”

  1. I just love the idea of Martha with a hangover.