Some ominous engine behavior prompted us to reroute to Santa Fe, where there are a few mechanics that work on Vanagons. The shop we found had two Vanagons on lifts, a couple nice ones parked outside and a few more there for parts - so we felt pretty good about leaving the van. There were also framed advice columns from Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, of Car Talk, and signed photos Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future,” who’s a customer (though he does not have a Vanagon - or a Delorean - at least not one serviced at this shop).
While exploring Santa Fe’s touristy downtown, I met a local 18-year-old high school student who grew up all over the world, started an algae biofuel company at 9 years old and plans to become a doctor. I also met an older gentleman who abducts kids for a living, so to speak. Parents all over the U.S. hire him to take their kids to rehab facilities. He deals mostly with children of the rich and famous and told me about the differences between grabbing a kid at home versus on the street. He’s a black belt in a discipline I’d never heard of, and while he did give me his card, he declined to be interviewed.
At a local pub tonight, we could hear patrons discussing UFOs - something the bartender said is common this close to Roswell (about three hours away). Customers were also huddled over their smartphones, checking their fantasy football scores as the New England Patriots collapsed against the Kansas City Chiefs.
We’re hoping the van will be ready by late morning tomorrow so we can push on to Navajo Nation.