OK, next day. Up early with a projected home time of 1am Wednesday night. I'm in the back reading since I drove/sat at the wheel for 12 hours the day before. We're making pretty good time. Sometime around 8pm, Lily is driving and notices that there sure is a lot of smoke coming out of the back of the van. We keep on for a few miles and it just keeps getting worse. We're 5-6 hours from home. Lily takes an exit and we pull over. The smoke isn't coming from the tailpipe, but from the entire underside of the van. Huge clouds of toxic smoke, inside and out. We call AAA. The tow truck arrives in 30-40 minutes ang hauls us 20 mile to Fort Stockton, TX aka the only town between San Antonio and El Paso. We drop off the van at a auto shop and find a motel (after 3-4 tries because apparently there is an oil field boom outside of Fort Stockton and all the workers live in the motels).
Next day. Uh, Thursday. Go over the the mechanic bright and early. Surprise, surprise our transmission is shot. It will cost gobs of money and "You'll be lucky to get out of here tomorrow". We tell him to order the part and then recheck our room. We're going to wait it out.
The strip of road where we're staying is totally desolate. Half the places are overgrown with weeds. One place (that had been closed for a few years) had this painted in the window, "No Hitchhiking Aloud." A Loud. Also, there are no car rental places or U-Hauls etc in town. The pizza delivery place "doesn't like to pick up their phone." That first night after the breakdown, we ate dinner from the Shell station down the road. OK, Thursday was spent whining, sleeping, swimming at the motel, reading and watching HBO. Not really an awful day. Just long and unnecessary.
Friday morning Lily and I walk down to the mechanic's (about 1 mile from the motel) to see what's up. He assures us that the rebuilt transmission will be coming in from Odessa "after lunch." We pleadingly look at him and ask if it will done that afternoon. He tells us it will. He also says he'll call us ASAP if the part doesn't come in. We go back to the motel, shower, sit around and finally check out at 1pm. The nice folks there say we can store our bags while waiting for the van. We sit around in the lobby and read by the pool a bit.
At 2:30 we all decide to walk to get some lunch at a Mexican restaurant down past the shop and to pop in to check out the progress. He pops his head out from under another car and says, "Oh yeah, it's not coming in today. Maybe tomorrow or Monday." We freak out. We're trapped in this goddamn shit town going nuts. Have you seem U-Turn? It's like that but without Claire Danes. First thing I do is ask Lily to call her parents who had offered to drive out and pick us up the day before. They quickly rent a van in Austin and start driving. We're gonna leave the van there for Will to pick up on his way back from LA (him and Ricky are in another car and stayed an extra week).
We trying to figure out what to do with the equipment. The garage closes at 6. Lily's folks won't be there til 9 at the earliest. It's decided to grab the the most expensive guitars and walk back to the motel and leave the rest to chance in the van rather that sit on the side of the road with all that stuff. Greg goes swimming at the motel. I read in the shade by the pool. Lily and Dan sit in the lobby reading/watching TV. The people at the motel could have kicked us out at any time and to their credit they let us hang out for hours. After a rather yummy dinner at K-Bob's Steakhouse, Lily's folks got there around 9:30. We got home at 4am. My room stinks and there's dog poop on the floor. I went straight to bed.