March 24 – April 6, 2017 (Eight of these days were spent in one spot because Studley out of commission).
The next day I found a lovely spot to camp and under the advice of many men, had decided to replace my brake pads, rotors AND calipers. Some Nomad friends were in the area and said they would do the brake job for a very reasonable fee, so they came and camped in a spot nearby and once I had all the parts, my friends did the job.
However, while we were bleeding the brakes there was a squeal from the belt which passed quickly, but when we tried driving it afterward, I found there were no power brakes or power steering.
Research online suggested the hydro-boost, so I started calling around for garages that would help to fix this and comparing prices for labor for that, and/or the pump etc. (I had a Wi-Fi signal out there, thankfully). I also checked prices of the hydro-boost and the power steering pump. The local garages wanted a lot of money because this was a labor intensive job, and I personally felt their quotes were a little too steep.
I Found an Honest Mechanic.
I decided to ask the locals, so joined a Cottonwood Facebook page and one lady suggested I call Clayton Rollins, mechanic/tinkerer extraordinaire, who even comes out to you to fix things. He’s very reasonable because he doesn’t have the overhead of a garage. I called him and a day or so later he stopped by to see what the problem was. He was convinced it was just the power steering pump and said he could do the job a few days later. I ordered the parts (all the parts imaginable, just in case) and then cadged a ride into Cottonwood to pick up the parts the next day.
Sure enough, it was just the power steering pump and the job took about 4-hours to do. I don’t want to tell you exactly what it cost (because I don’t want other’s to believe that theirs will cost the same), but I can tell you it was about $200 less than the garage. I was very happy with Clayton, and not only his work, but his honesty, and his gentle, calm personality. I trusted him completely.
A few days later I had a squealing belt, and Clayton guessed that it was probably all gunked up from so much being spilled on it. I dreaded yet more big expenses but he assured me that replacing the belt would take care of it. He was right again. He asked for $10 for his labor costs, and I gave him $20. He did it right in the parking lot of the Napa store in Camp Verde. Because I drove to Camp Verde, there wasn’t even a call-out fee.
I would like to recommend Clayton Rollins of Valley Performance in Camp Verde to you all, his telephone number is 928-254-8042. Honest and reasonable mechanics are almost impossible to find and I’m going to keep him in mind for the future, and possibly even plan my services around trips to Camp Verde, AZ. just so I can use Clayton. If you use him, please mention that Roxy with the lifted, white Astro Van recommended him, so that maybe he will remember me (and squeeze me in between all of you).
Above is my boondocking spot, you can just make out Studley Van. On the far right is the camp spot my friends stayed in. It was a lovely area, and the highway was far enough away that it was barely discernable. The only noise was from target practicing by locals, and a RAVE party that happened on the Saturday night that I was there. It went on all through the night, until noon the next day. I can honestly say I don’t want to hear electronic dance music again for a very, very long time, possibly even years.
I was actually ‘stuck’ out here in this spot for about eight days. Fortunately, I could walk to the top of the hill behind me and look at this view (above) and one day a balloon landed at the bottom of my ‘driveway’ (this happens to many campers if they camp here often enough). Because my friends were ‘next door’ I was able to go over there and hang out with them for coffee (and breakfast) in the morning, and campfires (and supper) in the evening. I also had Wi-Fi available with my Jetpack. I binge-watched a lot of Netflix shows. By the time I was able to roll again, I’d pretty much run out of food. On my last morning there (when Clayton came and fixed Studley), I was down to two soft apples, so I made stewed apples for breakfast, with spicy ginger peach jam.
I was finally free again, and driving Studley was a pleasure, especially with those new brakes. I spent a couple of nights camping with a huge group of snowbirds and nomads by Thousand Trails Road. One night there was another thunderstorm and I was loving it. The image below was taken through my rear window. Those clouds had just rolled over us.
The sunset was incredible. I’m sorry for the poor quality of this picture, but I dared only open my door for five seconds to get this shot. The wind was horrendous, and the blowing sand scary, but this is one of the reasons I love storms. Clouds can sometimes produce the most dramatic sunsets and sunrises ever. Click HERE to view one of my all-time favorite sunrise images taken by myself.
While at this spot I ran into a couple of people I’d met at The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in January, and it was lovely to have some people to hang out with for a few days and nights.
I did do some FUN things in the Cottonwood/Sedona area before moving on, and I’ll share that in my next post.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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