I have a single pull down bed above the cab of Mander for guests. This became Alice’s bed while she was visiting me in Austin. Once we got back from our Need for Speed ordeal, we settled safely into our beds with hopes of fixing Alice’s truck, Betsy, in the morning.
The next morning, Alice stepped into her coveralls and dug out her tools. She did everything she knew to do to try to fix her tranny. She made phone calls to people to ask for second opinions and ideas. The end result was unanimous. She was going to have to drop her tranny and take it apart. To do that, she was going to need a tranny jack and ideally, a space other than the street to work on it.
Alice had signed up for AAA but it only covered a 3 mile tow. Christmas was approaching and there wasn’t much we could do other than put out a distress call and hope it was returned. We made the best of it by noting that we were lucky to have each other to spend the holidays with. We took to the streets of Austin, which were eerily abandoned, and spent Christmas walking around, playing and drinking mimosas out of travel mugs. It was a fun distraction for the problem at hand.
Sometimes you do all you can do and then you just have to be patient and wait for the universe to work it’s magic. Through connections of internet strangers and friends of friends, in one weeks time, someone had offered to tow Betsy and a shop, 20 minutes outside of Austin, had offered to let Alice work on her truck there. All free of charge. The guy who offered to tow Betsy came with a truck and a rented Uhaul trailer. As previously mentioned an Instgram buddy, Victorio, had tipped me off to a great parking spot in the city. Well, in the time I had been parked there, Victorio had joined me and many others had come to park there as well! This spot is clearly not top secret, but everyone that knows about it and uses it, is very respectful and considerate. We had developed a little home on wheels community right there on an Austin city street and it was pretty great!
When it came time to tow Betsy, all of our good neighbors came to help. The trailer didn’t have a winch so we had to get Betsy up there with the help of people’s houses and muscles! First we hooked up to Victorio’s house and we all got behind Betsy and pushed while Victorio reversed.
We could get Betsy only so far up the ramp before the strap would be cut by Victorio’s bumper, and she’d go rolling back down. We tried a few times before we gave up and decided that we should try Charissa and Jonathan’s house since it had a tow hitch. So we hooked Betsy up once again and everyone heaved and hoed while the van pulled the majority of Betsy’s weight up the ramp.
It took a couple tries but we eventually got her loaded up! Off to the shop they went! Alice was feeling relieved that she was finally going to be able to find out what was going on with her beloved Betsy.
Before Mander, I have to admit, I had a bleak outlook on humanity. I didn’t have the best encounters with people and it seemed like the vast majority were inconsiderate jerks. It wasn’t uncommon to hear me say, “People suck.” That outlook has done a complete 180 since Mander became a part of my life. I am constantly impressed by people’s kindness and willingness to help. I am overwhelmed by the goodness I see in almost everyone I meet. Clearly, it’s not Mander specific kindness. On this day, Alice and her truck were embraced by this kindness. The feeling of community is new to me and oh boy is it a wonderful feeling! I am happy to report, that now, it is not uncommon to hear me say, “People are so amazing!” It is truly a gift to know that even during a not ideal situation, beautiful things are always lurking around. Just waiting for their opportunity to shine.
Please consider donating to my Gas Money Pool on Paypal by clicking here. Any donation goes straight into Mander’s tank. At 6 mpg it sure costs a lot to keep the old girl on the road. With your help, I can continue to collect stories and take pictures to share with you on my blog and Instagram. Thank you for being a part of my journey!
You can also support me by shopping my vintage clothes collection, Freedom to Roam. These clothes are found at various thrift stores across the U.S. and purchases help keep me roaming!
Until next time, much love and Mander on!