Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

1,663 Miles Later

After a three hour flight and a three day drive back, I'm now the proud owner of a 1966 Volkswagen Microbus. I was really nervous about flying out to purchase a vehicle I had never seen for obvious reasons despite talking to the owner, Toby, at some length a few times. What if it wasn't what he said was? What if it was in horrible condition? What if he raised the price once I got there knowing I flew in for it? Or worse, what if it was all he said it was but sold it. Once I got in at the airport I was just wired nerves wondering if I'd call and find out he'd sold it already. He picked me up from the airport in a restored '63 Dart convertible. By the time we went to the bank and grocery store to notarize the title I found out a little more about the bus I was buying. He's owned it since 1989 and had a lot of fond memories traveling with it. By the time I finally saw it I was ready to pay him and be on my way. We went through the formalities of the walk around, but mostly we just talked about her little quirks. When it was all said and done, we shook hands and he asked me to keep him updated on her restoration and I think he meant it.

With no air conditioning I just slid the windows open and enjoyed the fresh air on the ride home. Something in the Arizona air smells different, but not in a bad way. Somewhere around La Cruces my speedometer gave out. It started spinning like a cracked out clock then just stopped dead right along with my odometer. It's a good thing I knew by this time that she shook and shimmied a little more right at sixty two to sixty six miles per hour. I pushed a little further that first day and made it to a hotel calling my name in Neon at Fabens.

Gasing up before I left that morning, I noticed my little oil leak had progressed into a large oil leak and she was running really hot. I knew she wouldn't make it back to Houston unless she was towed or fixed. I was all for towing, but Lana suggested getting it fixed locally before I dropped twelve hundred at Ryder. So I reluctantly called around. I was having nightmares about my last vehicle breakdown in Pope, Mississippi. After looking in the local yellow pages at the gas station I found a vdub specialty shop. The attendant went out of her way to try and help me out, asking me questions about the bus the whole time. I called them up and told them my predicament. The guy said tow her in and he could get me back on the road in a few hours for under two hundred.

When the tow truck showed up the driver stalked around the bus with a big grin. Turns out his son is looking for a microbus too and he's been keeping his eye out. He dropped a few hints as to that but I think I made it pretty clear I was keeping her when he found I had flown in to get it. They were really great guys and we talked the whole way back to El Paso about old cars, kids, our time in the Army, and all the great titty bars there in town if I had to stay another night. They only charged me forty five for a thirty mile tow. If you've ever had to be towed you know how cheap that is. Before we parted ways, they gave me some cards to give to the shop which I gladly did.

Competition Motors reminded me of the little shop I used to take my '71 bug in Clarksville, Tennessee. It was a homey feeling place with lots of memorabilia laying around everywhere and parts shoved in every possible corner. They recommended a great barbecue place a few blocks down where I ate a great ham sandwich and read some a few chapters more of Chasm City. Good on their word, the father and son team had me back on the road in just a few hours. The gaskets on my head covers gave out plus a rag I didn't even know about had been sucked into my fan. I kept the rag as a memento. I was on my way plus they put in new plugs and adjusted the points on my distributor. If you're ever in El Paso cruising along in your Vdub when your green light goes on, Competition Motors should be your only choice. I only made it out to Kerrville that night but I wasn't that much of a "setback". Having my card declined at the hotel was, however. Bank of America put a hold on my card for suspicious activity but I wouldn't find that out until the morning. Lana put up with my grumpiness and got the hotel to charge it to her credit card after a few minor fax machine issues. I'm surprised she didn't make me sleep in the van after I was such an ass with her on the phone but that's my baby. She always seems to be able to empathise with me and knew it was just exhaustion and frustration. I love my woman.

I was back on the road again and tried to get money out when I was declined again. I called my baby, she called the bank, and they lifted the hold on my card. I was on my way home and running a day late. Normally I would'nt think this such a big deal but I had Matt's bachelor party to do for him in College Station that night. I got home exhausted. I switched cars, showered, packed some more clean cloths, grabbed my paintball gun, and was on the road again. It was exhilarating though to be running on pure adrenaline, redbull, and coffee. I hit College Station later that night.

Since I didn't realize it was Easter weekend, we didn't get to go camping. Turns out everyone likes to go camping on Easter weekend. We drove out to Austin and hit a great titty bar. I don't remember the name of it now but the women were amazing. I won't go into too much detail but we kept a woman in Matt's lap and beer in his hand for most of the night. Other than the guy playing pocket pool with himself quite vigorously all night, it went really well. I think they required their women to be 5'8" minimum. After staring at miles of road I got to stare at miles of legs all night long.

paintballcreek01Slightly dehydrated, we crawled out of our room in Austin after a five hours sleep and hit the road for paintballing. It was the best field I've played at and it would be well worth the drive form Houston to play there again. Texas Paintball has a creek, lots of hilly terrain, great scenarios and a really helpful staff. We walked away with many a bruises and smiles. This is the kind of field I would like to open. I'm hoping to rally the guys sometime the next few weeks for a return trip.

I got home last night around eleven. I think my leg muscles in my gas petal leg put on a few pounds over the past few days. I limped in the house, still wearing my dirty paintball cloths and smell, and promptly flopped into a chair. Glen, Derek, Jess were on their way but I was pushing just to stay awake on the ride home. So I visited with Micah, Kelly, Lana, and Marcel before I found myself beginning in coherent sentences in my mind. I called it a night and crashed hard.

On my way up to Lana's office I was tempted to start working on the bus. Marcel was no help. He's pretty eager to help out with "our bus". So we crawled around in it together for a few minutes. I can't wait to start but today I think I'm going to rest up. It's been a busy few days if I may say so myself.

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