The Plum Rides Again!

She is fixed! After having been told by “the best mechanic in Las Vegas” the suspension was broken and was causing the shake/wobbly wheel, I was told it would be $2000 and should not bother repairing it. “Get a new car,” Yoshi the mechanic said. Wrong. Wrong. So f’n wrong. Btw, he put on new tires — granted, she needed them — and gave her an alignment. He assured me the car was completely safe because the bearing will hold the wheels on. Problem was, it wasn’t the shocks at all. Not even a little. What was wrong? A cracked axle. One more trip down the highway, and we could have been dead.

It was my friend who said to take it to Pep Boys. Pep Boys? My eyes rolled invisibly in my head. “What can it hurt?” my friend said. Okay. I had no confidence. Hour after hour passed. Finally, I called them. “It’s the axle at the CV joint,” he said.

The Plum has 200,000 miles on her. I know she’s not going to live forever, but she’s going to go a bit further. That’s pretty much a miracle.

Driving, for me, is more than going to and from a workplace or the store. It is a passion. I’ve driven all across the country in every direction for two decades. These journeys have taken me up mountains, down city streets, across deserts, along a barely single lane road on the side of a cliff, through a couple of hurricanes, over long bridges, and to celebrate the repair of The Plum, down the Dragon’s Tail. The Tail of the Dragon, US 129, is famous among motorcycle enthusiasts, especially for the well-banked sharp curves. It is a biker’s dream ride. In a car – a cage, as motorcyclists would term it – it’s not too, too challenging for a well-experienced driver, but, holy shit, was it fun!

Photographers embed themselves on the curves to capture drivers as they go down. Here’s mine. You can’t see me, but you can make out the stained-glass flower which hangs from our rearview mirror. Best day ever!

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