I have been stranded, quite literally, in this small town in southeast Nevada while my truck gets fixed.
What Happened to My Truck
I was driving up Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park when my truck just lost all speed. Petal to the metal, nothing happened. I parked and hiked and hitchhiked a ride back to my camper at the end of the night. If you've read that post, you know the story. But that's only part of it.
The second half of the story is that when I got back to my car, the transmission was still way too hot to drive. I thought I'd camp there for the night and pay whatever ticket I got for overnighting in a national park. However, I ended up coasting down the mountain anyway because I felt like I had altitude sickness, camping in a gas station parking lot for two nights while my warranty company failed to find someone who would tow me, and driving myself the 60 miles (at 25-40 miles per hour; it took nearly two hours!!) to the nearest mechanic in Ely for service.
That was Monday, September 11th. After fighting with my warranty company and waiting the six business days for a transmission to get shipped from Salt Lake City, my truck will be ready to go "hopefully by the end of the week" (it's the 26th).
My Three Weeks in Ely, Nevada
When a nice mechanic named Dylan gave me a ride from the shop back to the KOA, I asked what I should plan to do with my few weeks here. Dylan's response was not encouraging.
A conversation exemplifying small town life
Me: "Seems like I might been here a while. What's there to do in town?"
Dylan: "I've lived here my whole life, and I don't even know."
I eventually learned that there is a movie theater and a bowling alley in town. Nearby, there are also some cool state parks, hot springs, and the national park. If only there were a rental car company in town...
Not only is Ely a small town, but I haven't even been able to see it. I've been at the KOA, which is nearly three miles outside of town. I've gotten rides from very generous strangers to the grocery store to stock up on frozen meals and cold-brew coffee. Other than two trips in fifteen days, I've spent all my time in the acre of this campground. Mostly, I've been working, playing guitar, and facetiming with friends and family. (Thanks for entertaining me, y'all.)
I am so grateful that I impulsively bought a $5 basketball from Walmart a few months ago. That's been a daily post-work ritual that has helped me stay in shape and stay sane. They say you miss every shot you don't take, and two weeks ago, I missed every shot I did take, too. But after 30-60 minutes a day for the last two weeks, I've actually started to make a few baskets here and there. And it's a better workout when I miss and have to retrieve my rebounds, anyway.
Wonkey the Donkey
The one other point of entertainment here is Wonkey the Donkey. I am next-door neighbors with this donkey in his corral. He's very friendly and mostly a fine companion, except for random outbursts at four o'clock in the morning.
One of my favorite parts of Ely is the evening. The sunsets are beautiful, and there are lots of stars out once the sun goes down. Luckily the weather has been nice enough to appreciate it most days.