Fishing With Ivan Part 4B

24 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Heading west out of the desert, everything was fine until, our car transmission overheated in the mountains (7000’).  We were on our way to visit our high school friends Jim & Charlene in Flagstaff, AZ.  The fluid had boiled over, out of the dip-stick tube, onto the exhaust; causing a huge cloud of smoke (we were lucky it didn’t start a fire).  

I was afraid we had burned up the engine, but after we stopped to let things cool down, I was able to added more transmission fluid, and we were able to continue on our way with no further problems.  Whoo!  That was a close one!


I had met Jim at a motorcycle club while in high school, and had run into him in Japan during my tour of duty with the U.S. Navy.  DiVoran had become friends with Charlene at Cosmetology School, while I was in the Navy.  They are still good friends, and they write to each other all these years later.  Jim and Charlene enjoyed meeting our kids, and gave us a grand tour of the sights of Flagstaff.  I remember when we got ready to leave the next morning; we had a flat on the station wagon.  Their sloping driveway made it very difficult to unhook the camper without it getting away from us.  Then we had to unload the back of the station wagon to get to the spare time.  Boy was I glad to have Jim there to help me.  What a hassle that was!

Photo Credit Bill Lites

After leaving Flagstaff, we were able to show the kids the ancient Indian cliff dwellings (1150-1600) in the Bandelier National Monument.  At the time, we were allowed to climb ladders, provided by the park service, to inspect some of the dwellings.  That was an interesting experience for all of us.  We were all impressed with the design and quantity of the different types of dwellings there were, and how they had survived for so long.  I’m sure the park service doesn’t allow people to climb all over the dwellings these days.

Photo Credit DiVoran Lites

Our family will never forget the night we spent in Needles, CA.  We had stopped at an RV park for the night, before starting the trek across the Mohave Desert the next day.  It was really hot, and by the time we got the camper set-up, we were all ready for a swim in their pool to cool off.  About the time we got the dinner dishes cleaned up we noticed the wind was picking up.  At first we didn’t mind a little breeze to help cool things down.  But the wind kept getting stronger and was starting to kick up some dust.

We finally moved into the camper and closed all the windows and the door, to get some protection from the wind and dust.  It was like an oven in the camper with everything closed up (NO A/C), but that was about all we could do.  Then we heard a loud roaring sound and the top of the camper started rocking back and forth.  That only lasted a very few minutes, but it was a really scary few minutes.  Then it was all over, and things calmed down.  We learned later that a very large ‘Dust Devil’ had passed thru the area.  The rest of the night was hot and humid, with no wind, and it was a fretful night for all of us.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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