On a recommendation from the person who inspected our rig, we made our way to a local muffler place to have our tailpipe refastened. Unfortunately, the innermost exhaust pipe had developed massive holes and cracks which were probably contributing greatly to the smell of diesel fumes permeating the rig while driving.
The mechanic was a veritable philosopher (think Dan Millman's "Way of the Peaceful Warrior") who included us in his work and allowed us to be under the rig with him as it sat on a massive lift above our heads. He regaled us with stories, philosophy, and true words of wisdom as he bent and welded pipes to outfit our rig with a sturdy exhaust system once again. It was great to see the underbelly of the beast (photos to follow) and understand more intimately what's going on beneath us as we barrel down the highway.
Tonight, my back is about 70% better, and we are now parked in the driveway of a stranger in Spring, Texas who Mary met through a Facebook friend, another virtual stranger whom we will meet face-to-face tomorrow when we do a Laughter Yoga session at the local Unitarian Church in a town called The Woodlands.
Things are on the upswing today, although my back is in dire need of rest, more ice, more Valium, more Ibuprofen, and a good night's sleep. Mary is a good caretaker, a nurturing task-mistress, and the love of my life, and it is with gratitude that I acknowledge that the storms of yesterday have passed, mainly because Mary has been there every step of the way.
Bon nuit from deep in the heart of Texas.