What would happen if everything went according to plan? Why, we’d miss out on some excellent adventures.
After driving some 7,000 kilometres on this road trip from Calgary to almost the Mexico border, I’m searching for a food joint in Orem, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. I miss the turnoff and, driving through a parking lot, suddenly hear a “whap…whap…whap” coming from one of my tires. Sure enough, there’s a sheet metal screw submerged to the head. Damn! Double damn! Looking for the nearest place of salvation, I see a sign for Nico’s Auto and, underneath, “Hablas Espanol.”
“Can you fix it?” I ask the owner/mechanic Gaston Biscaro, en Ingles.
“I can have a look at it, if you can wait a couple of hours.” Instead, perhaps taking pity on me, he immediately jacks up the car, removes the tire and pulls out the offending screw. “I’ll have to seal it. It’ll probably take 15 or 20 minutes.”
Okay, I’ll get something to eat. I head on foot to Pizzeria Seven Twelve , my original destination, and submerge my sorrows in an excellent house-made sausage pizza with hand-pulled mozzarella and carmelized onions on a nice, puffy sourdough crust. It might be the best pizza I’ve had on my three-week trip.
I trudge back to Nico’s, where the car is waiting, tire fixed. “What’s the damage?” “Fifty,” I think I hear. “Fifty?” “No, fifteen.” Wow! Think that deserves a good tip.
This is where things get fun. I start talking with an assistant, Moses, who asks what I’m doing. I tell him a road trip focused on food and hand him a business card. “Hey, Gaston, look what this guy’s doing,” Moses says, as he pulls up my blog on a computer. Nico brings in his mechanical helper, his father-in-law, who until recently ran a local Argentinian restaurant. The father-in-law unwraps a paper towel, pulls out a loaf of bread his wife has just baked, cuts off large slices with a big knife and passes me one. It’s warm and delicious.
“Want a soda?” Nico asks, reaching into a small fridge. “No? Here’s a bag of mate so you can make yourself a cup.”
With that, I head outside for a group photo with my new friends, shake hands and I’m on my way. Think I should celebrate with a Fat Tire beer.