When Monday morning came around, it was time to make the dreaded run to the mechanic in Ajo, fifteen miles distant. With only one wheel left on the trailer’s left side, it was listing to starboard pretty bad. We drained the tanks and moved whatever we could to the trailer’s good side so as to lighten the load. I pumped up the remaining tire an additional ten psi. That and driving slow was about all we could do to give that remaining tire a fighting chance.

We eased out of the campground, scraping the low-hanging wheel assembly that stubbornly clung to the axle’s end just once. Once on the asphalt we hit a top speed of 25 mph. At times we had quite an entourage of impatient vehicles backed up behind us but that was their problem. We had a problem of our own to think about and I wasn’t about to jeopardize my remaining wheel by hitting a bump at 60 mph. Although we must have taken at least ten breaths, it felt like we held our breath the whole way to Ajo. Despite dire predictions from Mary the Worrywort, we made it safely to Kord’s AutoCare Center.

Kord is quite a character. When I did a Google search for “RV Repair Ajo” his business came up. I called him, explained our situation, and asked if he did roadside care.

Brusquely, he said “No. Bring it to me today.”

I said I would in the morning. He shot back “No, you’re not hearing what I said. Bring it in today. That way I can order the parts and you won’t have to wait around all weekend.”

“Whoa” I thought. “This guy gets right to the point.” If I didn’t need his help I probably would have told him to kiss my ass. But I did need his help. That was on Thursday. I doubted he could get the parts and fix the damage by Friday so I waited until Monday to go in.

After safely arriving in Ajo Monday morning I presented myself to Kord and was gruffly told to wait an hour until he could come out and look at the damage.

But it turned out there is another side to Kord. Our first indication was a solid recommendation from a fellow RVer at the BLM campground. The next was on-the-house permission to stay at Kord’s next-door RV park, Belly Acres, (hookups, cable TV, showers, etc.) while we waited for our new axle to arrive.

Belly Acres was full of chatty RVers who each had a story to share about “gruff” Kord. All reported that he did quality work in his AutoCare center and charged very reasonable prices. The other information each of our neighbors shared with us was about wheel and axle trouble on their RVs. Prior to hearing their tales of woe, we had considered our runaway wheel a freak accident – one in a million. Not so. “Happens all the time” our neighbors said.

We were prepared to wait a week or more for our axle but Kord found one in Phoenix and it arrived the next day. He put it all back together for a lot less than we had feared and as far as we can tell, did a good job. Time will tell.

One more story about Kord: We had noticed a scruffy character hanging around Kord’s during the days we were there. He looked like a veteran homeless man – long beard and hair, ill-fitting clothes, bad teeth. He seemed to have a “screw loose” because he greeted everyone, repeatedly, with a big grin and the words “Must be a great day ’cause you got a smile on your face.” If there were five people standing at the counter, he’d go along and say that to each of them in turn.

After we had paid our bill and were getting ready to leave, the old scruffy guy came up to the front of Kord’s. We were talking with one of our RV neighbors. Mary said “Who is that guy?” Our neighbor told us that the scruffy guy had arrived in Ajo some weeks earlier and tried unsuccessfully to hitch a ride for three days in front of Kord’s. Finally, Kord told him he could stay in a vacant trailer Kord owned. Kord found some incidental work for him to do around the shop and, our neighbor informed us, the scruffy old guy is a lot happier and less scruffy than he was when he arrived in Ajo.

That Kord – a real diamond in the rough.