X-Type: Email; Outmail
Subject: From Ed and Edith Part VII
PART VIII "USA BOUND"
We left Chapala on Wednesday morning early. We took the Libre all the way to Mazatlan. We saved a bunch of tool money but we earned it. It took 9 hours of two lane roads other than we did take the Cuota (toll) through the highest mountains west of Guadaljara. Really seen the real Mexico as we went through a lot of towns. Really never had any close calls other than 3 people barely got by us passing before hitting an on coming vehicle. Shoulder are non existant most of the way and quite narrow so really have to pay attention. If you drift and get over the edge you are probably dead. We hit it hard and did not stop other than for diesel and getting some water or snacks out of the 5th to eat on the go. We got into Mazatlan about 4 pm and found the park we were looking for OK. Nobody around to pay and the park was in tough shape but we talked to some of the people parked and a ham VE7DO who has stayed there all winter filled us in on things and where the beach access is. We got parked, checked the e-mail and headed for the beach. It is really nice and goes for miles. After supper I listened to a Spanish tape and I was falling asleep so decided to go to bed after one side of the tape. I was tired as it was a tough drive with no margin for error.
We got up in the morning a decided to check out the beaches at Mazatlan. As we got down town the traffic was a problem as the streets are so narrow. The drivers in Mexico are really agressive! We got some great pictures and bought a Mazatlan tee shirt and learned a little Spanish for the fellow as he could speak quite a bit of English. We then headed back looking for a tourist information place that was in our guidebook. We had to get off the main beach road to find a place to park and ended going down some streets that did not say one way but if we met someone unless one of us could find a place to pull over one of us would have to back up. I finally found a place and a fairly busy street and it did not look to bad. As we headed back to find the tourist place I noticed there were bars and some broken windows but then that is pretty common in Mexico. We found a travel agency and between there English and our Spanish and our small map in the guidebook we found out the tourist place had moved and we got some directions. We headed back for the F-350 and I noticed almost every car had a CLUB bar on the steering wheel. I started to get real concerned and was just kicking MY BUTT for parking where I did. One of us should of at least stayed with the vehicle. I knew we were getting close to our street and I was leaving Edith behind as I was almost running. I knew it was this block or the next. I pop around the corner and no F-350. My heart is pounding but I decide that is not the street at least I am praying it is not. I am now almost at a jog and suddenly I see a lot we went by on the way out and then I hear music which I heard. OK NEW LIFE! I pop around the corner and there it was. I could of KISSED IT. That is when I confessed to Edith my concern when I started seeing all the "CLUBS"! I vow to buy a "CLUB" and also vow to never park in such a questionable place or if we have to for one of us to stay with the car.
The excitement is not over! We head back for the 5th and the traffic is worse as it is now mid morning and little cars are zipping all over and the Easter crowd has started. Easter in Mexico is a two week deal and it it by far the biggest holiday. There is about 1.5 lanes for two lanes of traffic and buses are starting and stopping, taxi's are starting and stopping, delivery vehicles are parked, are little open vehicles like big two seater golf carts. I am in the outside lane and there is an arrow that looks like I am going to be forced to turn and I don't want to turn so I look in the right mirror and start to move into the right lane. A instantly there is a van right along side me. I have no idea where he came from! I assume in my blind spot but I have the normal mirror and the concave one down below to cover the blind spot. I jam on the breaks and he does the same. Our mirrors hit, Mine pushed in a little and his folded in some. I have to back up so he could get by. He pulls ahead a little and rolls down his window and shoves out his mirror and on he goes and on I go. WOW! That was way, way to close to a wreak in Mexico which can be a real bad experience and in this case it would of been my fault since I was making a lane change. Edith handles all this very, very, very welL!!! It definitely took the wind out of both of our sails. We find the tourist place and get our map and get back to the campground very thankful. We then decide to check the taillight that we worked on the other day when it did not work again. We cut out all the clips and soldered everything. I could not believe it but it was not working again. At this point it had to be in the light assembly itself so we tore it all apart and I started checking things with the VOM. I finally find a bad spot that would come and go on one of the metal strips. I get a piece of wire, solder it to that wire in the wiring harness, drill a hole through the plasic part of the tail light assembly, feed the wire through and solder it to the strip right up by the bulb effectively by-passing the bad spot. I think we finally have fixed it after working on it at least 10 times starting on our second day out!
I then walk down the road to check out an RV park I had seen. I decided I had driven enough for the day. The park is a membership one but sometimes you can sub-rent a spot for a month. It was a bit tight. I then walked about a mile north and checked out another. That was a private RV park with a nice beach. It was also tight but there are a few spots out by the road, away from the beach where one could almost be sure of getting in. Definitely will remember this for future reference as the place we are staying my not be around another year. The ham we met came back and brought another ham with him and we had a great visit. They are sure the park we are in is used to laundry money. They keep books showing it is full and show all kinds of income coming in which is really laundered money so in reality they don't want business.
We then spent about 3 hours on the beach, enjoying the sun, watching people go by, people trying to sell us stuff and people hang gliding behind boats. The Easter celebration was beginning. We then went to the 5th and my ham friends were back so I showed them my winlink e-mail and my masting. They were impressed. We then had supper, listened to the Spanish tape and got ready to leave at first light. If we got to Los Mochies early enough we would push on for San Carlos, if not we would stay. We took the Cuota (toll roads) which really speeded things up. With being familiar with the road, knowing the towns and understanding Cuota and Libre we go along well. Again you really notice with the tolls and the price of diesel it is really sucking the Peso's!
Suddenly about 1 pm Edith lets outs a yell and say's the trailer tire just blew. I look in the mirror and the smoke is flying. It was a great blessing that there was a paved shoulder I could get off on. People were waving at us to notify us we had a problem which we knew but it was nice they were doing it as it would not take long to ruin a rim. We got pulled over and the tire is just shredded and the belt has peeled off and is wrapped around the axle behind the break drum. Out of nowhere a Mexican man shows up and wants to help. He asks if I speak Spanish and I tell him um pochoo, a little, so we communicate a little on my poor Spanish and his even less English. We can't get the jack under the axle as the rim is one the asphalt. We were going to try the F-350 jack but decide to put some blocks ahead of the rim and drive ahead to run the rim up on the boards and get the axle up higher. IT WORKED and we get the tire off but then we can not get the tire belt off that is wrapped along twice and wedged like you would not believe. It get some glooves as the wire is really wicked and my tool box. We just can not get it, we pound with the hammer and a bar, pull with the vise grips and he tries to saw it with the hack saw. I finally decide we have to get it cut. I got ahold with the vise grips and try and say across the face and just no luck. I check for a new saw blade and there is none. Big notation to not leave home again without extra hack saw blades. I then try and cut the narrow way and it starts to cut and goes good. We are making progress but still have the last wedged wrap. We saw it praying the blade does not break because if it does we are in major trouble!! Again I vow to never leave home without extra blades. We get the last wrap of tire belt off and get the new tire on. The fellow finally takes 50 Peso's for helping and we are on our way, now with no spare. I decide we need to find a tire place and put on the tire we had taken of at Chapala even if it had a little wire showing. We find a llantera shop in just a couple of miles by the inspection spot and get the tire mounted. I go to mount the spare on the back of the trailer and I find the nuts and washers still on the bumper. In the excitement of the blow out I had forgotten to put them back on. DUMB but got blessed again! I got to use my Spanish again and got the tire mounted so the wire side was out as the tires seem to wear on the inside. We got it mounted for 20 peso's so really reasonable. Sure felt good to have a spare even it it is real bad.
We pushed on and the time slipped away and we were running about an hour late but it looks like we should be in about 6 pm or 11 hours of hard driving. We make it through Obregon real well where we had lots of trouble going down so we are learning. We thing we got on the Libre by accident on the way down. It went much better on the Cuota. We are starting to see all kinds of cars and pickups full of people headed for the beach. We get to Guymas and again our experience really is paying off and we figure out there is a detour and take it and get through town in great shape and see where we had screwed up on the way down. Edith was making notes like mad all day on our map. BTW seen a real interesting thing just south of Obregon. Trucks and cars were pulling off and paying a farmer to go through his field so they could by pass the toll booths and then pulling back on the road after they got by the toll booth. Actually they pulled out on another road and then took it back to the Cuota.
We took the turn off for San Carlos and see lots of people headed for the beach. We get about a mile from the edge of town and the traffic stops. It is just a JAM, the beaches are full, people drinking beer everywhere, tents set up selling beer. Looked like Sturgis! It took about 1 hour, one bus was 4 inches from my mirror as he squeezed by! Suddenly the cars are parked in our land and we have to get over. So I turn on my blinker and wait, finally someone lets me pull over. We get down to the trailer park where we had stayed on the way down. It is now becoming a real concern if the drive will be open to get in, can we make the turn and will the park be full? We see it is open and we are able to make the turn and there is plenty of room in the park. There are four guys out guarding the driveway to keep it open. We get checked in. I talked to them at the office and they said it will be like this until early Sunday afternoon when they start heading home. We are likely here until Monday morning. We should get some real shots of the Easter celebration! The have bands, bleachers, etc. It looks like spring break or even more! I never seen anything like it!
We even have cable TV here and can watch the final four on Saturday night! Well will send this out. This may be it of the Mexican adventure but then there may be one more with the Easter celebration and the final leg to the USA border at Nogales.
Ed and Edith
[MID: 1323_W0SD Sent Via: K6IXA Date: 2002/03/30 04:05:13]