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8071 kms: Cuernavaca- Being resourceful like the Mexicans

Written on: Thursday April 17th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

The first order for the day of our departure was to attempt to bleed our van radiator of air. The temperature indicators still seem to be showing that we are nearly overheating when climbing any kind of substantial hill. Rob first parked on a steep hill to raise the back end as much as possible. We then used a jerry-rigged contraption (we are getting to be resourceful like the Mexicans) consisting of a piece of radiator hose connected to an inverted plastic bottle with its bottom cut-out. The hose end is pushed into the coolant pressure tank, and the bottle end is elevated, to increase the head pressure in the system. I held the hose and bottle in place while Rob filled it with additional water and then started the engine. After revving the engine and patiently waiting for the system to heat up, we were excited to see a significant amount of air bubble its way up and out the hose/bottle contraption. However, the hose started to get real hot and my hand slipped as hot water and radiator fluid started spewing out everywhere. Rob was quick to respond to my gasp and placed the tank cap on without either of us getting burned.

The second order of the day was to head to Cuernavaca, the nearest largest city, to pick up a new window for the van. Two weeks prior we woke up one morning to discover than someone had decided to throw a rock through the rear left window. We found a hole, the size of a fist, with the remaining window held in place but with web-like cracks running throughout and dividing it into tiny pieces. We were parked at the end of a long hidden private driveway, and so the culprits had likely come specifically for mischievous purposes. We drove down the mountain to the small town glass shop (I was rather nervous that the window would shatter, but it held in place), where the owner indicated that he couldn?t help us. He did however, draw us a map to the window and windshield guy in Tepotzlan. In Tepotzlan we looked through the window catalogue, but because the Vanagon VW vans were never sold in Mexico, the shop owner had no way to order us a new window. We therefore had to come up with a temporary solution and used our new-found Mexican resourcefulness: duct-tape and cardboard. It was now time to call in a favour, and contacted our friend and VW specialist in Mazatlan, over 1100 km?s away to see if he could find and ship us a new window. After a few back and forth emails, and a lot of telephone tag over the next week, Victor reported that he had found us a window (yeah!) and would ship it to us. While waiting for the window to arrive we discovered again one morning that someone had cut a nice square box into the duct tape and threw another rock through the same window ?!? No signs of an attempt to actually break-in though. Rob and I decided that we would sleep the last few nights in the van to ensure the security of its contents and its other windows! Seewa also slept in the van with us and on several occasions woke Rob and I up with her ?intruder-warning? barking, but we were grateful to have such an alarm system. The day before we were scheduled to leave to Acapulco to meet Rob?s brother, we received notice that the window had arrived in Cuernavaca. We decided to pick the window up on our way out of the region and crossed our fingers that good karma would provide a window-installer next door to the courier pick-up location. Good karma indeed. We found the courier easily (the GPS is re-gaining its favour) and just two blocks away a specialist in vehicle windows. We dropped the van off, grabbed some breakfast at the restaurant next door and 30 minutes and 200 pesos later had a good-as-used window in place.

Now we are heading to Acapulco and will pick up Chris tomorrow to spend a week along the coast, swimming in the ocean, sunbathing, relaxing and enjoying some time together. Can?t wait!


From Sloan on Apr 28th, 2008

Your dog is adorable, was she a stray?? How awesome are the strays down here eh, so tranquilo!! Congrats!

From Dave on May 9th, 2008

Wicked. I ve been perusing your blog (mexico) and it sounds like an amazing trip. MAkes me want to buy a Volkswagen and hit the road. Mitchell you have a nack for writing.

From Christian Philipp on May 10th, 2008

Hey guys, so good to read all your great stuff! I have to admit that I forgot to read your journal for a while, so I was even more suprised to see ya gettin this far now. Oh I envy you soooo much... ;) Anyway keep on rocking and I hope Westy won't let you down! Best wishes from Kerstin too. I'll read from ya... c