Bump in the Road in San Miguel
Our second day in San Miguel didn't go exactly according to plan. I wake up and snap a few photos of the bus among the mogs and we even get a tour of one of the German couples' rigs. I remember thinking how cool these vehicles were (and they seem to work great for these guys) but as i listen to them talk about how they don't feel safe leaving campgrounds i realize i would never want to travel this way. I have a huge respect for them (as you should anything that can run over your home without a second thought), but our whole reason for traveling is to immerse ourselves as much as possible in local culture and try to see it through the eyes of those who live their lives here, not to hide out behind closed doors (even if they are really cool ones).Our original plan for today was to spend a few more hours exploring the core of the city and then head over to guanajuato... but as i tinkered with the bus things ended up worse than we thought/hoped. Since leaving the coast we've had less power than we might like (a problem since we didn't have much to begin with), and as we were pulling out of Ajijic Steve and George mentioned that we sounded like a cylinder wasn't firing when cold. Obviously we want to be in good running condition before the rally (and will likely need full power just to climb the streets of Guanajuato and make it to our camping spot) so i start looking into the issue and not only are we not firing on one cylinder but it seems we are down two. argh.
Seems impossible since we were successfully driving to the top of San Miguel yesterday, but sadly its true- we are running on only two cylinders. that means that we are pushing our camper around with essentially a lawnmower engine. perfect.I test the plugs and cables and everything appears fine (as it should since we replaced the whole lot in laPaz). Check the fuel lines and clean out the bowls in the carb. Nothing. After jen returns from a grocery run (at least one of us got some exploring in today) we spend an hour walking around the lesser attractive part town in hopes of finding an autopartes shop to buy some carb cleaner (for a leak test to see if air is seeping in somewhere it isnt supposed to). No such luck as we merely end up on the typical goose chase when asking directions from locals. One day i hope to be on the inside circle of this joke and crack the directions "code" but for now we continue to walk in circles humoring those around us.We ruled out some possibilities but it seems like the right carb simply isn't functioning which means nothing from cylinder 1and2. Tomorrow we try to hit a mechanic friend of Hans' (the campground caretaker) in hopes of getting this resolved with enough time to make Guadalajara before dinner. That sounds almost impossible in mexican time, but our hopes and spirits remain high that we will meet the other Rally traveler's tomorrow as planned.
After sundown we end up talking with Dale and Barbara, the couple that rolled into the campground earlier today in a westy (and the only other small vehicle/english natives here). It turns out that Barbara is quite the mayan history buff and tells us what we should expect from the end of the world and what we should be watching for in the sky. Hint: it might not actually be ending. We should expect big things though and it should signify/start a time of transition and shift...seems fitting for us and our journey. Changing/opening/shifting is kinda what we do right now.
As they ask about our journey and us of theirs we also realize further why it is we rarely see other traveler's on our trip. Its the church's fault. Not the cathedrals, but Mike and Teri Church, who wrote the traveler's guide to Mexico. Their book has become the bible to anyone driving through mexico or along the panamerican highway. Only problem is... we don't own a copy. Yes, we had heard of it, but we just assumed that it would be a bit outdated and thought we should explore things and stumble upon things on our own.
The good news is that it's working...arriving into each new town/city is a complete surprise as we try to stumble upon the best part of town by driving around and taking to locals. The bad news is that it also means in most towns there is a campground full of travelers like ourselves huddled together and sharing drinks over travel stories that we never get to meet. I guess now we just have to decide which of those paths we prefer, and if we need to find a copy of the bible- after the rally of course (should have plenty of company for the next 2 weeks).