Carb woes en route to Guanajuato
We wake up early just to head to the mechanic hoping to have our carb issue resolved in time to make our dinner plans in Guanajuato. Pack up the bus as the 7:30 bells are ringing at the church (not the earliest but one of the loudest/longest of each day). Jen runs up to open the gate but as i try to pull out of our spot the accelerator cable snaps. Perfect for that early morning start!Nothing a bit of bailing wire can't solve (temporarily) and we make it to the shop. He double checks everything I ran through yesterday, explains that it must be the carb and starts removing it. We go through every part inside the carb- removing, cleaning and blowing out each tiny piece with compressed air. I definitely learned more than i thought i would even know about the internal workings of a carburetor. Jen managed events from the only warm spot at the shop, at least in between petting the rather needy shop dog.We put everything back together and nada. no change. Check again for air leaks and go over everything again. Finally he seems out of ideas and tells us that the engine is healthy but that we need to buy a new carb. Certainly not the cheap answer we were looking for and after he tells us we can drive to guanajuato (or across to the yucatan) with only two cylinders we write the samba looking for more ideas. Someone had the same problem a few months ago and it turned out to be the minor matter of synchronizing the carbs. This cant possibly be that simple but we give it a shot and and actually notice the cylinders start kicking in. 6 hours with a mechanic and we likely could have fixed our problem by tightening a screw. Awesome. Lesson of the day...always start with the easy stuff. We decide theres enough daylight so we hit the road for Guanajuato. More farmland and rolling hills (we already did most of the uphill work en route to San Miguel) and we roll into GTO. We have seen plenty of photos but nothing really prepares you for exactly how stacked into the side of a mountain this city is. We are racing against the setting sun so no chance to stop and snap photos, but we'll have more time for that throughout the week.Jen expertly navigates us to the rally campground and we climb the steep hills before the small road that makes up the final stretch takes us downhill and then directly back up. Straight up. We take two strong attempts at the beast and then roll backwards into a set of steps leading to someones house from the street. Perched on the steps we weigh the choices of gathering locals to help push us the last 100meters or rolling backwards down the curvy and treacherous stretch of road we just came up. As the owner of the house and other passers by start gathering we think we owe them one more attempt and we gun it...somehow making it to the top of the hill and our turn. We make the sharp turn down into the campground relieved and knowing that the bus wont move until our departure from GTO.
We spend an hour or so meeting the other travelers that made it ahead of us, checking out each others rigs and getting to know one another. Its amazing how easy it is to immediately connect with people you've never met before simply because of a single shared passion. Eventually we are summonsed for dinner and make the short walk down the hill to Katie's house. Katie is rather like our host for the week and has been organizing the work we will be doing with the children all week. After a few bowls of pozole she walks us through what we will be working on and the energy and enthusiasm from everyone in the room is palpable.Jen and i are excited to hear that the boys' home we will be working with is in Irapuato, where we spent the evening a few nights back. We hear that the rest of the town is a stark contrast to the experience we stumbled upon, and it's certain to be an experience seeing the world these boys live in. I'm also thrilled to find out that among other things we will be designing/rebuilding (as best possible in a few days) the playground space for the boys. I've been doing a ton of research lately on the impact of play on children and specifically on "natural play" environments and it will be fun to see if there's any way to work some of these details into what we see onsite tomorrow and the boys' needs.
after a bit of fun with a pinata stuffed with mexican trinkets and really bad popsicles made of the mexican holy trinity (lime, chile and salt). We finally realize how early we have to leave in the morning and the group of us retreat up the hill and pile into our respective vehicles overlooking the lights of Guanajuato.