Long day with a good ending- Camalu, Baja
Tienda el pino opens early, so Jen goes inside to get directions and ask about a bathroom. Apparently no home in this pueblo has plumbing, but she's nice enough to invite us out back for the outhouse.
She draws us a walking map to the home of someone with internet and the local mechanic, but it's a bit early and we wait for a more appropriate time while attempting to clean some of the layer of dirt from yesterdays travel.
Veronica (the lady with Internet) pulls up to the store later and returns home to grab a USB modem for us to borrow. We install the modem but by the time we restart Veronica has gone and we figure out that there is no sim card and therefore no Internet. Veronica's sister shows up later and will pass along the message, but we wait a few hours with no sign or word back so we head out on foot for the mechanic.
We pass house after house widely spaced far away from their neighbors and all surrounded by menacing fences and gates. All have guard dogs that are clearly not pets and each house we walk by requires keeping karma close and chasing off a snarling cugo. We finally find the mechanic's place and struggle communicating with the guy out front but he goes in to get two younger guys who have us hop in and tow E back to their place.
We push E over an oil pit and they take a look below. I tell them my beliefs about what whats happening and about all we can make out from their conversation about the bus is "chingado"...nicely put, "screwed".
Jen spends countless hours trying to communicate with the lady of the house and she drives jen back to check on Internet card. The trip turns up no card, but does deliver the knowledge of a vw mechanic in San Quintin and some calls are made to the mechanic and a tow company.
We discuss the fact that we are likely sleeping here tonight, will be lucky to get towed tomorrow and will be lucky to have the bus worked on by week's end. I read up in the idiots guide about the process for pulling the engine and walk the grounds looking for a jack. A couple of concrete blocks and a 2x4 are about as close as I come...but we can probably make it work. The real problem is that this mechanic knows nothing about air cooled VWs, and we are well away from any connection (internet or phone) to knowledge if we hit a roadblock or need a part.
We spend 3 hours sitting and waiting on a call back, and find out a tow to the San Quintin will be $270 (clearly gringo pricing), so we discuss again dropping it ourselves and the possibility other tow options. We end up with Jen talking via phone to the woman's sister in San Diego, who can help translate the finer points and we (they) finally find a cheaper tow to the smaller/closer town of camalu but unsure if the mechanic there can work on VWs. We assume we still may be dropping the engine ourselves, but at least will be near Internet and possibly even run into someone who speaks English, so we move ahead.
2 hrs waiting on the tow, then make the 15 minute journey to camalu and arrive at the mechanics. They literally drop everything and start looking at E. They think it's the oil cooler instead of main seal and we start taking the alternator out in hopes of getting to it without having to pull the engine. This doesn't work and the duo go into high speed dropping the engine. Take off the fan shroud and it turns out the 2 of the 3 nuts that hold the oil cooler in place are missing. Problem found. Replace the nuts, give everything a good cleaning and start putting things back together.
Let's be clear...we were happy to witness and take some small part in our first engine pulling and really happy that we didn't try it without more than some concrete blocks and a 2x4. We'll save that for next time.
We finish with daylight left, cross the street for some carne asada tacos and to buy some tequila and then head toward the ocean as the last light is waning. We stop at a restaurant/hotel hopeful they will let us pay a small fee to camp in their parking lot but they welcome us free of charge. We have a bohemia beer at the bar, talk with the workers and retire for the night talking about how happy we are that things turned out the way they did, and that we are back at the beach days before anticipated.