You'll remember that we had been parked up for two nights at the back of the parking lot at the City Express Hotel in the eastern part of the city of Durango. We were getting ready to head out relatively early yesterday morning. We were pretty much all set to go, and I turned the key to fire up the engine.
Nothing but a "clunk"!
We looked at each other. What now??!
Obviously it was some kind of problem with the starter motor. There was lots of battery power.
I sighed, and got up and went out and got out the toolbox. Changed into some work clothes, and crawled underneath to look at the starter. I had a big hammer and I tapped a few things hoping maybe I'd jar something into action, but I went and tried the key again with the same result. Just a clunk.
I checked the engine battery voltage again, and it had dropped quite a bit. I figured there was a dead short in the starter or the solenoid.
Hmm. What to do? We were in a fairly industrial part of town. I could have removed the starter assembly myself. It's not a difficult job, but mechanics are pretty inexpensive in Mexico, so why not see if there was one willing to do a service call. I walked a block away to a suspension and brake shop, but he said he doesn't do electrical. He gave me directions to an electrical mechanic and I walked about a half an hour trying to find the place before I gave up.
Eventually, I made my way to a dumpy looking mechanical place. It was really dumpy looking, and I almost didn't go in. But it turned out to be some sort of big yard where they rented out space to various mechanics, each of whom was a specialist at something. The guy who was the electrical specialist actually spoke quite good English!
He put together some tools and we drove in his car back to Sherman. Within 20 minutes, he had the starter out, and said that he would take it back to his shop and take it apart. He asked for money for parts if he needed to rebuild the motor.
Here in Mexico, they don't buy new parts if at all possible. They fix them. What a concept! Besides, a new starter motor would have been around 1,300 pesos ($107 CDN).
I gave him 300 pesos ($24.60 CDN) and off he went.
He was gone about an hour and a half. When he returned, he said that it needed a new solenoid but that the starter motor itself was in good condition. He had taken it apart and cleaned it, and painted it black to look like new, and installed a new solenoid.
He got back under Sherman and re-installed the starter. Crawled out and told me to turn the key.
Sherman fired right up!!
I asked how much for his services, and he said 500 pesos ($41 CDN).
So, all fixed up for a total price of 800 pesos ($65.60 CDN). Probably slightly higher than he would have charged a local for the same service, but we were happy, and so was he.
But by this time, it was after lunch. A bit late for us to hit the road, but we didn't want to just sit there either. So, we drove through town, and north about 10 kms (6 miles) to the Paseo del Viejo Oeste (Old West Avenue) western theme park. We were hoping they would let us overnight in their parking lot, and sure enough they said yes! And, we still had enough time to see the shows. Besides, the entrance fee was only 25 pesos ($2.05 CDN) each.
The entrance to town.
The Indian village. Back in those days, there were cowboys, and there were Indians!
This Apache captured Ruth!
But Kevin saved the day!
The old west.
The town graveyard. You'll have to click on the picture to get it full screen so that you can read some of the names.
Looking back at the town from the graveyard.
This building looked nice...until the roof caved in!
"Hey...you got any carrots?"
Ruth, riding in style.
Barber and Dentist! You could get a tooth pulled and a haircut all at the same place.
We had been free to roam around, but they do a show at 2:30pm and 4:30pm. There hadn't been many people around, but at 4:00pm a busload of people showed up. They bring people in from Durango and charge a tiny bit more for the bus ride.
The show was a little late starting, but it was worth the wait! They pretended to produce a film clip for a western movie, and dragged a few people from the audience to be in the movie as well. Then, they replayed the same skit, forwards, backwards, in slow motion, and with a flaming gay version as well. Was it ever funny. I wish we would have been able to understand more than half of it!
Waiting for the show to start.
Here we go!
Stick 'em up!
There's one down.
The flaming gay version of the same act.
Gotta have some dancing girls!
Trying to distract the cowboys!
And the guys did some dancing too.
What a fun time. GPS co-ordinates 24.11027 -104.69765
And so, now we hope that we're ready to head further north. Barring any further mechanical problems that is!
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