The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The day did not start off well...

But thankfully it ended up okay.

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!

" 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.

And another.

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! has a great deal on an exercise kit that would be perfect for RVers. If you made a new years resolution to get more exercise, then this is for you!!


  1. Well, there are some similarities to the US Durango. We have been there twice and never saw the flaming gay version. Bet that was a hoot.

    Great photo of Ruth and the Injun. Paul liked the dancing girls...figures.

    1. We never been the the US Durango, guess we will have to check it out sometime.

      Kevin liked the dancing girls too! ;-)

  2. WoW! Crazy - glad you got Sherman fixed so quickly. The theme park is neat - like Tombstone but not as commercialized.

    1. Boy, we sure have been having our issues with Sherman this winter but luckily they have all worked out well.

      For the price we had a lot of fun at the park even though it is pretty small compared to Tombstone.

  3. Ha! I thought there was a typo and you meant a 'flaming guy' - as in a guy on fire - version until I say the pics, too funny!

    1. Ha, that is funny, and so was the show, we had tears in our eyes from laughing so much.

  4. Mexican mechanics are amazing and normally very cheap. As you say, you may have been charges the "Gringo Tax" but not too bad, you at least found someone to do the job.

    There is one of those old west sets in Tucson but they charge about $20, and no free overnight parking! Looks like fun! We have never been to that part of Mexico. Where is my To-Do list?

    1. Considering that he made a "house" call, I think we did pretty good with the price. We were happy to have it fixed and be on our merry way.

      We are surprised at how much there is to see in the area, the only down side is that there is no RV park around. Our time spent sight seeing is starting to become an issue as we are going to be needing a dump station in the very near future. We should make it to Creel in just the nick of time.

  5. Looks like your day turned out just fine. The show looks like fun. It's a challenge to follow in another language, unless you're truly immersed for a few years, and maybe....22.
    Pretty resourceful in the starter department. I think I would have been sitting there with my fingers up my, well you know.

    1. Yes, our day finish off just great. We sure got some laughs from the show and you are right, we need to be truly immersed in the language and even then you still learn new things. We are getting there slowly though!

  6. Beautiful town and I am glad you got a chance to discover it. Mexican mechanics are the best. They found my electrical short in just five minutes and had the running lights going for 150 pesos. Love, love, love Mexico.

    1. We need to go back and see more of it. One day wasn't enough. Unfortunately because it was a Sunday not everything was open.

      Yep, we love Mexico too! How many Canadian or American mechanics would make a "house" call like that and still charge you a reasonable rate?!


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