the

Sunset near Kingman, Arizona.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.

Where are they going next? South east towards Roswell, New Mexico.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reunited with Sherman

We were up at 6:00am Wednesday morning to wave goodbye to the group at their planned 7:00am departure from Oaxaca to Puebla. It's only 360 kms (223 miles), but an early start is better.

They had a Green Angel escort today, and it's a good thing. He arrived right at 7:00am, and I went over the route with him.

We waved goodbye to the group, and as we were doing so Ruth said "it's like watching your children head off on their own!"

Watching this group is an interesting social experiment. Put 12 couples together where they essentially have to spend 86 days together... every day. I mean sure, you have time to yourself when you want to, and you do not have to participate in every outing together. But realistically, you see each other every single day.

Obviously there will be personality clashes. It's unavoidable. But for the most part, you become a big family where everybody looks out for everybody else. And just like a family, while you may not really enjoy your brother or sister's company all the time, they are still your family.

And such as it seems to be with our group. Ruth and I were without our home for the last three days in Oaxaca City and we just had an overnight bag with us that we had quickly thrown together. The place we stayed was basic and while it had a kitchen, there were no utensils. The shower didn't work properly, and on the first day I forgot the soap and shampoo in the campground building.

But everybody stepped up to the plate to help us out. People fed us, and supplied us with beer and  and wine and shampoo and soap and all the other essentials of life! Thanks especially to Michel and Louise, Mike and Linda, and Mark and Barbara, as well as the several others who offered to help. We all made the best of a less than ideal situation, and we appreciate it.

By 8:30am, Ruth and I were out on the main highway flagging down a collectivo taxi to take us to the main ADO bus terminal. We made it to the terminal without a problem, and bought our tickets for the 10:00am bus.

Buses in Mexico are far nicer, cheaper, and more organized than anywhere we've seen in Canada or the U.S. They assigned us our seat when we bought the tickets. Greyhound could learn a thing or two.

We had some time to waste, and we went across the street to a couple of food stands to buy some breakfast and food for the five hour bus ride.

Beautiful ADO bus terminal in Oaxaca.

We bought a big glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, a fresh fruit plate, and three large chicken and green salsa tamales. Total of 110 pesos ($7.75 CAD, $6.00 USD)

Have I mentioned lately that we love Mexico?

While we were waiting for the bus, my phone rang. It was the mechanic in Juchitan. They had received the parts but they were not the correct ones. I was not surprised, despite the fact that I had supplied all of the correct information. 

However, the owner of the shop had discussed the situation with his mechanics, and he was confident that they could do a repair that would enable us to get back to the United States safely. I asked Gabriel to call him and translate so that I knew I was understanding correctly, and Gabriel got back to me with the info that they were very positive they could effect a repair strong enough to do the job.

I gave the go ahead. 

The bus left at exactly 10:00am. Scheduled for 5 hours and 15 minutes to Juchitan, and that's exactly what it took.

Despite the beautiful scenery, we did not take any photos out the bus window. I managed to get some shut eye, although Ruth felt a little queasy from the curvy mountain road.

The five hours went by fast enough, and at 3:15pm we arrived in the dusty hot windy town of Juchitan. We grabbed a taxi and he brought us to the mechanic shop where Sherman was sitting there ready to go.

The right front wheel looked totally normal. I had a quick look underneath and if I had to guess I think they used some of the new parts. Everything looks new, with the exception that there is no boot on the joint to keep it clean. That's not a problem if I keep it well greased over the next four weeks until we get back into the U.S.

For those of you who are being armchair mechanics, of course you wouldn't even think of doing such a thing in Canada or the U.S. where parts are readily available. But here in Mexico, the mechanics are used to dealing with repairing and refurbishing when possible.

Sr. Alejandro Chavez, the owner of the shop asked me to take Sherman for a drive to see how he handles. Of course I was a little concerned about the alignment.

But it was FAR better than I was expecting! The steering wheel is centered, and I did notice a slight pull to the left, but it was also very windy out. 

Nope, it's not a perfect situation. The right front lower ball joint is now "possibly" okay, and the left front lower one has not been changed since the last time the right front one was... and that one is the one that broke. So it is "possibly" not okay, although Sr. Alejandro thinks it is okay.

So we're going to get Sherman up to the U.S. where we will spend some money and get him fixed up properly. In the meantime, I'm confident that he's okay to drive for the time being.

The bill was 2,800 pesos ($200 CAD, $155 USD).

Ruth, happy to be back in our home!

Today, we're doing the long (620 km, 384 mile) drive to Puebla to meet up with the group.

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Nice price drop on the

Black and Decker Lithium Max Pivot Vacuum Cleaner

And in Canada...

Alien 6 Film Collection




37 comments:

  1. Cheap repair compare to the tow bill 👍
    Have a safe trip

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    Replies
    1. We really got hosed on the tow bill! And unfortunately our cheap repair bill on their temporary fix didn't last long enough. :-(

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  2. Mexican mechanics are incredible. So happy Sherman is back on the road.

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    1. They sure are but they also don't realize the toll a motorhome like Sherman takes on these Mexican roads and the temporary fix didn't hold long enough, it just wasn't strong enough. On a smaller vehicle, I am sure it would have worked.

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  3. May the rest of this trip be smooth sailing!

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  4. Gotta love Mexican ,mechanics , glad you are back on the road again, travel safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the majority of them are great at their jobs but sometimes they just don't realize the amount of punishment the Mexican roads can have on a vehicle like Sherman and the fix just wasn't strong enough to hold that punishment, even with us driving so carefully over the rough sections.

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  5. Wow, that's a lot of work done for two hundred bucks!
    Just so ya know, we had a brand new RV, that came straight off the lot with a misaligned front end. The handling was kind of squirrely, but I had no other class A experience to compare it to, but when we got to my brother's place in the Annapolis Valley, we realised that the front tires were getting scuffed! Frack! Had to wait to get back to Ontario to get it lined up. Just pitiful QC all around.
    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lot of work but that is because Mexican labour is inexpensive compared to Canada or the US.

      Yep, even new vehicles aren't perfect, you would think they should be though, won't you?!

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  6. Glad they were able to gerry rig Sherman and get you on your way. Lot cheaper than the tow.

    Going to test it on those steep mountain curves that made Ruth queasy?

    Good luck on your travels today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much cheaper than the tow, which we now know we got hosed on but at the time we didn't have a choice.

      Unfortunately the jerry rigged repair didn't hold up! :-(

      I don't get queasy on the twisty windy roads when I am in the passenger's seat of the motorhome but I do when I am on a bus or van and not sitting at the front.

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  7. Maybe not a perfect repair but certainly a good result considering the circumstances and for a fair price. Sherman will be OK until he gets back to the USA or to a specialist shop in Mexico Which I am sure they have.

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    1. Exactly! Unfortunately, his fix didn't hold up to the state of the Mexican roads, even with Kevin driving extra cautiously on the very rough sections. :-(

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  8. 384 miles in Mexico. You've got a long day ahead of you!

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    1. We know, probably the longest that we have ever done in Mexico and if we were on our own we would never have done it but we were trying to get caught up with the rest of the group so that we didn't hold them back any more than necessary.

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  9. Yep I carry bailing wire, duct tape, & nylon panty hose, clamps etc.... learned it from Rez mechanic s hahaha. You’ll be fine. Enjoy the rest of your trip & hopefully less pot holes & bumps in the road.

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    Replies
    1. Nylon panty hose...now that's a self-rescue item I had never considered! Interesting!

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    2. I believe I've heard of people using a nylon stocking as a temporary fan belt. I suppose it'd be worth a try.

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    3. Rita, none of those fixes would have helped Sherman.

      I have also heard of using a nylon pantyhose in place of a fan belt but I have never met anyone that has actually done it.

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  10. Thank goodness that ordeal is over. I see a wonderful way to end that day with the bottle that is behind Ruth. lol Safe travels.

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    1. Yes, that ordeal is done but another is in the future! :-(

      Yep, I had a nice rum punch once Kevin had taken the picture and he had a nice cold beer and both went down well. :-)

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  11. Rum punch for two is the perfect drink after all this hassle. Safe travels.

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    1. Actually it was a rum punch for me and a beer for Kevin! :-)

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  12. Glad you're back Home and hoping the repair will see you Safely to the US.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are happy to be back in Sherman but unfortunately the repair wasn't good enough to get us back to the US. Now we are back at the drawing board.

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  13. What a great bill for repairs! I know you said that when checking their work you thought so much looked new. Could you tell from the receipt how many new parts the mechanic might have used, if any? Maybe the mechanic did some modifications to some of the newly shipped parts to make everything work. Still, that is a very cheap bill WITH NEW PARTS.

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    1. It was a good bill but it was all for manual work, not for parts. No new parts were used in the repair. Kevin never actually got a close look at the repair itself.

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  14. Good to know Sherman is back on the road even though he is not fixed completely. Praying everything goes well for the rest of the tour and you guys get back into the states to get it fixed properly. Take it easy on your drive today to catch up with the group.

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    1. He was back on the road but unfortunately the repair didn't hold out for the full day of driving. It broke again just shy of our destination. :-(

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  15. I led the Fall caravan over this route. Oddly enough it was also my rig that had the breakdowns. My slide on one occasion and trailer springs on another. In my case I happened to have the parts and we were able to fix it on the roadside, but it caused awkward delays. We have never had a caravan season so far with mechanical issues, apart from blown tires. I guess this one is it. It has been a learning process on dealing with them. Ironically enough, the likely wagon master for next seasons Airstream trip also had bad luck. His water tank in his Airstream (make a note if you have one, they are strapped in, not resting on I-beams)fell out on his way back to the US, and 30 km short of the border his tranny went in his truck. I think we need to sacrifice something; or someone, LOL.

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    1. Paul, sometimes I say the same thing! LOL! "I think we need to sacrifice something, or someone." Who shall we throw in the volcano!! Maybe the mechanic!

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    2. It is so frustrating because other than two blown tires and one problem with our starter motor, we have never had a mechanical problem on the road anywhere on our travels! Too bad this was the time we had to have one :-(

      Fortunately we have been able to make it work and the group hasn't lost out on any tours and everything has been pretty fluid. The only thing they are really missing out on, is us not being able to lead them to their next destination but we have gone over the route each time with one couple and they also have the Green Angels leading them and Kevin also goes over the route with them as well.

      Rita the mechanic did a good job, the only thing that could have been a bit better was a more solid weld.

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  16. By the way, Ruth, thanks for posting the girth of the big tree. Whew! What a blog! Hope Sherman doesn’t get into trouble until you are back in the States. That’s a looong drive to Puebla! Hope you arrive safely. The group must be anxious to see you rejoin them. Safe travels.

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    1. You are welcome Lynnette!

      We hope Sherman doesn't have any more problems period! It was a very long drive to Puebla one that we don't want to repeat. It is amazing what the mind and body can do when it really has to go that extra mile.

      We arrived in Puebla but not the way we wanted too! :-(

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