Saturday, August 29, 2015

Meeting Mechanics In Mexico

“I’m A Driver. I’m A Winner. Things Are Gonna Change. I Can Feel It.” - Beck

Ah cities - The smell of open sewers and unregulated car exhaust. That taste in your mouth is Third World overpopulation brought to you by our sponsors: poverty and poor urban planning.  And so I drove right thru Guadalajara. Turns out Steely Dan was correct: “Guadalajara won’t do”. My next stop was San Miguel El Alto.
Looking thru a church in Mascota

Then I hit a car. Those damn boxes love to clip things and these little streets were built for donkey carts in the 1500’s. I put a nice long gash in this man’s front quarter panel. I waited for the monetary gouge while his neighbor ran off to get him. Two men came into view. One bigger than the next. Come on, they don’t even make Mexican’s that big. Could my luck get any worse? Turns out the bigger of the two was the owner. He grimaced at me for a while in between glances at the damage. Then ushered me across the street to sit in the shade of a restaurant to discuss reparations. “De donde eres?” “California”. Long pause. His eyes diverted to the horizon. Lost in thought. 2 deep breaths and he was back. A slow encroaching smile. “Man do I miss California.” Turns out he lived in Costa Mesa for 10 years and thinks the Americans are the best people on earth. Could I get any luckier! I hit his car, and he ends up buying me dinner and drinks (it was his restaurant he sat me in). He refused any compensation and helped me find a flat safe spot to park for the night. I befriended his son-in-law and gave him 2 expensive bottles of Don Julio for him to hand over once I was gone the next day.

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another

I killed the fridge in Guanajuato. It’s an ammonia fridge and it dies a quick death when you run it on an incline. I didn’t know that. It should be the first thing everyone should tell you when you buy one of these campers. I’ve since made it my mission to tell everyone I meet and I’m surprised that to date, no one knew the damage they could inflict.
Here are some pictures of Guanajuato. I think it might be one of my favorite places ever. You look at these while I try to forget that I’ve lost my ability to cool my food and drink without ice. It can’t be fixed. Only replaced and not only can’t you find one in Mexico I would never know how to install it anyway. There is no RV industry here and there won’t be as I head south. We live with our mistakes.

What I've been reduced to 

There is an enormous subterranean aspect to this city


Teotihuacan. Every letter gets pronounced, like you are at a Tahitian spelling bee. It was an overcast morning and I had decided to walk. After 3 kms on an exhaust choked road I rounded the bend and there it was: the 3rd largest pyramid in the world. I’m glad I walked. It helped build the drama.

Then it was time to have the mount for my airbag repaired before I destroyed my over weighted suspension. Isn’t this fun? When in Teotihuacan, don’t ever use a mechanic named Chancho.

Sick Of Reading About The Road Conditions Yet? Yea, Me Too.

The dappled sunlight thru the jungle leaves is like camouflage for speed bumps. There is no way you can see these unpainted bastards. They got me again. I was on the road to Palenque. I immediately pulled over at the first clearing and realized I was in the driveway of a mechanics shop. I had previously promised myself that if I cracked the weld one more time I was going to cut them off forever. “Amigo – tu quitar estas cajas por gratis y tu puedes tener por gratis. Justo?”. He thought that was fair. I came back 2 days later and he paired me up with my buddy for the day. (I have no idea why the formatting has changed. I am about done with these goddamn blogs. If you only knew how many hours of frustration I have put into this)
Free. Free at last.
See how low they are hanging?

The first name he gave me was unrecognizable and unpronounceable with my tongue. I’m guessing if it could be spelled it would start with an “X” and then a “T”. These little Mayans have my full respect. He quickly changed it to William when he heard me struggling. We shared the grinding duties. I harangued him about refusing to wear eye protection. When Elsie was finally free of the boxes we further bonded over a beer sitting in front of the tienda sharing a parking block for a seat. While covered in dirt and sweat we silently watched some other guys shovel rocks. Men.

Look Ma - no boxes

Storage Units

Does your country have storage units that individuals can rent? Mine does. If yours does too, congrats, you probably live in the First World. Those boxes I cut off the back of Elsie were a great lesson in how to be less of a First Worlder. We have so much crap that we have to rent storage units, which are just additional remote boxes that hold the stuff that we can’t fit in our homes. Isn’t that a little embarrassing? And that stuff that we put in storage is so meaningless that we can stick it in a box miles from us and look at it once a year but still we pay to horde it and go on collecting more. I had so much stuff that I was sure I couldn’t live without that I had 2 extra boxes welded onto my class 5 hitch. That was 2 months of work, $4,000 and lots of energy down the drain. Let’s face it; I only exist to create stupid stories for you to read about.


Howler monkeys sound exactly like the monster from your worst nightmare. And when do they scream? All night long, when you are having your nightmares. The next day you can go to pyramids and walk back in time.


More truck work. Gets boring. But at least it’s a lot easier to separate the camper from the truck without the boxes.

Izamal / One-Up-Man-Ship

It looks like a perfect example of jealousy building. The Spaniards showed up on the scene in the 1500s and must have been impressed by these pyramids. Of course they had to top them. Literally. They disassembled the pyramid except for the base and rebuilt the stones as a church. They did it all over Mexico.

It took hundreds of years to build these things and I’m sure that during the laboring the men who built them must have known that they would stand for many millenniums. They are well over a thousand years old now and they haven’t even approached their “half-life”.

The Skin Gets Thick, And Yet, The Callouses Have Disappeared

We stop reaching out. We trim our own branches. Don’t do that. Stop excising adventure from your lives. Those scars are stories. Comfort is dangerous.
You owe it to yourself to challenge the man you think you might be. I’ll wager that you are capable of far more than you might admit. You’re a goddamn hero. I’ll bet you can wring more out of this rag called life.  Just push yourself. Ask a little bit more, and the payoffs you’ll reap in those milliseconds, are worth lifetimes.

Your man on point,

Bobby Freedom

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