We got on the road bright and early today. That was a nice change. After 9:00 starting times the last couple of days, getting out at 7:00 this morning seemed like we were given a gift of a nice long travel day.
We had no idea what town we were in last night. We asked the hotel clerk this morning. We were in the town of Emilio Carranza. It is a very small town. The hotel we stopped at for the night was about 200 yards into town, and there was about that much town left to go when we left the hotel. It is just a speed bump between the larger towns of Cardel and Poza Rica.
About an hour down the road we were able to find a gas station with a convenience store (surprisingly rare in some parts of Mexico). This place happened to also have a pharmacy and a coffee shop. Two things we were looking for. Nice one-stop-shop to get us going.
Nice and Boring
Most of the day was simply drive straight ahead. We only encountered one exciting spot in the road as we passed through Cerro Azul. There was a wire hanging low over the road. The larger trucks were taking turns supporting a boy who would hold up the wire so the trucks on one side of the road could pass for a while. Then, presumably, he would jump onto another truck going the other way and hold the wire up for the opposite traffic.
Because all my trailer wiring got burned yesterday while the welder was working, we took some time to stop at the only Auto Zone we would see on this route and buy a new wiring harness. They did not have exactly what I needed, but I bought something that would work. It was a bit of a pain, but I got the trailer lights working again just north of Tampico.
Welder: Round 2
Going through the town of Soto La Marina my wife was driving. She heard the chains of the trailer start to drag and immediately pulled over. Fortunately, though the trailer broke again in the same place, we were able to pull off the road where there was a group of guys working on a road construction truck. I told them our problem and they pointed me to the welder who was working on another truck.
I think God allowed us to get the trailer patched yesterday just to get us to this guy today. Today’s welder did a much better job in fixing the trailer. The quality of work difference is noticeable. While I never had great confidence in the work done yesterday, I do feel like this welder took care of the job completely.
Before he got started on the job though I was able to remove my new wiring and keep it from getting burned up.
The job took a bit over an hour to complete. By that time it was already dark, but we had also already picked out our planned hotel for the night. With the exception of the road construction that was being done in the immediate area, we know the roads were pretty good all the way to the little town that we were planning to stay in for the night.
New Tire: Round 2
Within 5 minutes of driving away from the welder we punctured a tire on the road. This road is a temporary road that is just rock and dirt while the crew builds a nice new road. Because the road was so rough I did not know that I had a flat until we got back up on the paved road a few minutes later. By that time the tire was shredded. This is one of those new, expensive, hard to find tires that I bought on Monday.
We were able to pull off the road into a wide driveway of some business. We dropped the trailer with plans to take the wheel into one of the larger towns tomorrow and see if we can locate a tire. This will be at least a 2 hour round trip. It might be as long as 7 hours if we have to drive on to the border to find a new tire.
At least, that was the plans. After we got the trailer off the van we realized that we did not have a lug wrench that will work on the trialer. I will have to find a local shop that will let me borrow a lug wrench before I can start the running around tomorrow. Of course, I will also see if I can locate a tire in Soto La Marina before I go too far looking for one. I don’t have much hope of that since it was hard to find one in a town of 1,000,000 people. Finding one in a town of 3,000 is less hopeful.
Day 4 (Preview)
If things go well then we might be back on the road by 2:00 in the afternoon. That means that we should be able to cross the border tomorrow night. That is 24 hours behind our goal to have us home on Saturday. I will definitely miss the meeting I was trying to attend that afternoon. I am currently in jeopardy of having to miss the class that I am supposed to start on Monday morning.
Worst case scenario for tomorrow will be that we hit the 2 big towns on our way to the border and still not find a tire. Then we will have to cross the border to get a new tire and return. The border is only 3 hours from where we are currently, but one of the big towns (our better option) will put us about 3 hours from the border after we drive an hour over to that town. It may be as late as Saturday morning before we even get back to put the tire on the trailer.
At least the $25 hotel we are in for the night has very comfy beds.