Back on the Road

Even as we leave, the car sputters a bit. We stop a few blocks away at a locksmith whom we’ve been told may be able to put a lock on our gas door. We’ve heard that this is a good idea, although we’ve never had a problem or suspected anything. We’ve noticed that almost every car here does have a locking gas cap or gas door, so they can’t all be wrong. The locksmith can’t do it, but suggests we find a locking cap. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t exist for a ’71 bus.

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When we try to move on, the car is dead again. We never did drive it around to charge up the battery. Jason easily finds a jump from someone waiting at the traffic light next to us and we decide to put Guadalajara behind us.

It was a nice place. Four million people live here (2nd largest city in Mexico) but it doesn’t really feel like a huge city – very manageable. There’s great food everywhere. We hear it’s also an interior decorator’s paradise, but we’ve skipped all the shopping opportunities – no room in the van. We promise each other to come back here when we live in a real house again. And, we now have lots of friends to visit.

It was a last-minute decision to keep heading East and skip Lake Chapala and surrounding stuff (for now anyway.) We ended up on our first toll-road and coughed up almost $25 USD to get to Guanajuato on a perfectly smooth highway with no topes in about 3.5 hours. The bus ran pretty well, but still sputters a little going uphill and occasionally backfires going downhill. At least it brakes like a champ.

Before Leon, we started to see large numbers of people walking on the shoulder. It’s a long trek, but they walk as part of a pilgrimage San Juan de Los Lagos before Semana Santa. This was the place of some sort of “miracle” long ago (a child was supposedly brought back from the dead by an image of the Virgin Mary) and the faithful have been coming ever since. We thought about driving there to see some religious zeal, but decided to keep going. We’re content to bask in this miracle.

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We got to Guanajuato near sunset – the best time – and promptly got lost. The city is a labyrinth of tunnels and hills. We found our campsite high above the city just in time to enjoy the evening glow and settle in for a chorus of discordant barking dogs and crowing roosters. We haven’t seen much, but we already really like this place.

7 thoughts on “Back on the Road

  • April 7, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    I sure hope you get all the car bugs taken care of while you are in Mexico . . . should be the best place to do it. Although Guadalajara provided you with a lot of mechanical expertise. Keep on posting . . . enjoy it all with you.

  • April 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    We found our campsite high above the city just in time to enjoy the evening glow and settle in for a chorus of discordant barking dogs and crowing roosters. – nice sentence!

  • April 7, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Me talk good sometimes 😉

    This city will cause you to wax poetic about anything. Even the barking dogs are charming.

  • April 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM


    As if it’s possible to ever take care of all problems. I think we’re proven that as soon as one thing gets fixed, another appears 😉

  • April 7, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Wow the image of the houses on the hill reminds me a lot of Daily City!

    The uphill/downhill odd behavior would point me to clean the carb float or something else that was affected by how level the bus is.

    Good luck guys!

  • April 7, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    hey Jason backfires when deaccling is normally an exhust leak

  • April 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Running on 3 cylinders must be so frustrating at this point.

    I know you did a compression test, but a leakdown test might tell you more specifically what’s going on.

    You might be well advised to post your issues on the Samba, and hear from people running your exact (non-stock) setup.

    There’s talk there about pairing a 009 mechanical advance distributor with dual Kad carbs, and apparently it’s not an easy thing to make it run right. Some people port the Kads for vacuum, and run a vacuum advance distributor instead of the all-mech 009.

    A few comments on your 009 dizzy here:

    Good luck.

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