by Takeo De Meter
Now YOU tell your friends at the counter in your local watering hole that you went on a holiday to Acapulco in a Series II in the company of a Jap nerd and a two-bit Mexican streetwalker. See if anyone believes you. I didnt believe it myself. Half an hour later we sat three-abreast in the Landy. I did the driving and Hideki and Rosita were smooching like a couple of teenie boppers in a drive-in movie theatre.
So what was the point to drive all the way to Aca damn pulco ? He got what he wanted and I was never much interested in girls that were two feet shorter than me.
Well, come to think of it, the point was that this was supposed to be a holiday, that we were in Mexico, that we had lots of $$$$$ to burn and that Acapulco was on the seaside and that I like the sea. Kinda. As long as it does not involve anything with ores, sails or less than 3,000 HP. This being said, by the end of our third day we reached the coast, some 50 miles south of the big resort, in a small village where two of Rositas spinster aunts lived. We were very welcome and were invited to stay for a while, much to Hidekis delight. Both ladies, in their late thirties, were excellent cooks and I gladly contributed some dollars for their hospitality -had to insist A LOT- which they finally accepted. Hideki and Rosita disappeared very shortly after dinner, not to be seen again before the next day. I spent the evening on the porch swing in the company of the two ladies and their cats and was told all about spinster life and knitting in Mexico.
around noon, looking tired but happy and Rosita didnt look any better.
Dont ask how they managed to communicate, but I think that Hidekis
wallet did most of the talking anyway. At lunch, Rosita said something
about trucks. She said that a Ford Bronco looked muuuucho better and had
better seats and electric windows and all and that she had ever been offered
a ride in one etc etc. I agreed fully with her as to the comfort features
of that vehicle. I know, I know, I should have kept my big mouth shut
and never suggested to Hideki to get one for him and Rosita. Fact is that
by the evening, we left the yard of Ford Acapulco SA de CV. I left the
yard in the S II, that is. Hideki and Rosita headed north in their BRAND
NEW Bronco with an airco and power windows and power steering (drool).
Ok so we had this deal: Hideki drives comfortably north in the company of his belle and I drive south in a steenkeeng Lanrover Seerees Dos (please note the correct mexican pronounciation and I still didnt get the stench out of the pick-up bed). I had bought the SII off him. and we were to meet again in six weeks, by the house of the two Single Sisters. So I was looking at a life of leisure, at my own pace, in the sun, by the sea, for a month and a half. I said adios to both friendly ladies and was happy that they did not keep me there for they had already said that they could sure do with a man around the house. But 2 x 75 kg x 5ft would have been a bit much for me. My truck was a 4x4, not me.
So I drove down the coast, part on and part off the beach, stopping here and there for a P! and / or a short visit to a cantina. After lunch (a can of corned beef and a Coke®), I left the coast and headed for the hills. The S II performed superbly if it were not that a loud clonk drew my attention when eating a bad pothole, the more that, after hearing that clonk, the truck refused to advance. Instinctively, I pushed the yellow knob down and regained traction. Hmm. rear half-shaft. Damn. Now where is my map ?
I was about 200 Km from Acapulco now, so that looked if I would have to drive back there to find a new half-shaft. Crap. I decided to look at it first so I continued to the next village on the front axle alone, where I found some sort of a workshop. They let me use some tools for a couple of dollars and I soon found out that the half-shaft was not broken off, but that the splines in the wheel driving member were shot. So a new driving member would do. Instead, the workshop owner let me arc weld the half shaft splined stub into the driving member, which is maybe not a very good idea, because these welds tend to break after a while. Sometimes, that is, not always. For good measure, I also welded the other side, since there was A LOT of play there too. Front driving members play looked good, also looked as if they had been replaced not so long ago. Whole thing cost me less than $ 10.-- so I was happy and drove the Landy around the village a couple of times to see if anything would break. No broken welds, even after some more serious potholes.
The village cantina looked like any other: yuck. But they had a fridge that worked and that got me a cool Coke® in a hot afternoon. The barkeep asked me why I wanted to cross the Sierra Madre and I told him that I had NO intention at all to cross it, let a lone in the piece of junk I was driving. Then he asked what I was doing there anyway, looking at the scenery ? He ignored my answer that I was not interested in sceneries but he went on saying that the road through the mountains was ideal for taking pictures and that some tourists drove from there all the way to Vera Cruz, only to take pictures. I couldnt care less, I did not even have a camera. And if I had one, it would probably have resulted in me forgetting to take the lens cover off (happened before), no film in camera (happened before), not finding camera when I wanted to take that one roadkill picture (happened before) or losing the damn thing altogether (also happened before). I had been on a holiday once and had made 2 pictures in 10 weeks: one blurry pic of my feet (by accident) and one of the roof of a truck on an all-sky background (aim was off). So why bother ?
The man, who seemed to be particularly single-minded, kept blabbing about these mountains and how beautiful and blah blah blah. He got on my nerves so bad that I left a dollar bill on the couter to pay for my drink, walked out without a word, fired up the Landy and drove off. After an hour or so I realized that I had taken the wrong direction and was heading straight east into the Sierra damn Madre. Stopped and checked map: next village in a hundred of clicks or so. Left gasoline tank almost empty, right one still full, 1 full jerrycan. Hmm. Came to think of it that I did not have a destination for that trip after all, so why not Vera Cruz ? Cooler in the mountains anyway.
From where I was, my destination seemed about 1,500 (?) clicks away and, @ 400 or so a day, should not take more than a short week. If your Landy does not start overheating, that is, like mine did. So I slowed down a little. Temperature stayed high, but no boiling. Made it into that village by evening. It was not a small place, so I found gasoline + one more kinda rusty jerrycan of it, oil, water, an evening meal that was a bit heavy on the chili pepper and a room for the night. If you call a hayloft a room, of course. During the night I got the visit of a friendly cat who came to sleep in the hay next to me. Nice. I luv katz.
An early rooster cockadoodledoo-ed me up at daybreak. Had a Coke® and a cig for breakfast and went to take a look at my radiator. Rad looked ok from the outside but yuck inside so I took it out and rinsed out about a bucketful of red sludge in the little stream nearby. No garden hoses here to flush out the block, so I repeated that three or four times, running the engine in-between with he thermostat taken out. I made a new gasket for the thermostat housing from paper and pine tree resin (works !). It was allready afternoon when that rad was sorted out so I spent the rest of the daylight on topping up oil in the drive train and gearbox and engine with the help of an old piece of rubber hose, a funnel and a lot of swearing. Spent the night in company of the same cat (meow) , in the same itchy hay (scratch).
TO BE CONTINUED...