Yo Soy Mechanico

Posted on Posted in Baja California 2009

Before getting rolling in the morning I checked out the front wheels. Jacking the truck up and removing both tires I look to see if something is lodged in the caliper or if a wheel bearing has gone bad. Everything looks good. No wobble or slop in the joints. Maybe something was dislodged while driving along the beach. After bolting the tires back on I pack up and head out to Todos Santos then to La Paz.

Along the way I was flagged down by a guy on the road. His truck had stopped and needed a jump. I pulled out my jumper cables and got him rolling again. He shook my hand and headed out. Ten miles down the road I was stopped again, by the same guy. On total, I stopped four times to aid in restarting the guys truck.

My squealing was back again. This time I noticed my brake pads were heavily worn. Making it into La Paz I find a parts store and purchase some new brake pads. I decided to continue on through the day and change the pads once I setup camp again. Well, twenty kilometers north of La Paz I stopped to take a look at the increasing noises coming from the wheel. That is when I noticed the driver side tire was leaning. I pulled the tire off just to discover the hole hub flopping around. My bearings were beyond shot. Putting the tire back on I try to turn around and reach a parts store in La Paz. I didn’t make it very far before a police office pulled me over. He did not want me to continue with my tire leaning.

Where I had stopped for the police was at a Pacifico mini mart. I walked over to one of the guys standing around. The game of lingual charades ensued. I used a pen and paper along with my phone to translate. I asked for a ride into La Paz for parts. Unfortunately he could not leave until tomorrow, but agreed to let me camp in his yard away from the road. Then the local drunk showed up on this barren stretch of highway. I still don’t know where he came from. Everything I said or did he told me to take it easy and it will be ok. During all this he decided to show me his id and explained he was deported from California. Great, now I’m the enemy, I thought. I drove my truck into the yard where I started pulling the suspension apart. The brake caliper was now badly mangled. I don’t think brake pads will fix this. I had a hard time removing with the tools I had.

Then, out of the blue, people started showing up. I’m guessing they were stopping for beer and noticed the Gringo’s truck. They came over to see what was going on. About eight people started speaking broken English, saying they have a mechanic. I kept telling them I am mechanic, “Yo soy mechanico.” Over everyone talking and tossing their friend in for a mechanic position I hear someone say, “Your going to need a new engine.” I started laughing and turned around. I explained to the wise guy what the problem was and all I needed was a ride to get the parts I needed. He agreed and we hopped in with his friend in a single cab truck.

We drove into La Paz only to find out everything was now closed. Raul, the guy, had his truck break down two weeks prior, so he new some people in town. He called to find a tow truck and no answer. We ended up at a guys house where Raul’s truck was parked and found the mechanic passed out in the back yard. We went to a few flea markets to find a tow bar, since towing in Mexico with a strap is a huge fine. After walking around for an hour we found a guy. We all piled into the truck and picked up the tow bar. We headed back to the flea market to drop off the guy off then back to my Explorer. Maurice’s truck could barely pull the Explorer. After a mile the tire began to rub the upper a-arm causing smoke. I signaled to Maurice to pull over. I decided to get a tow truck and parked the Explorer off the highway. Maurice pulled my fuel can off the rear bumper and told me to take my valuables.

After that we headed back to the passed out mechanic’s place, where he was finally awake. We called his nephew to get a tow. We would have to wait a few hours, so we went to guy some cervezas then sat in the back yard talking. Eventually the nephew showed up and later the tow truck. Off to rescue the Explorer. After a while we got the truck to the shop. Already late into the night we headed off once again to San Jose del Cabo where Raul lives. Once we arrived, we met some of his friends. Maurice showed me where the shower was. I took a shower. Shortly there after everyone left and we all passed out.


How bad the lean was when on the ground.