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Old 04-29-2013, 08:17 PM   #43
swamp OP
U lie&yo'breff stank
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: lower appalachia, Alabama
Oddometer: 1,894
Wink mexistan and central bunghole

...and so we stop at a gas station; the driver of the truck wants to see if the tube will hold air. I make a grunting noise that tells him it won’t but he fills it up with air anyways. For some reason the thing is now holding air but the bead is off tube is jutting out and the belts/cords are looking terrible.

We sit there and look at it. I start messing with my camera then one of the gas station attendants shouts something at me and points at the tire which then explodes as soon as I look at it. There could be only two possible answers to why this was happening to me:

1. An old gypsy hag witch had cursed me by sprinkling goat dandruff on me while at the airport this morning

2. I had angered the Sun God

Everyone laughs at me then "truck driving dude" drives me into Oxkutzcab where there is a little llantera that fixes mostly bicycle and scooter tires. A friendly looking guy helps me unload the bike and put it on the center stand. We shake hands, his name is Jose and I had arrived at his llentera.

Map of the Truck Ride. He picked me 10 or 15 minutes north of the gas station.

First things first, we gotta’ get the tire off. Jose wants to do it himself so I offer him my tire irons but he declines them. All he uses to change tires at his shop is a large, flathead screw driver and two vice grip style pliers. He has one small tire iron but I never saw him or his helper guy use it. As soon as the tire comes off we jump on his moped and start riding around the town stopping at different shops looking for an 18” tire. We go to two different bicycle/scooter/motorcycle shops one of which I assumed was the biggest parts shops in Oxkutzcab; still nothing.

Jose and I on the hunt for the elusive eighteener

Having no luck we return to Jose’s shop. He gets on the phone with one of his buddies. Who says he will ride his scooter to Merida, pick up an 18” tire and bring it back to the shop. The time is around 11:30, Jose tells me it should take about 2 hours before the tire arrives. At this point I look in my wallet and decide that I probably don’t have enough pesos to pay for a hand delivered, special order tire. I asked Jose’s wife how much this was going to cost but she told me that she didn’t know; we would have to wait until the tire arrived. Fair enough. I catch a little moto-taxi into the center of town where there is a bank.

The procedure is: once you walk in the door there are two machines that dispense ticket numbers. I have no clue what the signs say so I take one from both machines then go sit down in the waiting area with everyone else. I’m sure you can imagine how out of place I look here. MX boots, pants, red jersey, beard, bandana, I’m still wearing my gloves at this point! Despite this, everyone pretty much ignores my appearance and smell; for this I am grateful.

Ten minutes pass in the chair until #153 comes up and for a brief moment I feel like I’ve won a prize. I pull out some dollars and say “exchangeay” or “exchangerito” or something stupid like that, the lady smiles as she takes my cash ((“there must be something on my face”)). She hands be back a few bills which have been taped together and/or damaged in some unacceptable manner so I dig around and find some better ones.
Now I’ve got a friggin pimp wad of this stuff just in case more calamitous malfunctionous should happerindous.

Back at the shop I sit on a chair outside for an hour watching a steady stream of people roll up on their bicycles, pushcarts and scooters. One lady with a red scooter pulls up with a faulty ignition switch, the key is somehow linked to the seat mechanism which is also screwed up in a manner that will not enable the key to be turned or the bike started. Jose’s helper uses the big screwdriver to take apart the ignition and the seat mechanism. Somehow he gets the thing running. Magic. I think that screwdriver is some kind of wizard stick.

A big lady pulls up on a push cart. 20 minutes pass as she and I watch Jose’s helper take apart the crank assembly, replace circlips, seals and bearings then take apart the wheels and replace the wheel bearings.
A scooter pulls in needing a new tire. Out comes the magic wizard screwdriver and a bucket of soapy water. Done.

They pull a motor out of a scooter and take the piston out of it. Then they start digging around in the transmission. Clank! Jose pulls out a few gear pieces and throws them on the ground. He walks inside his shop for a few seconds then returns with a new gear. He proceeds to put the thing back together with a hammer, a screwdriver and some vice grips.

I loved watching these guys work. Parts are getting thrown around all over the place. They work nonstop on the ground and from a small wooden table. The hot wind is constantly kicking up dust and flinging it at everything. The Sun and heat are getting to me so I pull my boots off then walk inside the shop. I lay down with my head on my GL bag and start to pass out.

Jose wakes me up and tells me to follow him up onto the roof where there is a room made of concrete. Inside the room is one, perfect, hammock. The room has large windows that let the cool breeze in. He tells me to “sleep here”. So that is exactly what I do.


Enduro Earth

off the grid and deep in the woods
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