This took me so long to post because the town that I’m in literally does not have internet…I have to drive 10 miles to the next town to get online and I keep forgetting to bring the laptop, which I write this bullshit on…but anyways The next few will be faster, already wrote them.
So J sends me some money, the plan was for me to wire it to him from my bank account because they are somehow connected and he Western Union it, sounds simple. I wanted him to send half up front, then half later but he sent it all at once. I didn’t know that until I went to pick it up in a sketchy market in a sketchy part of town.
The cashier girl didn’t have enough cash in the Western Union drawer to pay me out. She had to page a manager, he brought over a big stack of bills that she counted out for me in the middle of the crowded market. There were thousands of pesos, like a months pay for most of the people in the market (a “good” month), this was exactly why I didn’t want it all at once (whatever though, thanks J I owe you).
So I go to leave and 2 boys are following me, very conspicuously I might add (amateurs), when I got to my car one circled around so that they had me boxed in between my truck and the car parked next to me. Awesome. Keep in mind I said “boys”. They started chattering (I have no idea what was said) but one said “dinero” and had a knife, so I assumed I was being robbed. It was kind of cute given their age and size relative to me, but I was in no mood. Shelby was in the truck going ape-shit, I pulled out my e-tool (thanks again Lee) and commenced making threatening advances with it. Only one kid had a weapon and combined they were still probably smaller than me, they cut their losses and bolted but I got a nice adrenaline rush and got my first bit of action.
I think Shelb was upset that she missed her chance at biting something because that night she duked it out with a stray. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned how big a problem the stray population in Mexico is, at the beach in Puerto Penasco alone there was a pack of 15-20 dogs and that turns out to be about the average in most areas of Mexico. Its ridiculous, I almost run one over everytime I drive. Every night that I slept on that beach they would circle around my camp while I was sleeping and torment Shelby (who was tied up), until I would get up and chase them off. Usually I would just get up and run after them for a bit and they wouldn’t come back, that last night they were extra aggressive. I had seen some of the Mexicans come on the beach and chase them off with their trucks, I figured this would look cooler than me chasing them on foot like a dufus, and I’m lazy. I got up and threw all my stuff in the truck and went after them. It worked well, they left and I drove back to where I was and like an asshole overshot and got stuck in the soft sand near the water. I tried to dig myself out but couldn’t, it was like 3am and I was frustrated so I went to sleep in the truck with Shelby tied up outside. I awoke to Shelby mauling the shit out of the pack leader of the strays. I guess they had come back and one had ventured within the range of her line…dummy…she was owning him, had him on the ground by the neck, she looked like the lion in my all-time favorite Youtube video (lions Vs. hyenas-9 minute version, check it out)…there was a lot of blood and I hope he died. I reeled Shelby in by her line and the pack took off, never to be seen again.
I woke up at sunrise and went to get the militia guys to come pull me out of the sand, it was a process, no English, I was in no mood to attempt Spanish, and they didn’t understand the situation. Anyway, eventually figured it out and went into town to get gas and supplies before I headed south. I met a Mexican American dude that had moved down from CT to work in PP. I told him that my next stop was Los Mochis, which isn’t too far (at that point 10-12 hours of driving wasn’t that bad). He gave me some pretty legit driving advice (I will address driving in my next post) and warned me that Los Mochis was notorious for being cartel run.
I took that with a grain of salt, shit like that doesn’t concern me in the least, and got on the road. I ended up being pretty tired, and got on the road late, so I spent the night in Hermosillo. It was a lame-ass tourist town, wasn’t fun. However, the hotel I stayed at was sick, and dirt cheap ($20 US), so I was happy.
I left really late the next day but that was cool because Los Mochis is only like 4 hours away. I arrived and realized that the only WiFi was at KFC (which is really popular in Mex for some reason), or at hotels. I went to go check out hotels, it was like 5pm. Most of the hotels were on the outskirts of town and set up like fortresses. I thought it was weird at the time, you would drive into these places with like 20’ concrete walls and every room was separated bungalow style with its own garage to pull the car into. The “reception desks” were a 1’ square cut into a 2’ thick concrete wall with bulletproof glass and a drawer to pass documents through, and it was like $100 a night. I said fuck that and went to KFC. I sat in for like 3 hours, I bought a Caesar wrap so I wouldn’t feel bad. The plan was to check in then crash on the closest beach. As I was about to leave to find the beach, gunfire erupted on the street right outside. Apparently young teenagers in Los Mochis carry fully automatic AKs and aren’t afraid to use them. 2 young kids were shooting at each other and one died. I decided to go to Mazatlan.
At this point I was tired. When you start a 4 hour drive in Mexico tired, funny stuff is bound to happen. In retrospect nothing funny actually happened, at the time though I found it hilarious. I was struggling the whole time on awful roads but it really started getting bad about an hour outside of Mazatlan. I had the windows down, was pounding Redbull and singing at the top of my lungs to try to stay awake. Safety first. Carrie made me all these CDs when I stopped in AZ the second time and I was blasting Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows (the douchiness of that is the only redeeming part of this anecdote…). So I know this song by heart, I’ve known it for years and I’ve probably sung it 4 times in the past hour. I can tell Shelby is getting fed up with it but she’s not driving so tough luck. It got to the point where I was so tired that I couldn’t remember the lyrics but I was still trying to sing, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to that point but it’s sad. So I’m mumbling along and I look at Shelby, who had been sleeping, and shes looking at me like I’m a complete asshole for messing up the words, like if she could talk she would have corrected me. Not funny at all, right?, but at the time I thought it was the best story I could ever tell and couldn’t wait to put it in my blog. That’s how sad my night was.
So to make a long story short, I passed out in an OXXO parking lot in Mazatlan and then stayed in a hotel for a few days. The only thing of note to occur was my car refusing to start when I went to leave. The push start Olympics began. Finally got it going and left for Guadalajara.
I got ¾ of the way to Guadalajara and the truck died in a gas station parking lot. It was in the middle of nowhere, about 250 kilometers from the destination. There was a “mechanic” that lived in a shack next door and I was referred to him for assistance. At this point I’m angry, rightfully so. I had just spent a ton of money fixing the shit and it broke again. Regardless, I went over to this dudes house and his sister(?) got him for me after warning me he was drunk. Worst situation ever. He was trashed, quite possibly the ugliest person I had ever seen, and he was very touchy feely. I was in no mood for that shit, but went along with it for a minute to see if he would fix the truck. He kept grabbing me by the shoulder, getting really close to me, and saying “bomba” (pump), I tried to assure him that I had replaced the fuel pump less than 2 weeks ago. We got the truck going but he insisted I wouldn’t make it to Guadalajara and that I should drive him 40 kilometers back to a town called Tepic so his friend could fix it. He also mentioned girls and I think this was a not-so-clever ruse to get a ride into town. I ended up taking my chances and getting out off there. I made it fine, but it was like 5 on a Saturday, no mechanics open, none open the next day, and none open on Monday because it was “Virgin of Guadelupe” day. I hunkered down in a McDonalds parking lot, stole internet, and checked out the city for a few days. Guadalajara is chill, it was the first real city I had been through, great markets (ladies if you need to shoe shop this year its worth the cost of the flight). I also hit up Tequila (the town where they make tequila), also well worth a visit, everybody gives you free tequila and the distilleries have great tours.
Among my friends (Carrie, Gabe) the consensus was that my fuel filter was probably clogged, and that it would be an easy fix. Not so. After picking one up I looked up how to do it, Toyota purposely made it an impossible task because the stock filter “should” last the life of the car. So I went to the mechanic to have them deal with it and the truck died again on the way. Luckily there were like 20 mechanics on that street and one came out to help me right away. He decided it was an electrical problem and replaced all of the wiring from the fuse box to the pump as well as the filter. I was happy, I paid and left, the car died again like 20 minutes later, as I was going up a hill, in traffic. Awesome. I pushed it into a Starbucks parking lot and went to grab a coffee and look up that shit mechanics telephone number for a tow.
The barista spoke English! That was cool, and he had a friend with the same truck that worked on it all the time so he generously offered his help. Turns out this kid was awesome. He was 17, he had my same truck in black and showed up in a sick VW beetle. He fixed it in about 4 minutes. I guess there is a common problem with the fuses that he has had before, he pulled out a lighter, melted some shit on a fuse and I haven’t had a problem since. I gave him the remains of a 12 pack of Tecate. Best day of his life.