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Are we making Lemonade yet?

Well, a lot of really good things happened yesterday, to help us cope with what could have been, and still is, a pretty serious problem with the car.

 

As all of you regular readers know, we traveled from Cuenca last week, then we picked up Brian and Shelley in Salinas, used the car to travel to Montanita a couple of times, and then returned them to the bus station in Salinas, for their return trip to Cuenca.  For all the these travels, the car worked perfectly...

So, already, we have the makings of "lemonade" that we are making, when life gives you "lemons", as we relate yesterday's adventures to you.

Agripina was going to do an abbreviated cleanup of the place this Thursday, so we decided to take a picnic and drive north on Ruta del Sol to do a little sightseeing, and just have a nice easy morning and lunch.  This was a day where we had no schedule, no commitments, and most importantly no big load of stuff in the car...

Starting out, we were able to see that the road was now incredibly better, and was also being paved with a one foot thick ribbon of concrete all the way down the Coast.  We had no delays, and eventually wound up at the fishing and tourist town of Puerto Lopez--about an hour's drive north.  It is a very picturesque village of many working fishing boats, and a long tourist beach with dozens of shops, stores, and restaurants all geared to the vacationer who wishes to have fun at miles-long beach.

Since Rox had packed lunch, we were looking for a place just to enjoy the view and watch the waves and boats, so we just drove right onto the beach and went north out of the main  tourist area, and spent a nice hour eating, drinking and talking about the last several weeks adventures...When we were done eating, Rox took Coquita for a long walk on the beach, and I threw all of our junk back in the cooler for the trip back home--all pretty normal, so far...

Take a look at several shots on both sides of the beach...we like this one of the boats unloading fish with the help of lots of seagulls, frigate birds and pelicans...

 

These direction signs have always fascinated me...take a look...

 And, here are two vastly different treatments of the whale phenomenon...bones and stylised tails...

 

 And, a shot of Rox taking Coquita for a walk after lunch...notice, we had plenty of room to roam...

As we were heading south, I mentioned to Rox that the car seemed to be running a little hot, but that I thought that when we hit the next downhill, that it would settle back to normal, and things would be fine, well, that did not happen.  You know things are not good when your downhill run results in the temperature going even higher...this was not good...

As the temp settled on "HOT", and the engine was making knocking noises, we knew we had to stop...so we pulled over in Salango, the town just south of Puerto Lopez.  This is a much smaller town, so any help did not look good.

There was a municipal water truck parked off the road, so we pulled over in front of it, feeling that it would protect us from any wayward traffic.  We asked a couple of guys on the truck if there was a mechanic or garage in town, and they said no...you had to go to Puerto Lopez...but they all wanted to see what the problem was, so we popped the hood.  There were no  broken water hoses, but the heat from the engine was terrific.

 

They brought over a gallon of water, and we topped of the reservoir next to the radiator, but it didn't seem to need much.  We tried to start the engine, but there was no doubt that it was super hot, and didn't want to go anywhere.

The guys were concerned about the oncoming traffic, so the gathered crowd all pitched in to push us about 20 yards further to a safer stopping spot.

I asked about getting a tow to a garage, but they all shook their heads, and said they might get someone to pull us there.  Almost immediately, they flagged down a Toyota pickup, which doubles as a taxi, and asked the driver if he could help us.  He said that for five bucks he would pull us to the garage in Puerto Lopez.  Now folks, this is no easy deal...this is a road under construction, one way in a few places, and goes over a long hill, with jungle encroaching from each side. 

We made the deal, he grabbed a well used rope, and slid under the front of our car to make a good connection--The knot he tied was quick and didn't cinch up...then he slid under his truck to make that connection.  All the guys in the water truck watched as we slid out into traffic, and then passed us a little later and all waved.  It took about a half hour of slow driving to make it to the next town, what with me having almost no brakes and the power steering not liking having no power.  (Thank goodness for that rule that says that power brakes and power steering have to have some 'feel", even with the power off).

When we arrive in Puerto Lopez, our tow man takes us a couple of blocks off the main road to a garage--it looked pretty efficient, as it was even doing repairs on one of the mainline buses.

Well, everyone helps unhook the towline, and we pay our tow guy, and add a little tip for his careful and intelligent driving, and now the garage men want to push the car into a better area, so everyone pitches in again to get us positioned.  The main man now uses a stick to open the radiator cap to see "what's what"...we all stand well back...but no huge rush of steam--because the radiator is totally empty!!!

There are good and bad reasons for this...as we will see.  So, our man puts about two gallons of water in as I run the poor engine, which does not want to run at all.  Then he tells us that it will have to cool down for an hour, so he can really work on the engine.  We say that we will walk down to the beach and return in an hour.

We find a really nice outside table in a cute restaurant, and have a beer and a coke, and some water for Coquita, and watch the town go by on a sleepy Thursday.  Rox takes Coquita for another walk, while I settle up the tab, and then off we go to see what is happening at the garage.  We had to have a shot of us here...

When we get back, I see a thermostat sitting on the radiator, and I have some hope that this cheap item might be the cause of the problem.  Next, our garage man says that he wants me to turn over the engine as he pours water into the radiator...as the engine turns over, there is a corresponding gush of water straight up for each rev--now this is one the "not good" reasons for no water in the radiator...

When you see these actions, it means that the head gasket is leaking, and that it must be replaced.  So...here we are with our garage man telling us that the part must be ordered from KIA in Guayaquil, and that he will order it Friday, and that it will be shipped Monday, he will work on the car on Tuesday, and that we can pick it up on Wednesday. 

I wanted to get this all into the blog, so that all of you can keep up as we see if any of the above comes true...We are taking on faith that the diagnosis is correct, that the parts can come in on time, and that they will be the right ones, and that the talent in this garage can fix this problem, and most of all that it might possibly happen on the above schedule.

So...now for the next problem...we are an hour north of our house, and how do we get back home...I asked about renting a car, but that was a no go..and a taxi was thirty bucks...so we decided to take a bus...

We were told that the "Manglaralto" bus was loading about two blocks away, so off we went--but were soon brought up short by the Garage-man's son, who followed us down to get a copy of the car registration so that they could order the parts by motor number...and who told us that we were at the wrong bus stop...He walked us down to the copy shop to copy the registration, and then escorted us to the bus terminal, where a bus was just beginning to load, we went in and paid a couple of bucks got two senior tickets, and boarded the bus for our first ride in Ecuador...

We were lucky that it was a cooler day, as most of the windows were open, and cool breezes filled the bus as we flew south on the road--Now we have seen how these buses drive, and this one was good, but it was fast...Rox did not like it one bit--as her imagination fueled possible disaster at every long curve--especially on the one lane parts...Coquita slept all the way in her pop's arms...good doggie...

Well, this particular bus goes through Manglaralto, and passes our front gate, so we got the driver to stop right in front--where Agripina and Isidro were waiting  like worried parents to make sure that we were all right.  You don't often see someone get off a bus and have their "people" waiting to open the gates to their house for them.

They had been really worried, because we didn't tell them that this was not an ordinary shopping day, where we just go to Salinas for supplies...and they were astounded with our story about the car and that it was up north in Puerto Lopez.  It felt great to get back home and to be missed by really caring people.

The reason that I am going into so much detail, is to stress that on this day, with all the people we encountered, we were treated wonderfully by everyone.  All the people wanted to help us, they pitched in wherever they could, and at all junctures, they wished us well...

To cap off the day, I made a huge pot of spaghetti, we had drinks on the deck and watched a great sunset, while the sauce simmered, and then we ate as the sky turned brilliant reds and oranges...so far, so good...

We will give you all the play by play as it happens...stay tuned...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Fri, March 27, 2009 at 12:05AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

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