June 7, 2007

On the road again: Another tale of the Tsuru

PUERTO VALLARTA, Jalisco, Mexico - The Admiral and I had to make a fast trip up to Puerto Vallarta for the Admiral to sign some papers for her FM3 - a renewable, year-long visa that lets you stay in Mexico indefinitely.

Our attorney came to Dustin's house with the papers Tuesday night about 9 p.m., apologizing for being 10 minutes late. (Yes, our attorney came to the house with the papers. Yes, he apologized for being 10 minutes late.)

Sylvia signs docs
Sylvia signs her FM3 documents

Note the clever product placement in the photo for son Dustin's business: Fox Marine.

The trip to Puerto Vallarta was quite uneventful - 2.5 hours of zooming, only a few brushes with death where people passed on curves.

But when we went to leave, things got more interesting.

On our first foray south to La Manzanilla last week, we started out in Dustin's girlfriend Cami's VW bug, but lost a brake assembly and ended up renting a Tsuru - most frequently referred to in these missives as the Mighty Tsuru.

Well, the Mighty Tsuru must has been exposed to some Mexican Kryptonite while in Puerto Vallarta because as we started out of town to come back south, the engine started making that knocking, death-rattle sound that bodes poorly for getting anywhere in any automobile, Mighty or not.

We drove a little way through city traffic listening to the knock - hoping it would go away - and finally decided getting stuck somewhere on the lonely 200-kilometer highway between Puerto Vallarta and La Manzanilla would not be much fun. An adventure, sure. But a week into retirement, I'm getting adventured out.

The people at Gecko Car Rentals in Bucerias seemed less-than-surprised at our plight and told us to bring the Hoover back in and they would simply give us a new car.

The new Hoover
The latest of our cars

I did overhear the workers talking (in Spanish) about the car we returned, something about 'oh yeah, I think that one has a bad injector.' Hmmm...

But the new vehicle is a rocket and we made the return trip sans incident - except for a misreading of the speedometer by me. I didn't have reading glasses on and the mark that I thought was 100 kph (the speed limit is 70 kph on most of the road) was actually the 120 kph mark.

No wonder the tires were squealing on those switchbacks.


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