January 14, 2008

The tire is back on and 'Spike' is in custody

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - Among the many jobs I had to do today was get the Trooper's flat tire fixed.

And after that, of course, I had to put the tire back on the truck. In the states, I would have called Triple AAA and had a tow truck lift the car up and slap it back on.

But flat tires are a way of life here and I realized that I better get reasonably proficient at such tasks. I also need to upgrade my tool box and emergency repair kits.

I stopped at the first "llantera" I saw on the main drag coming into town and a nice young man popped the tire onto his equipment and had me in and out in a half-hour.

And the charge for that speedy service was 40 pesos - or about $3.67 in U.S. dollars.

I can't make this stuff up: $3.67.

Can you imagine walking into a Big O Tire in the states and getting a flat fixed for less than the price of glass of house wine? (OK, you can tell how low I go on the house wines...)

The shop is a combination tire repair stop, gasoline station (in 20-liter jugs) and in the back is the house of the family. The mom remembered me from yesterday when I stopped by seeing if the shop was abierto, but it was closed. Sundays are a big deal in this country and while from an American viewpoint it's might seem a pain in the ass (like when you have a flat tire), I find it very nice.

At least so far.

Tire fixed and back on the Trooper
Tire fixed and spare back on the Trooper

The spike that flattened the Trooper
The spike that stopped the Trooper

In the meantime, I met a fellow in town named Tom who built a huge house with his wife Mary Jo and loves to work with wood. He also knows a lot about fiberglass work.

He rebuilt a Santana 21 sailboat (bobbing on a mooring right off the beach) and has agreed to help me with the last of the repairs on the Captain's Gig. The repairs done by Chief Engineer Scott Noble to the 10-foot sailing dinghy look great and we only need a few final pieces - and a new centerboard - before I will be sailing across Tenacatita Bay in search of whales.

Whales? Yup.

Tonight the Admiral and I walked the beach and watched a pod of maybe four or five whales put on a wild show, breaching, slapping their tails on the surface and in one astounding moment, jumping entirely out of the water.

When the whale's bodies hit the water, it was like cracks of thunder, probably a mile away.

Now I have to get the Captain's Gig back out on the water.

Whale ho!

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