Oops – Didn’t make it.

First of all, we want to wish our granddaughter, Gracie, a happy 6th birthday.


Now, for the rest of the story.  We left Mazatlan on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM.  For the second time in a row we were right on time.  All was going well over the new, 200 mile, toll road to the town of Tepic.  Tepic is at the top of a mountain at about 3500 feet.  This is where the fun begins.

For the first time since entering Mexico we left Hwy 15 behind and headed down Hwy 200 towards Sayulita, which is our ultimate destination for the winter.  We had only about 70 miles to go, so we thought we had it made.  Just a note about Hwy 200.  It is mostly downhill, narrow, and extremely curvy for the first 40 miles past Tepic.

Here is your typical downhill curve. Note the lack of shoulder.  In some places the drop-off is hundreds of feet.


Anyway, as luck would have it, we ended up following an extremely slow truck.  You wouldn’t necessarily think of this as a problem, but, it was.  He was traveling so slow that we could not build up enough speed for our exhaust brake to activate.  This is bad, because we were forced to use our brakes extensively.

About 30 miles into this ordeal, we spotted a place that we could pull out.  When I braked to stop, billows of smoke started coming out of our left front wheel.  We got to a stop and discovered that the wheel was on fire.  What was burning was brake fluid and grease, not tire.  We carry a fire extinquisher in the cab, so I gave that a whirl.  The fire stopped momentarily, but the heat from the wheel re-ignited it.

A young man came running from across the street with a liter bottle of coke, shook it up  and began spraying the foam on the wheel.  We grabbed a couple of more liters from the restaurant on our side of the road.  The fire was out at this point, but we kept squirting large quantities of water on the wheels through openings in the hub caps.  After the excitement, we sat down with the young man and joined him in a beer and waited about an hour for the wheels to cool off before starting out again.

Well, off we started.  The left front wheel was making a horrible metal-to-metal noise.  It didn’t appear to be the brakes, therefore, our assumption was a wheel bearing.  We continued on for about 20 miles at about 20 – 25 mph.  Every couple of miles we stopped to wet down the wheel with water.  I was driving in first and rarely used the brake.

When we entered the town of La Penita we noticed the La Penita RV Park.  We had met the owners of that resort in San Carlos when the caravan came through the RV Park.  We continued a few more miles and stopped to check the wheels out again.  A retired military gentleman from the US  that lives in the area pulled up beside us to see if we were having trouble.  He indicated that if we were to continue and break down in our final 20 miles that there are no places to pull off the narrow road.  We opted to head back to La Penita RV Park and wait there until Monday so we could get the wheel fixed.  Manana has stretched out for a couple of days and we expect to have our diagnosis Wednesday, the 14th.

Anyway, La Penita RV park is large and nearly full of mostly Canadians.  The owner is also Canadian.  We put up our Texas flag.  The park is quite hilly and the trailers and motor homes are all up and down the hill.  We’re at the top.  The property goes all the way to the beach.

Here’s a shot from the sun deck at the rv park.


From the beach toward the park.


View from the beach. 


And a little wildlife (Iguana)


Hopefully, we’ll continue our journey towards Sayulita in a day or two. 

Our thanks go out to Carole and Grant, the owners of La Penita RV Park for their hospitality and help with our problems.

2 Responses to “Oops – Didn’t make it.”

  1. Sister says:

    That Gracie seems to look a lot like her Grandpa Rick, don’t you think–especially the eyes. Well, I have a new travel quote I made up myself: Travel is not trouble free. Does that seem like it is a truism to you?
    More later.

  2. Rick and Tinka says:

    I hope we do not have to use the quote you made up for the rest of our travels. Would like to use —-Traveling is NOW trouble free and has been for months..

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