Tiresome tire change
There is no lack of exciting moments in this journey and most of them are connected to Benzi in one way or the other. Benzi is of course no youngster any more and in fact some time since he got grown up and there fore there are few things that can happen along the way like when the brake hoses bursted in middle of a mountain range by Copper Canyon in Mexico.
We had driven four hours on a narrow mountain road and there was no way of stopping there to admire the beautiful view, when we suddenly heard a loud wizzz and the brakes started suddenly locking. I got very pale as it was late in the evening and darkness not far away. The brakes squeezed in little by little as we searched for a place to park. There was no joy in having to stop the car in the middle of the road. The we saw a little space where it was possible to park, just big enough for Benzi. Kristjan could barely maneuver the car over to this space by using all his force. There was nothing to do but sleep that night there by the side of the road, hoping nothing would happen. The day after Kristjan could mix things, (some thing he is getting good at). We therefore made it to the destination in Creel where we could change the hose that had bursted.
The tires on Benzi are getting old and used, but because we decided that the rain season was over as it is now december, we had decided not to buy new tires yet but drive on these until they where totally used up as you do not reach into the box of change to buy new tires
One of the worst road we have driven on our journey is the road from the borders of Belize and the first 20 km entering Guatemala. Because of corruption amongst politicians and their relatives this part has not been asphalted yet even though lot of money has gone into it. It had rained a lot the last days before entering Guatemala and after few kilometers we saw cars dance on the mud filled road. We thought this would be no problem for Benzi with its giant wheels, four wheel drive and high and low drive and the asphalt was not far away.
This clay mud field turned out to be as fine as possible, almost like a wet powder and it just got stuck in every groove of the tires and made them slick. Benzi started dancing just like the others in-spite of all the drives and even though we where only driving about 5km/h. Kristjan was sweating trying to control this huge truck and I was white from the excitement and half stood in the seat, not able to speak because it did not look like we where going to make it through. We where in fact not in much danger because the landscape was rather flat. Mi nightmare was that it was late, just like when the air hose bursted and we would get stuck on the middle of the road. It is not like you can push Benzi out to the side of the road and who could get us out of there?
It so happened that the road was not that hilly and we had no major hills to go up or down. It would have been terrible. This nightmare lasted for more than 20 min and then we suddenly where on better road even though it was not asphalt. I think I rarely have been as happy as then. It was getting dark and to our luck we found a place with a football field and houses around where we could park the truck in safety after having asked the people living there about it.
The next tire adventure was at the Finca Ixobel campground. Very beautiful big garden area. We drove Benzi towards the toilets and stopped there to decide where to park. We did not realize that the ground was made of the same fine grained mud as the road and Benzi sank deep in to the mud because of how wet it was. I was not happy with the truck at that time, but Kristjan cursed the tires. It was quiet some thing getting this 7.5 ton truck out of this mess but with the help of the gardeners we made it but left a big mess we did not like on the lawn.
Now we have driven for eight hours towards Antigua to celebrate Christmas
Some minutes ago we heard this loud noise and where shocked. As Christmas and new year is coming we thought nothing of this as every body here is crazy with explosions and we thought this was just one more of the fire crackers.
Then one meter of the air control system started ticking and the pump pumping air. We stopped and found a big hole in one of the tires. There was a Lanteria (tire repair shop not far away and we stopped there. They tried to put a prop in the hole but that did not work. Then the tire was taken from the truck and looked at. As this tire had been repaired before the patch was what had bursted and a new one was put there in stead. That did not work as they did not have big enough patch
and they could not get a bigger one in this village.
This tire is any ways badly damaged, probably after some big rocks from the adventures in Baja California and was therefore judged ruined.
We had therefor no choice but to get the spare but as every one knows it is on the top of the roof and we had avoided the thought of ever having to get them down from there.
Kristjan had to climb up on the roof but that was not all because the tire had not been moved for over two years and the system was rusted and stuck and did not move much in spite of heavy hammers and strong men.
The Icelandic stubbornness is famous and nothing to compare to and Kristjans muscles strong from paddling Rio Dulce the last days so in the end everything got loosened up but it did not look good for a while.
I and the tire repair man where scared of this monster tire when he was puling it down but the system worked and down came the tire and under the truck it went. We wanted to put the other spare tire under on the other site to have them similar, but the tire repair worker waived his arms and said it was not necessary. He just wanted to free him self from those crazy Icelanders as soon as possible as it was getting late once again. I would not be surprised if the workers would demand risk pay for the next cray client with a big monster tires.
So now I am going to sleep outside some Esso gasoline station where guard with machine guns is watching out for us. Kristjan was so lucky that there is a restaurant here and he got to get three well earned beers (I just got one as I did not do much but show moral support with some yelling)
Gasoline stations are not the best places to stay at as they are usually right by heavy traffic streets where there is noise from trucks all night long using their motor brakes. Some thing that is strictly forbidden in the US because of the noise. It is not for those that have hard time sleeping to sleep in such a place, but those that know us know that we have no problem with one motor brake or two.
To morrow it is Antigua here we come and it better be Christmas decorated.