I am now sitting in a cool covered patio at Carlos/Alejandra's home in Sam Miguel, a suburb of Buenos Aires. This last week or so have been busy servicing and preparing Paco for the difficult road in Chile that we intend to drive.
Today is a rest day, and reacquainting with Carlos/Alejandra. Last week was a very intense work week at Mariano/Josefina's home in Rosario.
(The following is very mechanical, skip if not interested)
Paco is running now. Mariano and Josephina, our wonderful friends in Rosario were very helpful in helping me replace 20 year old parts that needed to be renewed. The main attraction in Rosario other than the wonderful back yard for working in the shade at Mariano's was his friend Jorge,a talented mechanic. When we first arrived in Rosario, we learned that Jorge, a diabetic, was having some problems and would not be help me for at least a couple of days. So Karla, anxious always to get going, help me with some of the mundane replacements that were needed. I had brought all the parts needed for the job. So for two days I worked on replacing, the front suspension Ball joint, and the front inner and outer wheel bearings. They definitely needed changing. Finally Jorge showed up ready to work on replacing the rear inner and outer wheel bearings,and correct my mistakes(I always seem to tighten things too tight). A very time consuming job with many snafus slowing the progress down. These bearings were in terrible condition. I am so glad that they are changed. We also replaced the rear brake cylinders. We also had the front end aligned. Paco in some ways is now gliding so smoothly that even Karla and I can attempt to have a conversation while driving. Other things that needed attending was a minor tuneup, and an inspection of my Automatic transmission. Another aggravating thing was that one of the lines in the gas tank had cracked and we needed to fix that as well. The transmission and gas tank were out of Jorge's expertise. So Carlos in San Miguel gave us a name of a mechanic in Rosario that was a Westy Fanatic, Andres. So that meant an overnight stay at Andres' shop, which was filled with old VWs and Vans. He was so excited to work on Paco, it was gratifying to give him the key. We picked up Paco Tues/2/1/2011,ready to go. The air conditioning was not working and Andres sent us to another shop. They concluded from a shot test that the Condenser was bad and needed to be changed... No part-so we didn't have it done.
The best thing about this last week and has been the evenings with all of Mariano's friends. We had parrillas(BBQ) with wonderful, beef, pork and sausages almost every night. I am sure our diet from last week,would make my cardiologist sit back in his chair and put his hand to his head. We had, parrilla pizza one night, an assortment of empanadas another night. Karla always the salad queen made wonderful salads form the wide selection of vegetables like home, found here. Of course we drank, beer, wine and Mate. The only complaint that I had was usually dinner didn't even get thought about till 9 in the evening and ending sometime after midnight. Way past my bed time especially after working all day in the 90+ degree heat with 80+% humidity. I went through a lot of water. Karla read in the shade... Karla in the afternoons would take walks along the Parana River which was only a few blocks away from Mariano's. The last couple of night at Mariano's were cool and we didn't need to have a fan on us all night. The heat is miserable and oppressive. The only saving grace in the day was shade, and a slight breeze and something to keep my brain occupied(fixing Paco)
Yesterday, 2/2, we said good bye to Mariano and Josefina. Hoping to someday see them when they take a dream trip to Mexico from Argentina, in their 1946 Willy's Jeep.. This young couple have a wonderful group of friends. I would have never been able to get so much done in a week+ at any other place. We will miss talking to them and spending hours in the evenings visiting and trying to translate each others thoughts and adventures. Karla and I are having such fun. And of course it seems that we have been blessed with such good luck, in many ways.
Karla and I are missing our new little grand daughter Leah. But Her mom Jess is sending us updates and videos of those changes we are missing.
We plan on leaving for southern Argentina, 2/4. There are a couple of things we still need to resolve,propane connection, and our water tank drain plug broke. We will see what we can do here at Carlo's.
We have exchange a few gifts with Mariano, Carlos, and Andres, and Jorge. It is fun to give them Westy mugs, calendars, and chocolates.