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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting back for Part 2- Planks Mexican Adventure

Heading back to Dolores Hidalgo,

Started out trip back Tuesday afternoon, about 4pm. Left later than we wanted because we were waiting on some items to come in, new glasses for Elaine, and some electronic equipment for me. Was a slow start, rush hour was started in earnest, so we stopped in Rolla, MO. And spent 1st night there.
Then we headed out for Oklahoma that night. Made it to Tulsa, Ok. that evening, my left knee had started swelling when I was working and kept up, so every 100 or so miles I had to stop and lay down with knee propped on bumper to help knee to drain, and allow me to keep going. Car was so packed again, there was no room to set the passenger seat back to change positions so I kept driving, and Elaine watched maps. WE decided that we would just take it easy going back, and not be in a hurry, good thing because after awhile we started stopping every 72 miles, before knee would get to painful to go farther. Every other time we stopped we’d fill up gas tank.
Thursday we drove from Denton Tx, to Laredo, to make our last pit stop and sleep before starting the Mexican part of the trip. From Laredo to Dolores should take about 9 hours, but with my knee it was slower, so we started out at 6AM at border. Got checked thru border gates, and then had our 1st diificulty. As soon as you leave the Mexican border agents, you are in Nuevo Laredo, not to safe a  place to be. The 1st time we followed Lipperd’s across, we almost were held up a a bunch of hooligans. 2 fellows stepped in front of car, within 50ft of us leaving the border guard, they had green highway worker safety vest on. They waved me over, and ahead of us, Tom & Debbie car saw we were stopping and pulled over too, but past these 2 “gov’t workers”.  As  I slowed down 1 motioned me to roll down window, as I did about 15-20 other fellows came out of alleys, houses, bushes and attempted to surround the car. I was confused at 1st, then Elaine said “Tom get going”, and just as she said that a fellow reached in his jacket and acted l;ike he had a weapon there. They were yelling at me then to stop and pay them. But I followed Abraham example and listed to my “Sarah”, and gunned it out of there.
So this time we were ready for some attempt like that 1. And sure enough it happened. As we pulled out of the border check and into the street, a sign said “Monterrey”, and to turn left. So I stared to do that, looked down to the next intersection as I was getting ready to turn, and saw that a gang had surrounded a car there and had it blocked in with a car behind it. So we kept heading straight, and went thru town and came to a big intersection that said Monterrey, so followed it out. Whew! That was the biggest fear we have is getting thru the border area.
After that there isn’t much between there and the turnoff for Saltillo bypass which heads you down to San Luis Potosi, but then we had another scary situation; the car stopped while I accelerated past a slow truck. The battery light indicated no power and we pulled over as far as we could on right to see what happened. There was a wide area there that gave us a margin of safety from the cars & trucks racing past. Thought maybe it was a vacuum line or fuel issue. Listed for any air noises from lines couldn’t hear any, didn’t see any problems, All the gauges were reading ok. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then tried to start and it fired up. So thought it might have been some bad gas, air in line, gunk that passed. But that began a long arduous, last ½ of the trip nerve wracking drive. The fuel pump I suspect was going bad. Going uphill it would stall, and we would have to pull over. Keep in mind there are not any repair shops along the toll road, at least that we could see or ask about. So it slowly got more often and we decided that we would fill up every PEMEX we came to. If the hill was a long upgrade we would not make it. Had to coast over to right, out on flashers and hope that we wouldn’t be rear ended. There are some huge heavy trucks that barely make the steep grades on the roads. They became our friends and protectors. The traffic had to slow for them so we just would follow those slow trucks, at 4-5 mph, up the last bit of hill, then we would be able to get up to about 50-55 on level grades, or slight grades. That’s when we figured that we had to have a full tank. So every 36-40 miles we would top off tank, so that by gravity I guess that we could still get some gas to carburetor. We made Potosi, had to decide if we could make San Luis de La Paz, Thought as long as we had light, and we could make Dolores or get close, we could catch a bus, or try to call a brother to come and help us get car to shop, and repaired. Then hope our stuff would be ok there. But the hills got less high, and farter apart, though we still were not able to go more than 36 miles without getting gas. The last 150 miles that’s what we did. And we made it to Dolores about 7pm Saturday night.
Got the car all unloaded and fell into bed. Spent & exhausted every way you can be.
Saturday had a Bible study Of Ron’s, David Peralta, go with me to take car to repair place, and at 5PM he said it would be Monday before the part came in. So we walked to vegetable market sat afternoon, after turning gas back on, got some food, went to Nanapancha, pizza place had 2 great salads, and came home to no TV, internet, or working phones. But got Elaines phone working then took my cell and paid for minutes to get it working.
Then we worked on getting house organized, and food, water etc into house. Sunday did some more shopping for fruit, and got ready for meeting.
Had good news from Mike Portell, regarding my study with Miguel, both he & Ron took study for me while we were gone. Mike said he came up to where we study with Miguel 1 day, and he already had his BT book out and there was a lady there with him and he was teaching her some truths!!!! I will get the lowdown on the hows; whys and wherefors, when I get to see Miguel this week.
Good to be back, even with the border scare, and the car giving us fits. Got car looked at Saturday-Monday, got new fuel filter, and pump installed. Now we can get back almost into our routines again!
Love Tom & Elaine  


  1. How exciting and dangerous! This is good to know in case I ever have to cross the border! Glad you made it safe and sound and are in familiar territory. Thanks for these posts, although I hope they aren't as interesting to read from now on!
    Tom Bowen

  2. Well that definitely qualifies for the "adventure" part of this blog! Glad you finally got there safe but sorry you had such a rough go.

  3. Welcome back "home"! Reading this, and having lived the reality, amazes me to think we drove with 3 children under the age of 7 from Ga to Belize and back ... and survived with nothing worse that the loss of small items when we stopped for gas.

  4. So glad you both are safe. It was good to see you briefly when you were in the states.

  5. Wow - scary stuff! Glad you are both safe! Cuidate!