As we started the drive to Puerto Escondido we heard popping from the back end and started having the occasional sputters and skips. Here we go again. We persisted and sweated all the way there – fortunately only an hour drive – and found a place with A/C! Camping was not happening this night. Trust us on this one – if the room with a fan is $20 USD and the room with A/C is $25 USD, you should splurge and spend the extra five bucks.
After re-equilibrating our body temperatures, we headed out to go check out the scene. This place reminds us of a Hawaiian town like Lahaina. Definitely laid back and has the same surfer vibe as Sayulita. But, here the surfing here is deadly serious. Because of an Antarctic swell this week, the waves are absolute monsters. Just when you think you’re watching an enormous break – it doesn’t break – it keeps growing. You’ve got to bring your ‘guns’ to this place. Bring two – broken boards are pretty common. Most folks surf without a leash to try to keep their boards from breaking. You get one try, then you’re on your own in the thunderous surf fighting your way to shore. Then you have to go find your board. You still see guys walking up the beach to two board halves in their hands. Unreal.
The heat is still oppressive, and it even keeps the surfers away except for early mornings and evenings. After the first day with monster waves, things are calming down a bit more and only up to 10-footers today. Still too big for us and still crazy hot and humid.
It was 95F today and we chatted with a friend in Austin, TX and learned it was also 95F there. Maybe it’s not so hot after all.
I checked out the bus and went through the whole tune-up routine with no luck. After a little more checking, of course I found that my muffler was loose. Doesn’t explain the missing, but explains the popping. One thing at a time, I guess.
I spent almost two hours trying to find exhaust seals in Puerto Escondido. The first place had nothing, but a guy there told me to follow him and he’d help. The next place had nothing and the next place was a muffler shop where I was left to deal with the mechanics. They insisted they needed to weld the muffler to the heat exchangers.
Over and over I said “no quierro solder!” but they persisted. They argued that with all the topes, the exhaust gaskets would just continue to disintegrate as the muffler bounces around. They are probably correct and that’s why I’m replacing them only a few months since doing it in Guadalajara. But, I’m not keen on having my engine trapped inside a welded exhaust system. I still think I could end up rebuilding the thing on the side of the road some day.
Eventually I found the rings (annillos de escapo) and the metal gaskets, but continued searching for plugs and wires (again) hoping to solve the miss problem. It seems ridiculous but every shop acted like it was a bizarre request for such an old car… as vochos and combis continually whizzed by outside each shop. I kept asking for a VW parts place, but no one seemed to know of one. Eventually I found some plugs, but no wires. I gave up and went back to park and waited for things to cool off.
I put in some old wires I’ve been carrying around and the new plugs. Like magic, the popping went away. The old ones looked fine to me.