I know most of the sounds that the bus is capable of making. This one was new to me – the sound of one of our air filters being sucked into the fan housing. You can’t not notice it.
Fortunately, we were already a few hundred meters past the military checkpoint where I ignored their request to pull over. They even blew a whistle, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for me. At least, they didn’t seem too bothered by the fact I kept going. I usually wave as I pass so they know I’m friendly. These guys all have assault rifles, so if they really wanted to get my attention to pull over they could get it.
Anyway, the filter. This sucked. I was able to reach back into the intake and pull out most of it. I tried to drive a bit further, but the fan was still growling at me. So, I stopped again and loosened the housing and pulled out the alternator and fan while on the side of the road. My luck – the fan was bent and grinding on the fan housing.
The best I could do was bang the fan on the pavement and try to get it straightened. Good enough to make the noise go away, but now we have a vibration problem. Two days later and all four bolts on the alternator housing have shaken loose.
Even with the roadside repairs, we made it from Ciudad Bolivar to Caripe. There’s cave here that’s supposed to be interesting, and there is even camping at the park. But, as the day wore on we started feeling the all too familiar signs of sickness. We’ve hardly sneezed in almost 4 years of traveling and now it seems we haven’t been 100% healthy in months.
After a quick look at the cave, we went into town in Caripe to look for a posada and discovered that it was a holiday weekend and everything was booked up. On about our 10th try, we scored a cabana with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen for about $12 USD. On a holiday weekend. Gotta love Venezuela.
We’re still not sure what the holiday was, but it seemed to involve partying until sunrise.
We’re also starting to notice some of the other issues in the country now. Namely, shortages. The T.P. shortage has been fun to joke about – so far not a major issue. But, the flour shortage has people waiting in lines around the block.