|David Writing His Journal|
We were cruising along, Dianna and me, Vivien, our neighbor across the street, who was along for the ride, and David, Dianna's brother, who had been visiting us from Colorado, and who, we were taking down to Belize City to the airport as his vacation away from the cold and snow was coming to an end.
All was going very pleasantly till we had just passed through Carmelita and I noticed the A/C wasn't quite as cold as it had been. I looked at the temp gauge and it had gone up quite a ways but not to boiling over... yet.
I turned off the A/C and the temp went back down to a respectable level. I thought, hey, no problem. We were on our way to the Riverside Tavern for lunch before we sent David on his way. I'll just let the Isuzu cool down while we're there, and add some water to the cooling system when we come out and all will be well till we get back to Corozal.
A minute or two later, I glanced at the temp gauge again and this time, it was working it's way down to cold. That's not right", I thought and announced to the crew that I was pulling over and stopping right now.
Just as I moved over to the shoulder of the road, the engine died and we coasted to a quiet stop.
I jumped out and raised the hood. It was immediately obvious something bad had occurred. Rusty spots all over the engine and everything in that compartment. Not a good sign. But I was still hopeful that it was a simple thing of overheating from low cooling fluid.
Of course, we still needed to get David to the airport. Just in front of us about 50 yards or so was a bus stop, and of course, someone was waiting for the bus. Dianna and Vivien decided they were going to take David, jump on the bus and take a taxi to the airport. Vivien had gotten instructions from Julie a few days ago on how to do all that, so there was a deal of confidence in the air. I was going to stay and see if I could get it re-started. I was also going to contact Rick Magana, our mechanic, to see if by chance, he could come to our rescue (he couldn't. He was tied up for the day), and finally, I was going to contact Denis, Vivien's husband, to see if he was willing to subject himself and their Isuzu to more abuse by coming down and towing our Isuzu back to Corozal.
|Carmelita to Corozal|
Thankfully, we had stopped beside a farm (Green Land Farm) and the head farmer drove his tractor over and chatted with us. He offered some good advice on adding more coolant to the engine so as not to crack the block or warp the head, etc. He also said that if we decided against towing, that we could put the Isuzu inside his fence, up near the buildings with his other vehicles till we could make arrangements to get it moved.
|Bus Stop and the Farm|
In the mean time, I had contacted Denis and he was on his way. Nothing is easy. He had to make arrangement with Doug to pick up Eve, Denis and Vivien's new doggy from Dr. Sheila, the local Veterinarian. and get some petrol.
By then, the bus had come and gone, taking everyone who was at the stop with it. That left me alone on a wind-swept hill on a wide shoulder with a dead Isuzu. I had always thought that traffic on the Northern Highway (now renamed the Phillip S.W. Goldson Highway). That, at lease is the impression one gets as you cruise down the highway. Sitting stationary beside it, that is much different. It actually has quite a bit of traffic. Oh, sure, there's times when all you hear is the sound of wind gently wafting along, then there's at least a few cars and trucks moving along. Maybe not busy, but certainly steady.
I waited for about an hour and a half till Denis showed up. Thankfully, the breeze stayed constant, so waiting wasn't too bad. Plenty of sunlight, heat and breeze. I also had a bottle of water to swill and take the dust from my mouth.
I also put the time to good use. I tried cranking the engine. If I could get it to idle, then I could add water, a little at a time and see if it could hold the water, or if there was a definite leak. Well, as it turns out, I couldn't get it to idle. As soon as I took my foot off the accelerator, it would die. So, my option then was to add water a little at a time, crank, add some more, crank, etc. I managed to get a good gallon in the radiator. Things were looking up.
About then, I decided to put the radiator cap back on and see if it would finally allow me to start it up and keep it running and hold the coolant.
I fired it up and immediately had a horizontal geyser from about an inch below the radiator cap on the inside of the engine compartment. I quickly shut it down and knew we were not going to drive the Isuzu back to Corozal.
After Denis arrived, we debated whether to wait there for the girls or to tell them to take the return bus all the way to Corozal.
|Official Name of the Farm|
After getting the vehicle secured, we decided to go into Carmelita and see what we could scare up in the way of lunch.
Right around this time, I got a call from Dianna that they had made it safely to the airport, and had gotten David all squared away.
Denis and I found a small restaurant about a hundred yards off the highway, but decided against that as we wanted to be able to keep an eye for buses so we could make contact with the girls again, so we went a bit further north and stopped at a little roadside shack, Bam Fast Food, where we had rice and beans and stew chicken, with cole slaw and some great homemade 'peppa' or hot sauce.
|Denis Enjoying the Shade and Lunch|
Turns out the meals were excellent. Really tasty. In fact, Denis and I both highly recommend stopping and having a plate of rice and beans. After a hot day on the trail, it's hard to beat. We sat at a picnic bench beside the joint under the shade of a sea grape tree and had a nice relaxing meal. We kept watch for the girls too.
A bit later, we got a call from them, that they were still at the air terminal and were going to have lunch before coming back our way. Denis and I joked that the next call we got from them would be that they decided to go shopping after lunch.
It was probably about an hour after we finished our lunch that we saw them getting off from the bus, but back by the first restaurant that we had looked at. So, we jumped into Denis' Trooper and headed to them.
After collecting the girls, we started back to Corozal with an uneventful trip. After we arrived in Corozal and they dropped us off, Dianna and I realized just how pooped we were. I think we hit the sack around 6:30 PM, more or less.
Enough of an adventure for one day, for sure.
Well, one can't get too much of a good thing apparently. First thing Saturday morning, I remembered there was a sign on the highway north of Corozal advertising a towing service. But, naturally, I had never written down the number. I sent out an email to the Men's Group asking if anyone, by chance, had the number. Of course not. But, Alan, Wendy, and Maria all called back later on with the number, for which I thank each of them for taking the time to do that.
I called the number and talked to the guy who answered (I neglected to get his name). Turns out, indeed, he does have a tow truck - he has two of them. A flat-bed car carrier, a winch-type tow truck, and a car dolly. Plus, he has about 30-years of experience with towing vehicles and, as he told me, he will negotiate for competitive prices for towing.
I thanked him for the info and promised I would get the word out to everyone (note to self - don't forget to do that). By then, and as a result of some other emails, David (of David and Elizabeth - too many Davids around here) had offered to tow the beast back here to Rick's shop.
I also talked to Denis who had gone into town to take care of some business, and offered to pick up anything that I might need. I asked if he could see if he could find some sort of official tow rope sort of thing, other than the stretchy thing that Rick had loaned us.
In the meantime, David came over and we got ready to go. I gathered up some nuts and bolts and chain, so we had some stuff to work with to rig up a towing apparatus, a bottle of water, my shades, keys, and phone, and we were ready to go. Just needed Denis.
As luck would have it, Denis had checked at Lano's Hardware, but they didn't have a tow-rope. He then went on to 'Triple-C' Hardware, and low and behold, they had exactly the tow-rope I was visualizing. Yellow nylon strap, about three-inches wide by about fifteen-feet or so long, with two heavy-duty hooks at either end, perfect.
When Denis got back, we jumped in David's Isuzu (too many Isuzu's too) and headed for Carmelita.
About an hour later, we pulled up at the gate to the Green Land Farm. Of course, it was locked up tighter than a drum. And of course, there was no phone number on the sign or on the gate. So we just beeped the horn. I told David that his horn was just a 'tad' wimpy. However, the farmer did hear it and drove his tractor down to the gate to open it up for us.
I think I may have embarrassed him by giving him $20.00 BZD as payment for looking after my vehicle. Oh well. I told him to buy some beer with it. He provided us with a couple of metal bits and nuts and bolts, so eventually, we got the towing rig hooked up and we were ready to go.
David asked me what speed I would be comfortable with him going. I said, probably somewhere around 30 to 35 MPH. He thought that was pretty good. So, we started off and although it was rough at the first couple times to slow down, etc., we soon got the hang of towing and being towed. I'm pretty sure we managed after a bit to get the speed up to 50 to 55 MPH which helped get us back to Corozal in good time.
|Took A Photo Underway|
I invited David and Denis in for some cool Belikins and to cool off in the pool. David wanted to get back home, but Denis and Vivien came by a little later and joined Dianna and me in the pool. A good end to a good day.
For a bit of a different take on part of the adventure, here's Dianna's brother, David. He sent an email after he got back to Colorado.
Can you imagine it? $45.00 US for a taxi ride for probably less than 20 miles. Wow!==========
Glad to hear that you made it home OK. I hope the Isuzu will be up and running in no time.
As for my little adventure of Rin Tin Tin, let me tell you the saga.
As last we met our heroes, they were stuck on the side of the road by the little town of Carmelita.
Dianna, Vivien, and David were able to take a bus ride with the kindly assistance of the Belize transportation system. The bus was filled to the brim by the time they got to their destination of Belize City (actually it was Ladyville, on the northern edge of Belize City), where they were able to take a nice taxi ride to the airport.
They enjoyed a nice lunch and did a little shopping. David spent too much and Dianna was kind enough to lend him a $20.00 US (important note to remember in this adventure).
David had some time to kill so he did not go through security right away. Eventually, the crowds started growing so he decided to enter the security area. On the other side was about the same assortment of shops and a little cafe.
Then an announcement was made. The flight to Belize City was delayed. His flight would not leave until 5:15 PM. This did not seem to be a problem as he thought he had 2-1/2 hour lay-over in Dallas/Ft Worth. The flight came and took off nicely, landing in Dallas at 8:05 PM. His connecting flight was to board at 8:50. Only forty-nine minutes to clear customs and make his connection. He ran his little legs of till they bled - at least it felt like that was what was happening. Customs did not care that he had a connecting flight. But American Airlines were so kind and gave him an orange envelope that was marked 'Express Connection'. It expressed nothing. He still had to run what seemed like a marathon. Just as they were closing the doors on his flight to Colorado Springs, He just made it.
The flight was uneventful, except for all the people sneezing and coughing. Ahhhh! He arrived at 10:15 PM. He looked for an ATM and withdrew $40.00, found a taxi and proceeded to his apartment. The taxi ride cost him $45.00. So, thanks to Dianna who saved the day again.
I really did enjoy my stay at the Rider hacienda. I will write more as I get the pictures into my computer. All is well here. Nobody broke in and cleaned my house. Bummer.