• djmgrant5

Nails and Borders

We were all set for the next leg of our journey into Mexico. Red had his oil changed, new filters, brake check and pimped with a new set of tyres. He was running like a dream as we pulled into a state park for the night near the border with Mexico, it was dark, we were tired and as I was putting a levelling block under a back wheel to my horror I found a 6 inch nail embedded in the wall of the brand new tyre, WTF!!!

After much swearing and cursing we eventually calmed down to work out our options:

  1. Pull out the nail and put on the spare

  2. Leave it and hope the tyre is still inflated in the morning

We opt for 2. Right choice, as it's still OK in the morning.

Next, what now?

  1. Drive 3 hours back to the tyre supplier

  2. Drive 10 minutes across the border and buy a tyre in Mexico

  3. Drive 2 hours to San Diego and buy a tyre there.

We opted for 2 as we had phoned a place in Tecate and they said they had a replacement for us.

It took about an hour to get across the border, well 5 minutes initially to park the truck, then there was a lot of back and forth between the various offices, across the road to the local pharmacia for photocopies then back to the original payment window. The main hold up was proving that we owned Red and were not going to leave him in Mexico…as if…! Finally, after a lot of questions and photocopies he was satisfied and issued us with the necessary paperwork and we could officially cross the border this time and head to the tyre place.

The roads were pretty busy with stop signs every few hundred yards and tiny easy to miss traffic lights, but we made it in one piece. Sorry we don’t have that tyre, but we can patch it and it’ll last until Chile, they assured us. We had little choice, paid the money, then headed off, stopping at every tyre place to buy a replacement en route with no success. Then disaster, the tyre blew and we pulled off the road into a shopping area to change it. With hindsight perhaps we should have put the spare on in the first place. We had read up on how to change a tyre and how to get the spare off, but hadn’t practised it, again with hindsight…. After a while as we wrestled the spare from under the truck and started jacking up Red a security guard wanders over and insists on helping us, probably muttering stupid gringos, but the extra muscle came in handy and we were soon all set to go. As we were looking for the nearest gas station on google to inflate the spare tyre a policeman drives up and starts nattering away to us, he just gets blank stares in return as his Spanish is so fast, so he switches to English and tells us the quickest route and sends us on our way.

We finally roll into a camp ground on the beach just as the sun is beginning it’s descent into the ocean. Set up on a cliff with 180 degree views of the mighty Pacific this is a great spot, we set up the chairs, plonk ourselves down, open a beer and let out a huge sigh. Jeez it’s been one hell of a couple of days, Central and South America is really going to be an adventure!


A TRIPTOMANIAC has a mental disorder that compels them to travel. Unlike a normal traveller, who will journey because they want or need to, a triptomaniac does it for the sheer fun and thrill.

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