Mexico - Mazatlan to Tepic

Tuesday July 24
Ken got up early and dealt with a great mechanic in Tepic. Somehow between the two languages and people they managed to understand each other. There were two litres of excess oil to be taken off - extra oil courtesy of Pep Boys in Tucson, AZ. Here is how Ken describes the event on the Previa Forum in two postings.
Add the PEP Boys in Tucson as another really stupid outfit. I am in Tepic Mx wondering why the Previa started missing at 3000 ft... well the oil change Pep Boys did resulted in 2 litres extra oil in the oil pan, plus the reservoir is full. The Haynes manuals says that can cause spark plug fouling which should explain the missing on the steep mountain road. What ever happened to good service and they charged $88 per hour. btw the shop rate from the Toyota dealer here is 350 peso per hour. Unfortunately they can't work on models older then 1999. Not trained they say, PEP boys could learn a thing here.

Be warned, check the oil change after 15 minutes to make sure you didn't get too much oil.

The Toyota Dealer (Dalton Toyota) in Tepic, Mexico was able to guide me, ( I mean the service guy rode along with me in the van and the receptionist picked him up) guided me to a mechanic in Tepic not ten minutes (sic) from the dealership. After a few short introductions Luis asked how he could help me. I explained the problem of PEP boys adding too much oil and we negotiated a price to remove the offending two litres of 10w30. $50 pesos (~$5 Cdn) and Luis, along with his helper keeping an eye on the dipstick, took care of the problem.

I would say Luis was a good guy and handled me very well. He wiped off the oil pan after tightening up solidly and was confident and pleasant enough. His English was good enough to get by with my poor Spanish.

I'd say Luis could handle most problems you might face on the road in Tepic Mexico, and I would trust him over PEP boys for sure.

His card says:
Taller Mechanico
Presupuesto sin compromiso
Luis Venegas, propietario cel : (311) 109-3502
CROBA #104 ESO. Con Roble Col. San Juan, Tepic Nayarit, Mexico
Frienos, Clutch, Transmissiones automatic, afiniacones de full injection

I have little idea what this means in English, the free translation on line can only get "Oak tree cabbage" I wouldn't mind knowing if you can translate it.

In closing so far I made it to Tlaquepeque, MX and a San Diego toyota dealer over changed and double charged for a simple repair. Plus, the Tucson Pep Boys put 2 extra litres of oil in the engine, and the Mexican mechanic was cool and only charged basically five bucks for a simple fix.

Today we reluctantly left Tepic and our fourth floor hotel room view. The new scenery was lush with mountains. The toll roads had lots of exposed, beautiful rock from blasting. The rock or mud was in shades of orangish red. We saw sugar cane and tequila plants growing everywhere in the fields. We were driving right passed Tequila. We arrived at our new destination, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. We instantly liked this artsy community and we found two English speaking people who directed us to our bed and breakfast. We were so excited about the community we forgot to plan out a place to eat supper and just picked a good looking place. This community is the home of the mariachi band and one was playing in the band stand, in the courtyard, where we ate supper. I was very affected by the a little girl that came up to my chair at two different times asking for money. I just found it very sad that she would be desperate enough to do this.

Monday July 23
I woke up to a military looking band marching and playing in the square. Ken had gone down to eat breakfast in the restaurant. Today Ken also discovered the guys who had changed the oil in Tucson, AZ had overfilled the engine oil. That we found out was the van's problem when it was hesitating again. We now have an affectionate name for our van - Pepe. We walked around the town and the markets then visited the Regional Museum of Nayarit. There was Pre-Columbian art on display and we were allowed to take pictures. We walked around in the Governor's mansion and saw brightly coloured murals on the ceiling. I spent time in a store that sold Huichole art and picked out some bright, wonderful pieces for our home. We did lots of walking today (14,511 steps) because it was coolish. I saw a pet shop today, but was totally disgusted by the cleanth and care factors and had to leave. I felt awful about that.

Sunday July 22
After packing up and leaving our campground in Mazatlan we went back to Azteca Restaurant to eat breakfast. I was thrilled because this time, we too, got warm salsa served to us in a stone dish (salsa at breakfast not such a good idea for us Canadians). We were quite willing to leave Mazatlan with the noise, the bugs and the raging heat, our destination was Tepic, Nayarit. We saw groves of mango trees, a few mules or donkeys, and saw the scenery change to a much more lush environment, almost jungle like with mountains. With a minimal of difficulty, for a strange city, we found the town centre of Tepic. We stayed in the best hotel in town. The Hotel Fray Junipero is located on the town square which our room overlooks. Singers were on the stage singing in Spanish. There was a special celebration happening, anniversary of the founding of the city (500 years or something like that). We could see the top of tamarind trees, children and parents enjoying themselves, fountains, the crosses up on the hill in the distance and the homes of the city going up the hillside. We walked around and saw the Huichole Indians in full dress selling their crafts, back behind the singers. They were selling their art and Ken bought t-shirts. When we arrived at our restaurant for supper, La Gloria's, it was open air but covered and wonderfully lite and decorated with bright colour. Very good shrimp today. It started pouring rain and really cooled things off. We returned to our hotel room across the street.

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