11,344 km: El-BP’s Spa Day

Juchitan Party Rock

Destruction, physical pain and shame faced us square in our bloodshot eyes when we woke up just before noon in Juchitán.  Did we really drink all of those beers?  And the tequila?  And the Jagermeister?  Sweet mother of Zombie Jesus.  No rest for the wicked, we have miles to chew today.  First things first though, some breakfast for the wicked. We drag ourselves across the street to a breakfast joint and manage to eat most of our food and get a few cups of coffee down. By the time we get back and pack up the car, it’s past noon. We get on the road with Hunter in the front and Murphy in the backseat for the first time – hangover aside, I’m finally starting to feel better after a few days of lousiness while Murphy’s on the decline with the same ailment I had. I probably shouldn’t have borrowed his toothbrush without letting him know.

I guide the car slowly and cautiously onto the highway towards Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital and largest city in Chiapas, our final state before Guatemala. My reaction time definitely took a temporary hit last night so I’m not taking any risks. The drive is nice at first, decent roads, not too much traffic and a massive wind farm. Plus the other guys were being hangover quiet so I didn’t have to listen to any of their shit.

Juchitan wind farm

Before long we’re nailed with some heavy rains, as Hector had warned us we’d see every afternoon in Chiapas. Going even slower now, but we reach Tuxtla exactly at 5 pm and right into its stagnant rush-hour traffic. Murphy’s hosdar leads us almost directly to a hostel he’d read about, Hostel Tres Central. It has the best-working shower I’ve seen since… maybe San Ignacio? Working AC, high-speed Wi-Fi too, killer find. We take advantage of all three and have a low-key night recovering from the last one, only going out to chase down some plates of tacos.

In the morning I make a cheat-sheet with the names of car parts and actions I’d like to see done to them, Google up a reputable-looking mechanic in town and boogie over there. Since we’re planning to mostly hang around the shop, Hunter heads out for a walk around town. We get over there and changing the rear tires is instantly out – the shop does rotations but they don’t sell tires. Brakes are out too, but for a good reason – they check them and say there’s plenty of pad left. Over the last few days it’d felt like our brakes were shot but it must’ve just been the added weight of a third person plus gear. We do get some new shocks though, and man, El-BP needed them. When I purchased the car last year I’d been under the impression that scheduled maintenance had all been done, but apparently this was the first time the shocks had ever been changed. Right now it’s pushing a hundred thousand miles. They had factory markings on them (“Daewoo”, who initially made the Wave/Aveo) and were rusted all to shit, a torch was necessary to loosen some of the bolts and the threads at the top had to be cut off. The guys got it done relatively quick though, considering how much rust they had to deal with.

El-BP w/o wheels

Shock torch

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During the work we cut out for a few minutes to hit up a restaurant, where we ordered tacos made from seasoned mushrooms (awesome) and quesadillas made from chicken mole and fresh cheese (also awesome).

We got Hunter back after he got lost on the way over, went to get some food and then got lost again. It was about two o’clock but San Cristobal de las Casas is only about 80 km from Tuxtla so we headed. The new shocks felt great when we hit topes. As we headed east the road climbed. And climbed. And climbed. Tuxtla is at 1,700 feet while SC/DLC is at 7,200 feet. Torrential rain nailed us again, a lot colder than the day before. The types of vegetation changed completely as we ascended and the view was incredible. We rolled into San Cristobal in the late afternoon and started looking for a place to crash.

SCDLC road view

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