The first task of the day was to take our broken damper and try and get it repaired because we could only get our spares once we arrived in Mexico City. A quick search on the Internet revealed a mechanic’s workshop fairly nearby, so at 9am, Nik, Toby, Claudio and myself were in the support van and driving to the workshop.
This is where we got our first taste of daytime Latin American city driving; it is, in a word, insane! Traffic lights seem to be more for decoration than anything else, pedestrians cross anywhere and everywhere, and the general rule seems to be that if there’s tarmac, you can drive on it regardless of traffic direction. It certainly takes any form of monotony out of driving!
Before long we arrived at the workshop whereby the mechanic did a fantastic job at repairing the damaged component. Unlike the previous fix, the piston shaft of the shock absorber was made straight rather than crooked; it was great workmanship! Meanwhile, while at the workshop, we met a super friendly accountant who insisted on taking us to a great place for lunch. A quick speed through Saltillo got us to a really authentic looking taco joint with a tree growing through a hole in the roof; great for shading the restaurant and it means you don’t have to water the tree…smart engineering!
The tacos and quesadillas were fantastic, as you may expect from a nice local joint! With bellies full and shock absorber fixed, the morning’s tasks were completed successfully, and we headed straight back to the hotel. Within 10 minutes, the fixed shock absorber was reinserted into the car, and because we were now paranoid about the suspension, we gave all the nuts and bolts another check over, despite having done the same thing the night before…better safe than sorry!
By 1.30pm, the van was packed and ready to go. However, Claudio had just received a call from Chris Sorbi saying that he would be there before 2pm and that we should wait for him. Now, Chris is a new addition to the growing RGE family and the way he joined the project is an amazing one. As you may remember, 9 days earlier, Rick had decided to leave the trip, and we were now short of an accompanying biker from which Claudio could shoot some moving shots. However, after sending out a Twitter message asking if there was anyone out there up for joining the trip all the way down to Argentina, he immediately got a response from Chris. Chris and his girlfriend, Cynthia, were in Montana at the time, and in the process of driving around the world by motorbike in order to raise awareness and funds for chronic malnutrition and hunger. His website can be seen here. Anyway, Chris and Cynthia (C&C from now on) bombed it all the way down from Montana to Saltillo in just 3.5 days…an incredible feet of endurance!
C&C arrived bang on time, we gave them a hearty welcome and got very quickly acquainted before heading off to San Luis Potosi 290 miles away. Aside from getting heavily rained upon, the only other noteworthy aspect of the journey was the range of the SRZero…based on the state of charge, our total range was beginning to exceed 350 miles despite travelling at 65 mph. The reason for this is the change in air density as we climbed higher and higher into Mexico’s mountainous central region. And so it was after driving very quickly that we arrived in San Luis Potosi with over 20% left in the tank…no range anxiety here!
The road was nice and smooth up until San Luis, and until entering the city we hadn’t been giving much thought to the 2 damaged shock absorbers in the rear. But getting off the toll road brought with it the most horrendous rods conditions; huge potholes, bumps and cracks where everywhere and sometimes compounded by the fact that some of the roads we cobblestone. The SRZero had never taken such a beating in her life, but everything held together perfectly!
And so, after getting lost in the centre trying to find the hotel, and also being surrounded by a bunch of incredulous kids (really great experience by the way!) we found our way to the Real Plaza Hotel. Here we were promised a secure garage with an electricity supply. However, upon going to the garage with the SRZero, two things became immediately obvious; first of all the garage was full, and secondly it looked very difficult to actually get the car down the ramp. After trying a few various methods, the hotel suggested another garage they owned just round the corner.
After relocating, we quickly had the car on charge and we were ready to find some food. We found a delightful little Italian restaurant a few blocks away from the hotel, and we celebrated a successful day on the cusp of a major milestone; Mexico City!