|Dormant volcano being used for gravel|
Numerous dormant volcanic mountains tower in the distance, their peaks obscured by low clouds. The earth resembles grated cinnamon, un-sweetened dark chocolate, and freshly ground coffee.
And the air smells of burning oil. That can’t be good.
We turn off the road at a highway service area into the PeMex station, and shut off the truck. Burning oil; dripping from an engine gasket onto the hot exhaust pipe. The gas jockeys gather around the truck offering suggestions in Spanish and pointing. Lawrie has a pretty good idea of the problem. We add a litre of oil, and buy two more as a backup. We decide to turn back, at least as far as the previous highway exit, to a place called Morelia.
It works. They laugh. Smile. And let us do a U-turn on the highway, picking up the traffic cones, waving us through – joking about the smoke pouring out from under the truck.
Not the usual reaction we have had with Mexican State Police in our home state of Quintana Roo. (Perhaps I mistakenly said that his stilettos were pretty? Or that he had peanut butter stuck to his eyebrow?”)
|Service Manager David and Lawrie discussing Sport Trac|
Morelia is a big beautiful city of around four million inhabitants and that day the main street was closed due to an accident.
We are now completely captivated by the City of Morelia. Beautiful - and friendly.
David, the Ford Dealership Service Department manager was very helpful – but it was Saturday, and they had already closed the service department for the day. All the mechanics had finished work at two in the afternoon, and were done until nine in the morning on Monday. There was nothing for us to do but find a decent hotel for a couple of nights and explore the city. David handed our taxi driver a Ford Service Department coupon for a complimentary taxi ride to a hotel. He suggested the Alameda Hotel, near from the gorgeous cathedral in Centro. It was an interesting hotel, compiled of three old hacienda-style buildings. The sturdy stone walls made the hotel rooms extremely quiet and cool.
|Musicians in Morelia Centro Saturday night|
Originally settled in the 7th century, the city was later settled by the Spanish in 1525 and re-named as Valladolid in 1541. The name was later changed to Morelia in 1828, to honor a local hero, José Maria Morelos Y Pavón for his part in the War of Independence from Spain.
|Sunday morning mayhem in Centro Morelia|
By Monday we were anxious to make a decision on the truck – repair, or not. We returned to the Ford Service Department. A part was required, but it could take two or more weeks. David said we could drive the vehicle as long as we checked the oil frequently. Lawrie asked them to balance the front tires, and said we would be back in the morning to get the truck.
|One of dozens of shoe shine stands in Centro|
In the meantime, on our last night in Morelia, Lawrie happened upon a nearby restaurant that had great reviews on the internet: Casa Grande. We decided to treat ourselves to a good dinner. It wasn’t just good, it was fabulous!
Appetizers, rack of lamb, dessert, and wine the total bill was around $80.00 dollars. It was our tastiest dinner out in four years, including our recent trip to France and Italy.
|Roof top view at Casa Grande Restaurante in Morelia|
We’ll continue our cross country adventure at a later date, including a one-night return to the lovely City of Morelia.
It was an unexpected delightful detour.
|Yipee! Our Canadian passports arrive|