Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Return to the Gonzales.

The water and diesel tank filled up and the propane tank as well.
The fridge filled with fruit and juice.
And off it went to Rancho Punta Boca del Salado.

Leaving La Paz heading south soon reaching steep mountains.
But the four-cylinder turbocharged intercooled diesel engine does its work remarkably well.
Only rarely needs to be shifted back into third gear.

Going down the windy roads of the steep mountains, having come to know a thing or two about the Mitsubishi Fuso brakes, the gear is put into third and the exhaust brake system activated.
Super slowly the descend is made to the displeasure of traffic behind but everybody arrives at the foot of the mountain intact.

Soon after reaching La Ribera and the Sea of Cortez, the road is not paved anymore.
It is not that the road is bad.
No deep potholes or anything.
The road is maintained by the Mexican Government but it does have these washboard ribs.
Those are tough on any car.
And the driver.
It works the shock absorbers hard and the whole vehicle shakes like it might fall apart.
And better turn the volume of the radio up because driving on a washboard-ribbed road is very noisy.
It sounds like 1.000 screws and 2.000 bolts and 3.000 nuts of the car are loose and that soon the chassis will leave the coachwork behind.

Before the Fuso Santek entered the washboard ribs for some serious dancing, the pressure in the tires was dropped.
Air was made to escape from the Yokohama's.
Which is easy on the front wheels but on the rear tires the valves can hardly be reached.
On the list of things to do when back in the USA is to purchase valve extenders like the Lazy Daze so conveniently had.

Driving with deflated tires on a washboard-ribbed road makes a difference but nevertheless 14.000 pounds is a lot of weight to have to move over it.
Therefore the golden rule of dear friend John from Temecula, California, USA, was applied: “Piano, piano”.
(Which doesn’t mean to have two pianos. It is Italian meaning to take it easy twice.)
At speeds not exceeding 10 miles (16 kilometres) per hour the Fuso Santek seemed the most comfortable given the unforgiving conditions.

In the afternoon the rancho of the Gonzales family, at Punta Boca del Salado, was safely reached.
Last time here was rather recently, in February, but nevertheless it was great to be back and embrace the friends.
They wanted to know everything how it had been going in the USA and with the new Fuso Santek.

Later, Edgar assisted unloading the Honda water pump so badly needed at the rancho.

The Gonzales family at Punta Boca del Salado has been visited as of 1979.
It is not possible to become a member of a family unless by marrying one of the daughters, so the current status is of a “muy bueno amigo”.
Often many months have been spend with the Gonzales family having been visited almost every Winter for over 27 years.
In the next postings this remarkable family will be introduced more in detail to the fervent and loyal blog readers.

Camp is always made some distance away from the rancho in the dry riverbed.
In between the rancho and the Sea of Cortez.
About 100 meters (328 feet) to the sea and 100 meters to the rancho.

To reach the spot of the camp, one needs four-wheel drive.
The first serious test in off-roading for the Fuso Santek.
Not only the four-wheel drive was switched on, but the low gear as well.
If it is serious, it is serious.
The dry riverbed expedition was successful.
Without any hesitation, the Fuso Santek took the loose sand like it was no competition.

Jacks were put on both sides to stop the Fuso Santek from swinging when getting in and out of the expedition vehicle and to stabilize when strong wind blows.

Fervent and loyal blog readers will definitely remember the dog Gorba.
How he was found chained to a tree last time the family Gonzales was visited.
Because Gorba had developed the nasty habit of catching goats and biting them to death.
Next, liberated from his life chained to a tree, being peacefully next to the camper, he suddenly went after a goat again and almost killed her if there had not been an adequate intervention and later he nastily bit friend Mimi in the leg during a meeting on the beach.
He had to go back to his tree, diagnosed as too much out of control to live a normal dog life.
Gorba, even being lucky, because often rancho dogs getting so dilettante as he did are being taken on a walk into the mountains where they are shot left behind as an appetizer for the coyotes.

This time Gorba was found in rather miserable circumstances.
He is still chained.

He is still using the shack build for him during the last visit to the rancho.
But he had no food.
And water to drink in which even a duck would avoid swimming in.

Alfredo, the official owner of Gorba, is often not at the rancho anymore due to a girlfriend gluing him to her place.
Alfredo expects the other members of the family to take care of Gorba but doesn’t leave any dog food behind.
For the other members of the family it is several bridges too far to cook extra food and bring it to Gorba.
Even their own dogs do not get special food: they survive on leftovers and of the liquid dripping from the cheese maker.
Dog food like they sell in supermarkets is simply too expensive for rancheros like the Gonzales.

A possible miserable situation of Gorba was anticipated: on board of the Fuso Santek a large bag of 18 kilos (39 pounds) of delicious, tasty and healthy dog food was carried to the rancho.

This has happened in Gorba’s life numerous times: the nomad coming from far away but bringing him always good food, fresh water and in spite of all the killed goats and poor Mimi, affection and friendliness.

It is a remarkable event to experience a dog being overjoyed.
To be out of his mind of joy seeing a friend again.
It might be that he suspects in the Fuso Santek is dog food but that thought is completely false as it is a projection of a human mind.
He is happy because he is happy.

After properly feeding Gorba and supplying him with fresh, clean water, it was very tempting to liberate him.

Or to keep him on a long leash next to the Fuso Santek.

But last time here this experiment was tried and the result was that anybody coming not even close was aggressively barked at.
Nobody wanted to come by anymore.

Those are tough moments: Gorba is barking and crying and making all kinds of sentimental noises requesting to be liberated.
But for everybody and for him, he better stays where he is.

This morning the sun rose from the Sea of Cortez.

Where exactly is Punta Boca del Salado ?
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Stephan said...

Sad story about Goba! As a happy owner of two happy dogs it's a really sad story. What will happen when you leave? Harsh as it might seem: why letting him live a miserable life and nog giving him the right of a decent end? Difficult question, not only because of the question wether mankind is entitled to such a decicion.

Sangeeta said...

It is a good person who is so kind to animals.... I wish you would take him with you. You are obviously a dog lover.

Fred said...

A truly pioneering artist would take Gorba with him on his travels.