|March 16 - Travel to Guanajuato
This was an easy travel day turned difficult. After driving most of the way to Guanajuato, the folks traveling behind us notified us of smoke coming from one of our trailer tires. We pulled over in a safe place that just happened to be at a strawberry stand. So while everone else shopped for strawberrys Doug investigated the problem.
It turned out that 3 of 4 shackles on the trailer had broken and allowed the tire to rub on a shock absorber support thus creating smoke. Sufficient force had been applied to a mounting bracket for the equalizer, the triangular shaped thingy that allows the tandem axles to articulate up and down, so as to bend it inward.
One of the members of the caravan said they thought they had some parts. So the rest of the caravan, except for one couple (Mike and Penny), went to the not too distant RV Park while Mike and Doug proceded to disassemble the undercarriage of the trailer. The tool off the wheels on the passenger side and removed the offending parts. So far, so good. In order to get the trailer to the campground, they would need parts, either new ones or reworked, broken parts that might allow the trailer to limp into the campground.
Before too long the wagon master returned with parts from Chuck, another member of the caravan and three locals that he had picked up to help him find the campground and to help us with repairs to the trailer if needed.
The part fit! However, it too a lot of struggle and strain to get all the compenents aligned sufficently for them to be applied. Before the effort was complete the Green Angles arrived. They had an additional 12 ton jack and were ready to get underneath and do some of the dirty work (that had not already been done). The Green Angles offfer their services for no charge. However, they will accept tips and seemed as happy to accept our tip as we were to accept their assistance.
With the wagon master in the lead, Doug and Sherry in the middle, and Penny and Mike behind we then proceded to the Bugamville RV Resort. The locals with the wagon master must have lead us through all the back roads. Traveling over cobblestone road (very common) that were narrow, sometimes one lane, and with frequent topes (speed bumps), on roads not shown on our GPS to finally make it to the campground.
We felt very loved as we were welcomed back into the caravan at the campground. Everyone was concerned that we'd be safe and able to continue our travels safely.
To finish this story -- the next day we again jacked the trailer, removed the tires, did additional straighening and replace bushings in the springs and equalizer. We replaced the one shackle that had not previously failed and reassembled the trailer. We were once again fit for travel thanks to our friends in the caravan who had parts that we did not have.
One item of note: Doug was appalled at the lack of a beefy structure on the suspension system. The shackles and the brackets securing the springs and equalizer to the frame were much ligher than appeared reasonable and there were welds missing in places that would have significantly added to the strength of the structure. The replacement shackles provided by Chuck were about twice as thick as the original equipment and should be considered for anyone planning to use their trailer for serious travel, especially to places such as Mexico and Alaska.