The trip to South Dakota cost about $1,000 for the round trip airplane tickets plus hotel, etc. Why did I do this trip? I did it because I need a driver's license. No getting around that requirement. Now here is where it gets a bit involved.
MsTioga is registered in South Dakota. She has South Dakota license plates. Having this SD registration means having auto insurance that is USA based. But I am living in Mexico and living in Mexico means that I must also have Mexican liability insurance. In order to have Mexican liability insurance, I must have the USA based auto insurance. Do you get it?
My object in all of this stuff, is to do what I do in the easiest way with the minimum amount of government involvement. That is why I chose South Dakota over Texas as my state of domicile. South Dakota keeps out of my affairs. For example, no annual air-pollution testing in South Dakota. No state income tax in South Dakota.
9AM - MsTioga's brakes
MsTioga's brakes need to be fixed. There is no doubt about that. We understand now, after a lot of reader feedback, that there is likely master cylinder and brake/power assist involvement that needs to be looked at by a mechanic. Also, the anti-lock brake system is somehow involved in all of this.
However, the brakes are working well. MsTioga does stop easily at this time. So where does all of this leave us? We want to go to a Ford dealership to do this brake work.
Do you recall when we last tried to find the Ford dealership in León? We could not find it? Some problem with Google Maps which shows two Ford locations in this city. We now believe that the 2nd location is the actual Ford dealership. Our plan is to go to that Ford location later this morning.
We need a shop that can handle a vehicle as large as MsTioga. Most shops cannot handle MsTioga. So we need to first check out that shop. Then, if the shop is OK, we will make an appointment to do MsTioga's brake work.
12 Noon - California Restaurante Buffet
I asked my waitress about the American music being played at the restaurant. I appear to be the only American here. But all of the music is 70s & 80s light rock in English. My waitress did not know why all the music here is in English. I sort of like it!
It's sort of mysterious to me that yesterday afternoon I was in Dallas, Texas. And now I am having breakfast/lunch here in León! As I may have told you before, I am an old fashioned guy. I do not believe that I will ever get over the thrill of flying. Or, for that matter, the miracle of computers and the internet. I feel so very lucky to be living in these miraculous times!
The buffet line here, because of the hour, is a combination of breakfast and lunch. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and lots of cut-up fruit. Also being served are taquitos, chilequiles, enchiladas. There is a chef making eggs-to-order [omelettes, etc.]
As I am typing these words to you, the sound system is playing "Somewhere over the rainbow" and Judy Garland is singing.
3PM - Ford dealer in LeónIf there is a Ford dealer in León, this dealership must be very small, and be located in the center of town. MsTioga is not legally able to go in to the center of this town. So, we will not be doing any brake repairs for awhile.
We are asking you to be tolerant with us. We do not believe that it is dangerous to drive MsTioga as she is right now. We will keep our eyes open for a Ford dealer as we travel west.
7PM - Short circuit
An intermittant short circuit is happening that causes the 15 amp fuse to blow for the turn signals and back-up lamps. This fuse also protects the dual battery relay coil, DRL module and HEGO. I have no clue what these last three items are, where they are located or how to check them.
Some wire must have come loose someplace, and is wiggling around and shorting out sometimes. I've replaced the 15 amp fuse twice and was not able to duplicate the short circuit.
The problem here is, that I cannot drive MsTioga at all without turn signals. It is just too dangerous.
I do not know what to do at this point. An interesting problem, yes?
8PM - Found the Ford dealer
ShoutBox poster Figaredo published the GPS coordinates for the Ford dealer. We followed those directions and located the Ford dealership. We were extremely lucky to find a place for MsTioga to park which is just around the corner from Ford.
I spoke with a couple of Ford guys who were leaving work and they told me to ask for Victor who I believe is the service manager. Victor and I walked over to MsTioga, and he looked inside the engine compartment.
Afterwards, Victor asked me to come to their shop tomorrow morning at around 9:30am.
Follow-up to short circuit
When I was inspecting the wiring and searching for what might cause a short circuit, I found a wire that was loose. I could not locate where that wire was supposed to go! So, I covered the wire connector end with electrical tape. I have not had a short circuit since that time.
Location: Near Ford dealer - City of León
Elevation: 1,817 meters