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Journal Entry:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:55:13

Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 12 Costa Rica

Wednesday, January 19 to Tuesday, March 1, 2011

*Miles in Costa Rica: 143 (230 km) Miles to date: 7,954 (12,801 km)*

After a considerable wait for the part to repair the power steering leak, which made it to Miami quickly but was delayed getting to Costa Rica, the Rolls went to my regular Costa Rican mechanic. I went over the shop manual with him, and detailed instructions Ralph Curzon was kind enough to send on the installation of the leaking upper seal, plus a few other items that needed work. In the afternoon I checked back, and the mechanic showed me where the majority of the power steering fluid was leaking from - the lower seal. He also pointed out that the muffler was hanging down and had been battered by the infamous Mexican and Guatemalan speed bumps, and where the frame had been eaten away under the battery container. I said to fix it all.

I called Tony at Hyphen Repairs in Toronto about the other seal, and fortunately he had one, so I agreed to the $130 UPS shipping charge for fast delivery (double the part cost), as the shipping agent and customs brokers are pressuring me to get the car to the loading area for customs and packing. The shipping date has been advanced two days to February 12 and they need a week before then. The part was sent by a division of Hyphen in the US and arrived in Costa Rica in two days.

The car was promised for Wednesday, Feb 2, by which time the lubricating system had been gone over, the front end greased and adjusted, a new piece welded into the frame and a new muffler & tail pipe installed, but a steering part was found to be defective, so the mechanic was having one made locally. On Thursday I haunted the shop, going several times to check progress. One major worry was a rubber coupling in the steering column that I was told would likely be damaged due to immersion in power steering fluid, and for which spares were not available, but to my great relief it was OK. The locally manufactured part arrived and the reassembly started, but at closing time the car was still a long way from ready.

On Friday I drove to San Jose with Vic, who had driven from Victoria with me. Again we were frequently at the repair shop until finally at 5 PM it was ready, except for the right hand turn signal that I'll get repaired in Ecuador. Vic drove my car home, and I drove the Rolls.

An inspection of the garage floor on Saturday morning revealed a small oil leak under the engine and a small gas leak from the gas tank drain plug, but absolutely no power steering fluid. On Monday morning I left the car with our neighbourhood body shop, where Jesus the owner did a great job of fixing up the back end that I'd bashed in when I backed into the post in San Ignacio, Mexico. The bodywork and paint cost all of $60, a job that would have been well over $1,000 in Canada. He'll repaint the car when we return from the trip.

I drove the car to a warehouse at the Port of Caldera on the Pacific Coast on Wednesday Feb 9. After some very tense times with the customs brokers and shippers as I pressed to get everything done before the deadline, it was loaded and sailed for Guayaquil on February 13. It was one day late leaving, but they say it will arrive in Guayaquil on schedule. If it does, it will be the first time in the 5 times I've shipped it that it did!

The next weeks were filled with an annual meeting at our condo development in Playas del Coco, a tour of important properties with a client and Gayle Hickok, who will do our marketing, and trying to find time to spend with friends who are visiting. Hopefully all business problems and projects will be dealt with before our scheduled departure by plane for Guayaquil on March 2, and that visas and other trip related problems will be successfully organized.