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October 17th, 2010 - La Ventosa Wind Farm

Somehow I woke up without an alarm at 8:40 a.m. I jumped in the shower, got dressed, and went downstairs to see if the departure time was still 9 a.m. Knowing that Chris had just gone to sleep at 7:00 am or so and that some of the team was sleeping as well, just Alex, Andy, and I rode in the van to La Ventosa.  Claudio had spent the night at La Ventosa in hopes of getting more sleep by eliminating the commuting time.

I wasn’t exactly sure what made me wake up early and go along but I was interested in the possibility of a tour of the wind farm. Amazingly we got better than that! The staff arranged for us to climb a wind turbine. They asked if we wanted to climb the shorter one or the taller one. We all said the taller one which is 44 meters high. They gave us white jumpsuits to put on over our clothing to protect us from the grease. We went down a dirt road in a truck to the designated turbine. Alex and I got suited up and put on the protective harnesses and got hooked onto the cable running up the turbine. I naively thought that we were going to walk up actual stairs. I gulped when I looked up and realized instead I would be climbing a ladder reaching up to the sky. “Ok, that’s tall,” I thought. “But no sweat, I can do this,” I gave myself a pep talk. The no sweat part wasn’t literal as already with my two feet planted firmly on the ground, I was sweating quite a bit thanks to the full-body jumpsuit and wishing that I had drank more water. I started up the ladder after the engineer who was leading us, and Alex, who was scampering up like a monkey up a tree. I was toting the camera, and by a third of the way up, was thoroughly spent. I should mention that I can’t do a pull-up to save my life as I have always had a pitiful lack of upper-body strength.  I handed off the camera to Alex to carry at the halfway point and dragged myself up the rest of the way. Once at the top, I was hoping I didn’t stupidly pass out as I was hot and dehydrated.

The day was already gorgeous. I’m talking blue skies painted with fluffy white clouds and lush green all around as it is the rainy season. But from the top of a wind turbine, the 360 degree views were absolutely spectacular. I didn’t want to come down at all. Alex and I snapped some photos and then reluctantly headed down.

We went back to the hotel to get the rest of the guys. By the time we got there it was past 3 p.m., and the guys were waiting in the lobby. Poor Chris was feeling very sick. None of us had eaten yet, so we started to eat at a restaurant by the gas station while Chris started to put in a new clutch cable (Many thanks to Tom Kent for that spare cable! That came in handy sooner than expected!). The second he started fixing the cable, surprise, it started pouring again!

We headed out at near dusk for Tapachula, Chiapas, México, our last stop before crossing the border to Guatemala.  We had 180 miles before us and the rain was not going to let us travel unaccompanied. If we were on our own, we would be much more reticent about driving at night as it is safer to travel by day for a number of reasons. However due to unavoidable factors, at times it becomes a necessity. We drove into the night, sadly missing all the scenery on our last night in Mexico. Chris was sick and the rain pretty much put him over the edge of what he could bear. We arrived in Tapachula at 3 am, and we got to bed around 4:00 a.m. We are crossing the border to Guatemala tomorrow morning if everything goes well.

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There are 4 Comments

  1. Spanky
    October 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Great stories!! Keep em coming!

  2. thehorseman1955
    October 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Well i read this thing all the way through in 1 sitting.what a great thing to be doing in so many ways.will keep track of your exploits and try to help if can

  3. tkent02
    October 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Chris, you are breaking too many clutch cables, there is something wrong. Is the clutch lever worn out so the bearing on the end of the cable can’t turn? You are lubing it right? Is the perch worn out? Is the lever too sloppy in the perch? is there a kink somewhere so you have to pull too hard? Is there enough slack in the cable?
    They should last 20,000, 30,000, or maybe 50,000 miles depending on usage.

  4. Dan
    October 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Yeah, I’ve still got my original on my bike, almost 90k miles on it now.

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