Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rio Grande nearly claims another mojado

Today felt like a full-on Peace Corps day. I went up the valley to do some enquestas (surveys) and check out the water systems of some of the smaller pueblos. We got about halfway up the valley when we came across the first Rio Grande Crossing. It’s raining up in the sierra now so the water was too high to cross in the Datsun station wagon we were riding in. Fortunately, a front-end loader was crossing the river and going up the way a bit so the driver, a Spaniard, a representative from the municipality and I hopped into the bucket and they took us up the rest of the way.

At the second river crossing we came across a truck that was stuck in the middle of the river. Three days ago, the truck was loaded down with a large Ingersoll Rand air compressor and a bunch of bed frames and mattresses headed for a mine upstream. Today, mattresses and frames littered the roadside and the truck sat in the river waiting for the Caterpillar (the Pride of Peoria) to pull it out before both the truck and the air compressor were lost.

The operator of the front end loader started moving rocks around and tried to lift the truck out with a chain attached to one of the teeth on the bucket. Of course that didn’t work. We watched for a while to see how this “mission imposible” was going to turn out but had work to do. I saw the truck the next day being hauled off in a flat-bed 18 wheeler. No compressor or beds (presumably the miners are sleeping on the ground and pounding at rocks with hammers and spikes).

After doing our work, we caught a ride back in a buster-ass Nissan Sentra with a borrowed battery and borrowed life to the manual cable car crossing. The representative from the municipality took notes of all the things the cable car needed – a couple of new pulleys, grease for maintenance, a rope.

A floor I added as I stepped into the rusted out bucket.

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