This continues the letter dated 20 August 1965, which began:
Wednesday 25th August
San Luis Obispo.
Unfortunately we are not heading North today as planned, as fate has struck once again and this time a really cruel blow. Yesterday morning the VW started to make some horrible noises, and we had no option other than to take it into the dealers in this town, and they gave us the awful news – a burnt piston.
This is a couple of days work, and a bill anything up to $200, depending on the amount of damage. It’s a great shame and it now means that we shall have to work a week or two to make up the money lost.
We shall either do this in San Francisco or Los Angeles – we haven’t really decided yet, but most likely in SF as we have the address of two Bristol girls who are living there. Colin knows these girls as he used to give them a lift up to London.
Life is very difficult at the moment, when our home has been taken away from us. Last night they pushed it outside onto the forecourt and we slept there, and the mechanics woke us up at 7:30 this morning when they arrived. We cooked some oatmeal, did the washing up, and they took it back in again!!
Actually this is a fabulous place to be stranded. (San Luis Obispo) It’s a smallish town but very beautiful. It’s part ‘very modern’ and part ‘very Mexican’ which gives it an old world charm alongside the modern.
There are palm trees and the weather is perfect. It’s the best weather we have experienced since we have been here. Yesterday it was 83 degrees but it didn’t feel half as hot as that, and the nights are very chilly.
We spent yesterday wandering about the town (25,000 population) and spent the afternoon in the municipal swimming pool. We are certainly glad that we cancelled our tickets as this would really have messed up our plans. As it is, we can stay on as long as we like, to make up the extra money we need.
Actually a couple of days enforced stop is a good thing as it is a bit of a rest for us, as we have been travelling pretty continuously since we left New York and have done 4,516 miles, which is one good reason why the engine has packed up – a lot of that over mountains. So we all could do with a rest.
Later. Same day.
We have just been across to the garage and the news isn’t as bad as we at first thought. We have to have a new cylinder and piston, and the valves ground out. The other three cylinders are OK, as nothing had broken off and dropped down into the crank case. If this had happened then they would have had to split the whole engine and this is where the bill mounts up. However luckily we have been spared that, and the bill should now be less than $100.
We have just been into the employment offices and got all ‘genned’ up on fruit picking, and it sounds quite promising. There seems to be a large variety of things you can pick ranging from strawberries and beans to peaches. It seems as though you can earn about $15 a day, so a few days at that should pay off the bill.
It will be very convenient as we can camp in the field where we are working. There is a lot of picking done near San Francisco at a place called Salmas so we shall probably go there.
To be continued…
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