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Author: Subject: Mi Baja--A cement mixer for Cayo--Chapter 10
Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 1-12-2007 at 10:06 AM
Mi Baja--A cement mixer for Cayo--Chapter 10

Putty Putty
A Cement Mixer for Cayo

Up until late 1968 all of the construction in La Salina and in most of Baja was done by mixing all of the cement and plaster by hand in the roof of some old junked car. The roof was cut off and all material was removed; then it was turned upside down and it formed a perfect, and cheap, large bowl like container. It was great for mixing cement and it could be easily dragged from one construction side to the next. If any real distance was involved it was just tossed it into the back of a pickup for transportation. This worked wonderfully for the first 6 or 7 houses in camp. Then the shakers and movers decided that they should put the bite on everyone and buy a used, gasoline driven, cement mixer for Cayo to insure that the cement was ‘properly’ mixed.

Art McLaren was selected—he was the only one foolish enough to offer—to find, buy, and transport a putty-putty mixer to La Salina. Finding the mixer was no problemo, but getting it back to camp proved to be a large problem, even for Art. He realized that he would be unable to get the necessary paperwork to move such a ‘modern machine’ into Mexico. There were and still are laws to protect the laboring man in Mexico.

Art thought about this problem for quite a while. He came up with a great ploy to get by Mexican Customs at the border. He hooked the mixer up to his old Ford pickup, loaded the truck with shovels, picks and other tools of the trade and headed for the border. This was on a Friday and he timed it so he would hit the border at about noon. He had already decided that his story would be that he had finished work early and that he was just going to Tijuana to get a haircut.

When he got to the border an alert guard noticed that he was pulling a big bright orange cement mixer. The Inmigracion Officer stopped him and asked him what he thought he was doing bringing this fancy modern machine into Mexico. Art (the fox) told him that he was just going to get a haircut in TJ and would return to the U.S. in a few minutes. Art even had cement on his hands, which he waved in the face of the Officer to prove that his story was true. He kept telling his story in English and the guard kept telling him to turn around and leave his mixer in San Ysidro and come back without it if he really wanted to get a haircut. Perhaps the reason the customs guy didn’t believe his story was because Art was almost completely bald.

Anyway, he turned Art around and sent him back to the States. Mac made a U-turn and went back across the border only to find the same guard; who again, in Spanish, ordered him back north across the border. Art argued as hard as he could, in English, for the right to get his haircut. This went on a total of seven (7) trips until the guard laughed and, in English, asked Art how long he was willing to drive around in circles. Art replied, also laughing, “Los total Dia mi Amigo y toda la noche” (all day and all night). The guard waved his arm and declared, “Pase, Pase mi gringo amigo” (go ahead, go ahead, my friend).

Art arrived in La Salina with the first cement mixer, with a motor, in the history of Baja. It only took him 6 ½ hours total time from San Diego.

It was great! Now all of us gringo’s knew that in the future we would get well mixed, strong, cement; and the working guys could lean on their shovels and watch the cement mix itself.

The mixer still sets in Cayo’s yard along with all of his other treasurers. It no longer has a carburetor, but it runs just as well with a can of gas suspended above the motor so that gravity can feed the necessary gasoline.

January 2007--Look around you today and you see pumper trucks and condo's clawing toward the clouds. Yes! Much has changed in Mi Baja.

My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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[*] posted on 1-12-2007 at 10:48 AM

Great fun this one - yes, was enjoying it a lot!
This story will go around, will let my whole family and all friends read it!!
HEY weekend here I come - :bounce:

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