Sunday, January 5, 2020


Our Smashed Golf Cart Frame!
Another lesson learned while living in Mexico… with a happy ending.
It all started on Dia de Los Muertos, November 2, around midnight when an out-of-town visitor, clearly having imbibed too many adult beverages, tried to find his way out of Sayulita but got lost in our neighborhood. As he backed up on our narrow, dead-end street, he slammed his car into our golf cart where it has always been parked outside our garden wall, leaving red and blue plastic debris scattered on the cobblestone as evidence that both vehicles had suffered significant damage.
It was time to create an off-street parking place for our carrito, our new-to-us 2012 golf cart. In small-town Mexico, most vehicles are parked along the streets parallel to the curb. Land here is not typically wasted on garages and carports, so our casita was built ten years ago without off-street parking. We planned to change that!
            We had an area at the end of our yard that was filled up by a struggling banana tree and three leaning palm trees. I was ready to knock a hole in the garden wall, cut down those four trees, and pull our golf cart off the street into safety. 
            That was the beginning of a month-long, messy project to create not only off-street parking but a carport to keep our golf cart clean and dry. As involved as this little project was, I can't imagine taking on the chore of building a home here in Mexico.
Down Came the Last of Four Trees
Marking the Line for the New Gate Width

Jackhammering a BIG Hole in the Garden Wall

Cleaning Up the Mess--That's a BIG Hole!

Lupe Installed Power for the Gate Motor

The Mason Repaired the Wall and Built a Level Curb

The Golf Cart Safely Inside the Yard

A Tempory Fence Kept Bella Safe

          Now it was time to find a gate manufacturer, but not just any gate manufacturer. I insisted on an automatic sliding gate with an electric motor and remote controls. After all, we plan to live in our casita for the rest of our lives. I thought we might as well plan ahead so we have an easy to use, automatic gate when we’re old and feeble. Jon felt this was an unnecessary luxury, but I was looking ahead to the days when his Parkinson’s Disease may make his life more difficult.
          An internet search and an investigational trip to the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta led us to the Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal, a company that specializes in automatic sliding gates powered by Merik products. Augustin, an owner and manager, made a trip to our home to scope out the project and give an estimate. He speaks English well, is mellow, patient, and knowledgable about gates, doors, and metal fabrication. We hired him, paid him a deposit, and they started the work the next week.
The Welder Installed the First Gate Post

The Painted Sliding Gate Was Installed

A High-Quality Motor Moves the Gate Along a Track

The Gate Rolls on Wheels, Quietly Opening and Closing

            The project evolved from installing an automatic gate to having the team build a carport with a cement board Mexican-style roof. They also fabricated and installed a gutter to Jon’s specifications.
Metal Posts, Beams, and Rafters were Installed
Cement Board Roofing Was Installed
The Carport (Golf Cart-Port) Taking Shape

          On New Year's Day, 2020, the week following the completion of the carport, we had a tropical storm like none we’ve seen here in years. Our golf cart stayed dry and protected from falling palm fronds under the new golf cart-port. Jon and I were relieved the project was completed on a timely basis and our carrito is tucked into it’s safe, dry, off-street parking place.
Dry Golf Cart, New Year's Day 2020 Rainstorm

          If you decide to have Augustin and his team from Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal help you with your gate project, tell him Terry and Jonathan sent you. We think you’ll be happy with the work and the price.
Enjoying the Rainstorm from our Outdoor Terrace

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Terry L Turrell, Author