Don’t be a licker (Drive Day 20 minus 14 years)

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Campgrounds are getting lonelier by the day. In the cool hills above Guadalajara, Mexico’s third-largest city, we have one all to ourselves. Even the pool is empty; weeds peek through the cement cracks. But there’s a convenient bus route from here into the city and twenty minutes later we’re inside the Governor’s Palace.

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ose Clemente Orozco’s Father Hidalgo: photo by Gary Geboy

The father of Mexican independence thunders down from the walls. A tour guide explains Hidalgo was the priest who inspired the Mexican people to rise up against their Spanish conquerors. “Never be a licker,” he tells us. The boot part is understood.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Choosing Detours (Drive Day 19 minus 14 years)

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Jala, Mexico: photo by Gary Geboy 

I keep expecting a director to yell “roll camera.” This town is movie-set charming but it’s not on the map, in any guidebooks or mentioned in my mother’s journal. For the first time since beginning this road trip we have abandoned the highway and randomly followed an old man riding a donkey down a dirt road. Just to see where he’s going. Just because we have the time. Just because.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

The Old Man and The Sea (Drive Day 18 minus 14 years)

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San Blas’ Sostenos Marquez Uribe: photo by Gary Geboy

I can’t remember the last time I struck up a conversation with a stranger on a park bench. I’m a writer. He’s a fisherman. Naturally I ask if he’s read Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. He seems interested but uncertain, so I launch into a synopsis of the plot. He’s nodding and smiling in all the right places. I think my Spanish must be improving. Until he points to Gary, who is wandering around taking photographs, and asks what happened after my husband caught the big shark.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

 

My old street corner – and I know how that sounds (Drive Day 17 minus 14 years)

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Like every Mexican town, San Blas has park benches in a proper square called a zocalo. But the cool kids hang out on this street corner. It’s where I wasted plenty of time after grad school. There’s a term for otherwise smart, college-educated American girls who stop shaving, learn to surf and drift into Mexican boyfriends: Sandalistas.

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San Blas, Mexico: photo by Gary Geboy

Luckily my only permanent souvenir from my Sandalista days was Wipeout: the puppy I later smuggled back to the United States.

 

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

 

The perfect singer for a Mexican road trip? Linda. The perfect writer? Lawrence.

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Normally I’d be super jealous of a writer who gets to ride-along with Linda Ronstadt, on a Mexican road trip. But I went to J-school with Lawrence Downes and I know what an amazing writer he is. Plus, he can hold his mezcal. So in the spirit of sharing all great things literary and Latin — I hope you enjoy this piece from the New York Times.

A Tall Fishing Village Tale (Drive Day 16 minus 14 years)

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Gary says he got more peace and quiet when I was sick. Apparently I’m chattering so much about the approaching fishing village of San Blas that I’m repeating stories about it. Like how I was scared Santa wouldn’t find the picturesque turnoff my parents took to spend Christmas. And how mom’s journal describes the beach we camped on as “like Hawaii.”

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San Blas, Mexico: photo by David Bruce

Clearly she’s never been to Hawaii and my childhood memories are suspect. The turnoff is still jungle-splendid but San Blas hasn’t quite recovered from a massive hurricane in 2002. The beach is more drab than dreamy. And the mosquitoes are so intense Wipeout hides her nose with her paws.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa

I’ll take some valium with my Mazatlán please (Drive day 15 minus 14 years)

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I vomited through Mazatlán the first time, according to my mother’s journal. And it looks like history is repeating itself. I don’t know how Gary manages to pantomime a woman now fainting as well as puking, but he finds me a clinic. The doctor thinks it’s heat stroke and severe dehydration. Six hours of intravenous electrolytes, Cipro and Valium later I am recovered enough to take a tentative dip in the ocean.

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Which is when this happens. Jellyfish tentacles wrapped around your thigh are never fun, but I’m beginning to wonder if I can handle this road trip. What would people think if we turn back barely a week after crossing the border?

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my teresabrucebooks.com website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.