Each consulate that forces me to guess the dates Wipeout will enter and exit a country ratchets up my stress level. I have to put something on paper but if I get it wrong her certificates and visas will be invalid. Not one official will tell me whether border guards will let her in if the dates are wrong.
It is the elaborate, embossed gold foil on Nicaragua’s canine visa that solves the problem. With a little nudge from the steam of an iron in Gary’s apartment, we can peel it from the paper. The same technique dislodges stamps and stickers on the other visas. We are left with naked forms and handwritten dates that I know won’t be correct when we arrive at each border.
Gary carefully covers the dates with white photo-mounting tape and puts the now non-committal documents face down on his professional scanner. I watch, fingers affixed with steam-removed stamps and foils, while perfect, dateless reproductions emerge from the machine. One by one I re-glue the official seals of approval. When we arrive at each border I’ll fill in the actual date and Wipeout will be the most punctual passenger in the history of road trips.
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 June 13th. Pre order through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.