The peak of paranoia: buying a gun (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 5 days)

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I know better. At seven years old, I watched my father strapped to a chair in a Panamanian border cell with his own belt – by guards who didn’t suspect this nomadic North American family had a gun hidden in our home-on-wheels. Crossing into Bolivia in that same camper, my dad almost shot himself in the ass, hiding the gun from aduanas by sitting on the evidence.

When I tell him I want to hide a gun in the Avion he demands to talk to Gary. I pass him the phone but it won’t do any good. I know Gary thinks it’s a dumb idea too, but he isn’t the one with two portable file cabinets full of scary articles about the dangers along this route.

0626gun
Milwaukee, WI: photo by Gary Geboy

As a DC-resident I can’t legally buy a gun in my name. So it is Joe who finally buys me a Charter Arms Undercover .38 and creates a hidden compartment under the camper floorboards to hide it. He thinks the splice in the carpet looks pretty natural, all things considered. If he also thinks his new daughter-in-law is a lunatic he is kind enough not to say it aloud.

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 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.

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