North America calls them speed bumps, but Mexican topes are more like organ-bruising fractures in up-thrust asphalt. They greet drivers entering every town along every road that doesn’t charge a toll. Even slowing to first gear and gingerly summiting these torturous peaks isn’t gentle enough for a vintage camper; the Avion harrumphs and clatters with indignation. The jagged crack in our slowly disintegrating plastic water tank portends recycled water drums in our future. Eight hours and we barely make Cuernevaca by nightfall. We’re trying to get to Oaxaca before the campground there fills with tourists for its famous yearly festival. But this sticking-to-a- schedule thing deflates the joy of wandering.
I know Gary is feeling it too. He’s starting to peel the bugs and butterflies from the truck’s grille and sketch them in his journal. Tonight’s victim? An orange-barreled Sulphur butterfly, preserved for eternity in colored pencil. Oh and it’s 73 degrees and 6,798 feet in elevation.
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.