Close encounters and prophetic paintings (Drive Day 32 minus 14 years)

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Painting by Juan Alcazar

There is a point in Southern Mexico so exotic, so narrow that the onshore winds from opposing oceans collide. It is so dangerous to drive through these winds that the main highway through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is off limits to 16-wheelers during the heat of the day. That’s just the threat of jackknifing, I tell Gary – we’re not pulling a trailer behind us. But our camper feels top-heavy and unstable and the low jungle is blowing sideways. Which is why we don’t see two massive oxen emerge from the brush to cross the highway. Gary makes a split-second decision to swerve and gun it instead of trying to brake and I could swear I hear horns scraping the Avion’s aluminum sides. That’s the moment I realize where I’ve seen them before: the painting we bought back in Oaxaca has come to life.

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 website or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.


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