If camping in San Salvador isn’t recommended, neither is driving a 2,500 pound camper through its byzantine streets. Men guard toy stores with machine guns and bougainvillea drapes from coils of barbed wire topping every building. By noon we are utterly on edge and lost, nowhere near the address handwritten in my mother’s faded journal. So I show it to a cab driver, hop into the front seat of his taxi and let Gary follow us to the first road angel from my past.
The address belongs to a retired dentist named Ernesto. He was still practicing when my little sister smashed the teeth out of her mouth falling on our camper steps. We were creatures from a Steinbeck novel and he let us stay on his coastal farm while Jenny recovered. Today I get to thank him for her. And for me. Because finding him provides the counterweight to my unfounded fears.
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.