Trees aren’t supposed to bend at the waist. But the fact that they do lies behind the first injury of our journey. We take a break from the road to work on some repairs and I hand Gary a hammer to pound a nail. The wind decides to weaponize it and Gary’s hand quickly swells to the size of a bear’s claw. He can’t drive so I have to maneuver the rig back into the same 60 mph+ winds to backtrack to the nearest town. I haven’t driven in six months and I can tell my nervous, clunky shifting is as painful to Gary as his hand. In Fitz Roy we find a hospital to get some Xrays. The staff apologizes over and over for making us wait two hours. The wind caused a five-car pileup on the highway and a surge in the ER. Gary ends up with a diagnosis of a severe sprain, an injection of pain killers and anti-inflammatories and a sling he’s supposed to wear for the next two weeks. The staff has no idea why we’re asking if they accept credit cards: medical care is free in Argentina, even for random Americans blown by with the wind.
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. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.