Guatemala

Scenes of crimes imagined (Drive Day 57 minus 14 years)

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I ask Gary to photograph me standing in the exact spot where our camper steps were stolen 33 years ago. Right out of the Antigua church parking lot I recognized the instant I saw it again. The second trip down the Pan-American Highway our steps didn’t even make it this far; some other traveler is probably bargaining for them at the Todos Santos Saturday market right now.

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Maybe that’s why my mind leaps to conclusions when the camper starts shaking as I fall asleep. Memories intermingle with paranoia and I’m convinced a gang of robbers is trying to tip the camper. So convinced that I drop to the floor and yank the loaded gun from its hiding place. Gary is already outside, swatting at the darkness with a broomstick. We are equally ashamed and embarrassed to discover the real culprit the next morning: an earthquake.  Clearly, it is time to move on.

 

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.

Parades and Circuses (Drive Day 56 minus 14 years)

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Antigua, Guatemala: photo by Gary Geboy

 It must be the effect of nine days in one place but now that we’re on the road again it’s like starting the trip all over again. Gary forgets to shift gears. I forget it’s his birthday. We can’t get our bearings; the maps don’t explain why nothing makes sense. Like this parade for no reason that anyone can explain. Or the ringmaster who knocks on our camper door and offers to buy it for the Jordan Brothers circus. We are frazzled travelers boondocking in a Guatemalan gas station. Where does he think we’ll live if I say yes? This silver cage on wheels is our home.

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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.

Road Angels (Drive Day 55 minus 14 years)

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Shawn and Susie will ride with us to Antigua, mostly because they know we are still flailing without Wipeout and need equal parts distraction and direction. Which officially makes them road angels number 10 and 11 I have met along the Pan-American Highway. The first nine came with the first trip, people whose names are recorded in my mother’s journal and never forgotten. I’m not religious, but have no better explanation for total strangers who swoop down, rescuing and comforting desperate travelers. Their invisible wings are made of empathy and their halos just bright enough to illuminate the road ahead. And you never meet them if you stay in one place.

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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.

The agony of relief (Drive Day 54 minus 14 years)

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The thing about a road trip is that you can’t stop driving. Not even when you’re paralyzed with self-doubt. Did I do the right thing? Could she have made it another country or two? I will have to live without those answers and be grateful for the time we traveled together.

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Guatemala: photo by Gary Geboy

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.

Breaking the news back home (Drive Day 53 minus 14 years)

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We are not Wipeout’s only family; and everyone who loves her needs to know she’s gone. Gary composes the email on my laptop and I will walk into town to send it from an internet café.

 

 

 

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Thirty years earlier my father had to write letters by hand. Humiliating, awkward letters asking family members to wire money to the embassy in Guatemala City. We were broke and the jeep needed a complete overhaul. I feel like my heart does too.

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.

120 in human years (Drive Day 52 minus 14 years)

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Even the vet and the gardeners are crying. But she is at peace. At last.

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The end is near (Drive Day 51 minus 14 years)

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Wipeout’s fur is wet and stained with blood from frenzied chewing. And she looks better than Gary today. He says his bones feel like they’re breaking and he can’t catch his breath after five minutes of trying to walk Wipeout. Shawn thinks it’s Dengue – the locals call it break bone fever.  I have to lift both of their heads to make them drink. This time, when the gardeners ask if they should prepare the earth I nod yes and arrange for the vet to make a casita-call tomorrow.

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.