Hasta la vista, DC! (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 19 days

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Washington DC: photo by Teresa Bruce

I thought it’d be a relief to put Washington DC behind us. But this is our city and the capitol dome is the sight we rejoiced to see still standing after the 9/11 attacks. I’m already homesick, even though it is no longer my home. For the next two days, less if we can stay awake, we officially live in a truck. All four of us are on our way to Gary’s parents in Wind Lake, Wisconsin where we will put the finishing touches on the camper that will fit inside the bed of the truck. Wipeout has a tricked-out ride: Gary replaced the skimpy back row of seats with a built-in, lockable storage cabinet topped with a padded cushion all the way across. Rosie howls from inside a cat carrier at my feet until I let her out to cuddle up to Wipeout. It’s a sorry consolation prize: she doesn’t get to come along for the rest of the road trip. She doesn’t know it but she’s not going any farther than Wisconsin.

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 tomorrow, June 13th! Pre order 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.

My Podcast debut, and how to follow podcasts for the uninitiated (it’s called pod catching, fyi)

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Out of the blue, the guys at Adventure Sports Podcast found out about The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan-American Highway and interviewed me. Apparently driving a sometimes-impassible road for a year is officially “adventurous!” The podcast airs on Monday, June 12th – which is the day before the book hits stores. You can go directly to the podcast’s site and listen there. Each post has something called an embedded listening applet.

The thing with podcasts is you can download and listen to them whenever you want. Like, on a road trip, for example. So most people subscribe. I’m new to podcasts too, so I read how Curt’s partner describes how to subscribe on his website, which is a great one to check out anyway (the article’s on the left of the page that opens when you click this).

I tried out the iPhone way first and here’s how it worked:

  1. Look for this symbol on your phone.Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 4.39.41 PM
  2. Look for the magnifying glass search symbol and type in Adventure Sports Podcast.
  3. A bunch of single episodes pop up (on Monday you’ll find mine) and you can download just that one and listen to it through your phone. OR
  4. Swipe down to the bottom, past all the episodes, until you see the subscribe button. That way, any time you go to your phone’s podcast icon you’ll see what’s new and can play or download episodes.

So, what if you don’t want to do this podcast search on your phone? My fabulous interviewer, Curt Linville, describes the process of subscribing and listening. “Search for Adventure Sports Podcast on Stitcher or iTunes, and hit subscribe.” So, on my laptop, I found the i-Tunes symbol:Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 4.39.54 PM

I had to open my “menu” and click on Podcasts so it didn’t just show me music:

menu

Then in the search bar I typed Adventure Sports Podcast and when it came up, hit the big subscribe button.

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Okay – now for the Sticher thing. Apparently, it’s something called a pod catcher – an app that searches the universe for cool podcasts you’d never otherwise know about and offers them to people who use their apps.  Here’s a link explaining how it all works and ranks the best ones. Curt, my interviewer, recommends #19: a pod catcher cleverly titled Dogcatcher that works great for Android users.

Now you officially know everything I do about podcasting and podcatching. Try it out for my debut on Monday the 12th. Here’s the website again – tweet, post and snapchat about it to your heart’s content.

Foils and forgeries (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 22 days)

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Each consulate that forces me to guess the dates Wipeout will enter and exit a country ratchets up my stress level. I have to put something on paper but if I get it wrong her certificates and visas will be invalid. Not one official will tell me whether border guards will let her in if the dates are wrong.

It is the elaborate, embossed gold foil on Nicaragua’s canine visa that solves the problem. With a little nudge from the steam of an iron in Gary’s apartment, we can peel it from the paper. The same technique dislodges stamps and stickers on the other visas. We are left with naked forms and handwritten dates that I know won’t be correct when we arrive at each border.

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Washington DC: photo by Gary Geboy

Gary carefully covers the dates with white photo-mounting tape and puts the now non-committal documents face down on his professional scanner. I watch, fingers affixed with steam-removed stamps and foils, while perfect, dateless reproductions emerge from the machine. One by one I re-glue the official seals of approval. When we arrive at each border I’ll fill in the actual date and Wipeout will be the most punctual passenger in the history of road trips.

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 June 13th. Pre order 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.

Fake News (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 24 days)

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My parents say having two little girls along on the 1973 road trip down the Pan-American was like having two extra passports. I am not nearly as cute anymore and my research at the Library of Congress is making me more nervous by the day. None of our relatives could bail us out of a Latin American jail if we get arrested and I am no longer employed by any company willing to pay a ransom if we are held hostage. But I was once a reporter. And I’ve played one in a mock terrorism training exercise so realistic I kept the press pass. Which Gary cheerfully re-shoots and alters in Photoshop. Lanyards are easy to find in DC and add an official provenance, don’t you think?

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Washington DC: photo by the forgerer himself

Just in case VNN seems too “virtual” south of the border, Gary makes me a CBS News business card for good measure. Never let the truth get in the way of a backup plan.

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 in seven days! Pre order 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.

 

 

Canine visas (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 26 days)

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I smuggled puppy Wipeout into California across the Tijuana border: an undocumented alien canine. Eighty pounds later she’s a little too obvious and getting her back into Mexico requires something called a canine visa. It’s more expensive and complicated than it sounds: almost as many vaccines as I’m required to get, plus an official certificate of health signed by our vet. Who kindly doesn’t mention her cancerous lumps, leaky bladder, worsening arthritis and intense separation anxiety.

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Washington DC: photo by Gary Geboy

It’s the same maddening, bureaucratic drill at the consulate for every country further south along our projected route: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil. I’ll never get them all signed off in time. This is insane. And now Guatemala wants to know our exact dates of entry and exit. It’s a road trip, comprende? I have no earthly idea…

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 June 13th. Pre order 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.

 

A shot-in-the-arm (Drive Day 1 minus 14 years, 29 days)

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The traveler’s medical clinic on K street in Washington DC is a building I never hope to see again. A grown woman shouldn’t have to hold her husband’s hand to get her shots, but driving the Pan-American Highway in a camper sounds more bad-ass than I really am.

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photo by Gary Geboy

In my defense, I had epileptic seizures as a child triggered by the fear of vaccines. My mom found a pediatrician who faked my immunization records just to avoid the drama. Gary cuts me no such slack. This is step one of a two-person prophylactic medical binge – EKGs, stress tests and anything else still covered before my company insurance runs out. Including Lasik surgery for Gary. Did I mention he makes his living as a cinematographer? One microscopically wrong zap and his career would be over. I’m going to stop whining about shots now.

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 June 13th. Pre order 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.

Tango tease (Day 1 minus 14 years, 30 days)

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My knees are clicking. My back feels rod stiffened. Gary thinks his hips have swiveled inward and stuck. And it’s just sixty minutes into our first couples tango lesson. It will probably be our last, given that we’re driving away from DC in eleven days. But my co-workers figure a private milonga is the one thing I haven’t pre-planned so they pitched in on this coordination-testing farewell gesture. Each step breaks my heart a little. To leave such good friends with no plan B if we don’t reach Argentina.

 

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Photo by Elizabeth Muzio

 

My parents only made it down the Pan-American Highway as far as Bolivia. I will force that unlovely ending out of my mind and picture this couple instead.

 

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 June 13th. Pre order 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.