I have been written out of one situation comedy episode and into another.
Three months ago I took my first walk on our local exercise path. In anger and in the dark. That walk resulted in my decision to cut back on my Mexpatriate publication schedule. The background on that is not very interesting.
The memory of that trek into mild madness came back to me this morning. My excuse for cutting back on writing was to free up time for exercise and studying Spanish. I have done both -- even though I have been far more conscientious and constant about one than the other.
I was walking at 5 AM because my brother Darrel and I were leaving early on our drive to Oregon. That is the cover story. He flew down to extract me from the delinquencies of my mind that have entertained me for the past few months.
And so we are off. We never travel with a plan. The only consistent rule we have is that we do not stop except for necessities -- gas, food, urination. And, then, only briefly. For us, a road trip is a means to go from Point A (where we are) to Point B (even though we may have only a vague idea where that is). It is a gene we inherited from our Dear Old Pa. My mother has stories.
Every road trip has its tales. And this one is no exception. But I will warn you, those of you with sensitive sensibilities should just skip the next seven paragraphs.
The downside of Cotton brief stops is that all business is not entirely completed before we start rolling down the road. The toll road from Tepic to Mazatlan is relatively new. As a result, Pemex has not opened as many gas stations as it has on some of the older roads in Mexico. That means limited access to bathrooms.
Combine long distances with a 66 year-old bladder, and there are bound to be moments of discomfort. Well, there were.
I drove the first leg from Bara de Navidad to Tepic -- with my brother repeatedly imploring: “Put me in, coach.” I did not take it as social commentary on my rather brisk method of putting Barra far behind us.
I eventually did put him in the game. At Tepic.
That turned me from being the controlling brother to be being the passenger brother. Or, rather, the brother who had to rest his swollen left foot -- caused by sitting for too long. Somewhere in northern Nayarit, nature put in an emergency call to my bladder.
Stopping beside the road was out of the question. The toll road was filled with trucks driving on the shoulders. But, being an ingenious guy, I put an empty Coke Light bottle to good use. Over the years, I have developed a leak-proof strategy for relief while driving.
But all calls are not equal. In the middle of my impromptu performance, the in-dash telephone rang. Fortunately, I was able to put one call on hold while I answered the other. It was my good friend Lou, who had called me accidentally. Before Kim asks: No, I did not tell him he had piss-poor timing.
And that is how road trips go. Some people make periodic stops to see the sights. Darrel and I simply like entertaining ourselves as circumstances allow. While we are on the roll. He is a noble and witty sparring partner.
At one of the toll booths, Darrel chuckled that between airfare, gasoline, tolls, hotel rooms, and meals, I could easily have bought all of the items we are going to drag back to Barra de Navidad from my brother’s garage later in the month. Several times over.
He, of course, is correct. But irrelevant.
We are making the trip because we enjoy each other’s company. After all, if I had stayed at home in Barra de Navidad, I wouldn’t have anything interesting to share with you. Well, I would have a lot of interesting things happening, but I couldn’t share them with you.
At Tepic, we discussed the possibility of spending the night in Mazatlán. But we had plenty of sunlight left when we drove past the city where my father had talked of retiring.
So, on we drove to Culiacán -- arriving in the dark, with reservations at the City Express Hotel. And, yes, I know the city’s history.
Where will we stay tomorrow night? If you don’t know the answer to that, you might want to reread the fifth paragraph.
We will see you there. Wherever it is.
Maybe north of the border. Maybe not.