Toward Mexico, late October 2009

October 28, 2009 - #1

Chaos reigns again in our house.

Making lists. Checking them twice. Rechecking the old lists to make sure the new lists have the right items on them. Looking for the new lists since now we can only find the old ones.

Looking for boxes. Making labels. Carefully wrapping bits and pieces to be tucked inside.

David’s desk covered with maps. Figuring out routes.  Calculating distances and times.

It’s off to winter, and you’d think we were the Administrative Assistants of Mr. Santa Claus, who, by some accounts, resides in Santa Claus, Indiana. Having followed a circuitous route from Myra through Bari and Amsterdam.

We are ahead of schedule, indeed. We’ve tried on our boots and Linda’s been wearing gloves since late August. We harvested berries in September, grapes in early October, and celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend.

The turkey soup’s finished, the leaves are mounding in huge piles around our doorways, and we’re off to complete our lists.

The checklists go something like this: rechargeable batteries; post-ems, knitting projects, hummingbird feeder, binoculars, bird books, sudoku, acrostics.

Hiking boots, hats, jeans.

Oh yes, 3 computers and a printer. All data loaded on the computers for research and writing.

And one whole suitcase just for meds. We have 2000 miles in which to figure out how to persuade the Mexican customs agents that we are not going to open a farmacia.

The other list, we have it here somewhere, reminds us to turn down the heat, put the potted plants in the sunny windows, pack the fig tree in compost, and harvest the last few carrots from the garden.

November 1 we start driving south.

Of course, we’ll do that by first going north to visit friends and family in the Binghamton, NY, area. And Syracuse. If it’s going to be cold and snowy in November, it’ll be there in upstate NY that we’ll feel it. We have friends who are in Fairbanks, Alaska, this year, and they report that snow arrived very late: 24 October. We hope it’ll stay away from the mainland for another month as we wend our way toward the Texican border.

We’re fleeing winter. To warm weather and bird watching and looking at sites we’re trying to write about as we follow up the Archive Inquisition records’ data. This time I (Linda) have requested a specific stop or two along the way. Not only to see friends and daughter Abby in Bloomington, but also Spring Mill State Park, and Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky (check the web site []; it’s a great place). I’ve included San Antonio, so we can “experience” the famous “River Walk” there. The last time we were in San Antonio we went directly to the Alamo to polish up an article on the site for our Pilgrimage Encyclopedia.  From there we went to a new pilgrimage site in the Texan hills at Christ of the Hills Monastery. Another entry for the Encyclopedia. Thus, we never got to do the San Antonio River Walk. Something we’d like to remedy.  And then there’s Austin. Good stuff in the stacks there, wonderful Latin American collection!

We usually drive to Mexico. Over the last 30 years we’ve driven, with and without children in the back seat, from Nebraska, New York, and Rhode Island. We know some portions of the routes nearly by memory, but it is always exciting. One year, with a blizzard at our heels, we drove along the US east coast “slave alley”, where the poverty is still palpable. Another year we drove through a rich US agricultural area where the living conditions of Mexican migrant laborers are obviously similar to the afore-mentioned slave regions.  We always find something new and different and learn so much about our country that isn’t in the books. Even ours.

David loves reading maps and plotting interesting and different routes. This will mean that somewhere and some time we’ll meander on an unpaved road. He’ll assert that (a) it’s the most direct route; (b) that it’s shown on the map as a good road; and (c) that it’s really much prettier than the interstate. Well, he’ll be right about (c) anyway.  About that time we’ll get hungry and realize (d) that there are no restaurants on that road.

I’m offering wagers now on just when David will turn us onto the “main” unpaved road for our journey. Anyone? He swears he can get us from here to the Río Grande on fewer than 100 miles of asphalt. Winner receives a personalized photo of the road (probably complete with rain drops, if our luck runs true to form). We can always get the suspension on the van rebuilt: we’ve done that once before, in Villahermosa.

Okay, on to the important data. Here are some things we want you to know about our being on the road and in Mexico again.

(1)   Our itinerary is still vague. We’re in Kingston RI now. We leave November 1 and drive north a bit, then west, then south.  We expect to cross into Mexico before Thanksgiving (thus our early Thanksgiving last weekend). Guajalotes (Mexican for turkey) don’t come with mushroom stuffing, squash pudding, and pumpkin pie.

(2)  We will be back in our Mexico City apartment approximately 25 January – 15 March.  After which we’ll start back north (to get home in time to plant carrots, radishes, and lettuce, and to pay our taxes).

Gearing up for good travel, we are

Linda & David