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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Once upon a drive through Mexico: Roadtrip trials and tribulations

Once upon a drive in Mexico ()
Once upon a drive in Mexico ()

With plans to drive to Mexico for Spring Break, I was looking for an adventure; but there is a fine line between adventure and nightmare. “You’re not going,” quipped my roommate Morgan Mueller. “It will never happen.” She ended up sitting next to me in the car.

“That’s crazy,” my dear mother said. “It’s not possible to drive to Mexico. You won’t make it.” A little over 30 cramped hours later, I was at a hotel in Monterrey, Mexico, proving her wrong.

Driving to Mexico was not that difficult. Driving in and around Mexico was an experience to say the least.

It did not take us long (us refers to Kyle Brebner, Morgan, Aaron Saunders, and myself) to learn the two cardinal rules of driving in Mexico: Do not hit anyone and do not get hit by anyone.

At one intersection, five cars pulled up next to each other, taking up both lanes. When the light changed, the cars spread out covering every possible direction.

Once we understood the rules of the road, we had to deal with the car itself.

While driving down a semi-paved road, we saw a hand-painted sign for the beach pointing down a dirt road. We decided to investigate, hoping to find that elusive, picturesque beach you never see in person but always see on postcards.

On the way, the car- a lowered Volkswagen Golf- stalled in the middle of a very deep puddle.

Instead of basking in the sun on a secluded beach paradise, we were stranded on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately for us, nice people still exist. A few local security guards stopped and offered us help and eventually a tow.

They towed us to Poncho’s house. Poncho is a full-time security guard, amateur carpenter, and in his spare time, he collects ancient Aztec artifacts.

This wonderful man let us stay at his house with his wife, mother, and three beautiful children for the better part of two days until we could get the car fixed.

After repairing the car, our confidence soared and we hit the road anew. Our next destination was another beach town, this one closer to the border.

While driving down the highway, we heard a bumping noise from the rear, passenger-side tire. Our spirits were too high to let it really bother us.

Eventually the noise stopped and we attributed it to a stick or something caught under the car. We reasoned the noise had stopped because the foreign object had fallen out.

About two minutes later, Morgan noticed a bright light coming from the back of the car. I rolled down the window and took a peak.

“Dude, you got to pull over right now,” I yelled at Kyle. “Your car is on fire.”

Flames grew bigger and bigger from the inside of the tire. This would be the same tire located under the gas tank.

As we pulled over, all four of us jumped out of the car. I poured a jug of water over the fire to extinguish it. Unfortunately, the smoke rose into the jug, tainting the remainder of our water.

We spent the night in the car, as no one would stop to help us and we were nowhere near any signs of civilization.

In the morning, Kyle and Aaron began the long walk toward the last gas station we passed. Morgan and I stayed with the car.

While sitting in the just rising sun, waiting for our friends to return, a pickup truck pulled in next to us.

A man, Francisco, and his entire family – a wife and four daughters – approached us and asked us if we needed help.

While he only spoke Spanish, and neither Morgan nor I knew more than four words, we were able to tell him about the fire, and our friends walking for help.

This man was kind enough to pick up Kyle and Aaron, drive them to the nearest town, buy the necessary parts, and fix our car.

On a highway where no one stopped, this man was willing to do so much more than that.

At this point, we decided to head back to the border before anything else could go wrong.

Just as we made it to the border town of Montomoros, the brakes in the car wore out.

Some slick driving by Kyle brought us to a stop at a convenient store, conveniently located next to a mechanic. The gentlemen there were able to fix the car and send us on our way.

Seven days, seven different mechanics, and close to 4,000 miles later, we returned to Greensboro.

I set out looking for an adventure. I certainly found one. And while there may be a fine line between an adventure and a nightmare, our trip never crossed over it, thanks in large part to the kindness of strangers.

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