“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Many of us that remember that amazing graduation speech with Ms Ramon, associate Dylan Thomas even moreso with this line, and as I made my way past the Angel for the last time, I found myself aware of this ballad line trying to get a headstart on traffic as I headed out. it is so funny, even with the easiest directions, it is difficult to find the easiest path when you are stressed, tired concerned, etc.. While I was running literally on two and a half hours of sleep and more adrenaline than could be put into a 50 gallon drum, I was excited as well . Once I hit the open highway, I felt the nervousness of the animals begin to fade from my grasp.
I felt with the three dogs and three cats, I SHOULD be falling apart, roof loaded and packed t the hilt, and yet, all was calm and leading the way for me out. In trying to keep track of the tolls this first day, and my goal of insuring I was going to make Texas and then some the first day, leaving at 6:00 AM this morning in actuality, I am sure I forgot some along the way however, this is what I ad as a receipt list of tolls while traveling the quotas in Mexico to the border:
All incurring on August 2nd, 2017: ( I had taken 4000 pesos in cash with me to begin this trip, knowing between gas and tolls, that should get me there easily in one day).
6:55 AM – 77:00 pesos
8:51 AM – 44.00 pesos
11:15 AM – 62.00 pesos
1:33 PM – 114.00 pesos
8:51 PM – 28. 00 pesos
(somewhere between those above, one for 58.00 pesos)
–total equalling 383 pesos, but it seems to me there were more – so as I discover them, I will update above. It is so funny the time you get to think while on the road. I thought of everything from how HC guided me softly through the exit process to be here right now, to the constant followup if colleagues like Stephanie Brownie where we ate a cool breakfast the day before and just reflected, Jennifer Long, Gina Bermejo, Matt Messick, Mr Pell, JUST TO NAME A FEW who always told me I had a place here when I wanted – to my students and colleagues who did not know I was exiting, to my friends, colleagues, and former students who would be shocked to see me one day in Delaware, trying to imagine what life would be like and not on a Mexican street.
I paced myself to stop around every 6 hours and found myself letting the dogs out on leash at parking lots, to let them take in water, food, and giving the time to the cats for food, the litter box, water all within their crates. The heat was a constant reminder to me, always hovering around 96 and above Fahrenheit, reminding me the various elements that could stall this trip.
I also remember reflecting most of the day, how lucky I was to have a vehicle like the Mercury Mountaineer, that after 4 years, I never had needed to adda DROP of oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, ANYTHING from the time I came to Mexico two times and was driving back the third time, how amazingly good the vehicle on this third trip and how amazingly good my friend, Mark Fields was, a solid mechanic, and the proof of this on my third trip from Mexico to the states.
The day overall was a great day for traveling, leaving the rain behind me, it was nice, despite the intense humidity that hit you when you stepped out of the vehicle, to have sun layering the road in front of you. In my mind, this all lead me to Nuevo Laredo, crossing the bridge into the states. For some reason, I always get hung up on finding the entrance to go across and it takes me awhile just to FIND the way to approach the bridge. The same existed this time, I wandered around following signs that did not get me directly where I needed finally stopping to refuel and get excellent directions to the bridge, given in Spanish, and it got me right there- 🙂 loved. This was largely uneventful, it took little to not time, it was effortless, and as soon as I made it across the border I cashed in 4000 pesos from 8000 for cash, and this started the moment I was using dollars instead of pesos to get me the rest of the way home. The timing was around 9:30ish crossing, and this gave the dogs a brief respite, walk, stretch, and the cats were like, WHEN ARE WE GETTING OUT? I wanted to get to a place where that would happen.
I pushed myself as far as I could the first night, I wanted to make Dallas, and no way, I made it to San Antonio, and around 1:00 AM, I was seeing starts so I needed to stop. Stop I did at the smallest and most out of the corner way motel, the D & D. I was thinking this might be the only chance I have to house all three animals and not leaving them in the truck all night. That late at night, the receptionist wandered out, obviously in sleep mode, and despite the blatant sign, NO PETS, I was lucky to get a room on the very end of this line, ushered the cats one by one in the bathroom loose, the dogs in the main room, and ta da.
Yes the cats meowed for the first 30 minutes but I also was relived to see NO ONE around me room-wise and the cats with the fan left on in the bathroom had circulating air, the dogs were STILL rubbing their necks across the bed, but once we turned off the lights, eEVERYONE was OUT cold. Despite the simple and plain look, and for 55.00 USD, this was not the scuzzy, disgusting, awful motel you’d expect. No bugs, no fleas, no bed bugs nothing, plain plain plain and getting up at 6:00, before the 11:00 checkout was easy, dogs and cats ushered back in, dogs walked for posterity and potty break, although awaking to rain, we we off towards clearing Texas today, our second day.
Feeling as if I had just won the lottery, I can’t begin to express how amazingly good it felt to close my eyes, in a BED, and no implications of distress from the animals’ part, at all. I could not have asked for anything more the very first day out except for realizing my “packing job” was looking like to throw items in every SPACE available of the Mountaineer, (I should have taken the picture, darn!) and the animals in between all of that. For my sanity, sometime I would have to, stop along the way on this second day to reorganize the mountain of items I was hauling with me,
Although I should have been in Dallas the first day, physically, I knew I want as far as I physically go. It was 100% refreshing to realize, even without the desired effect of caffeine, how I was able to push on due to the encouragement I had been given before this first day of a very long trek. As I woke up the second day with vigor, I realized even 2 more hours of sleep would have ben great but getting the 5 I did re placed me on a high positive direction.