Mexico Drive by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

The drive home from Mazatlán, Mexico, to Kansas is not easy. The three-hours on the toll road that began our first leg included 61 tunnels and two suspension bridges over deep gorges. Semi-truck drivers many times must creep along in order to make the steep mountain climbs. Because of that, about ninety-five percent of them have created a kind gesture for those of us who get stuck behind them on the numerous curves.

As we near them, they move to the shoulder and wait for there to be no vehicles coming towards them. They put on their blinkers when it is safe for us to ignore the double yellow lines and pass. It is not uncommon in the oncoming lane to have one semi straddling the double yellow while passing another semi. That is our clue to be kind and move to the shoulder.

Or get squashed.

Add to that unmarked potholes, an occasional cow crossing the highway, and men in black working in the tunnels, and it’s no wonder we pray the entire time we navigate this stretch. By the time we reach Durango, Mexico, Dave and I both have white knuckles and sweaty palms.

This past Saturday we were four-and-a-half hours into our journey when Dave realized that we would need more pesos to cover the $100+(U.S.) in tolls. Pulling over to the side of the road, he opened the back door to get into his backpack for the money. That’s when I heard the words that made me want to throw myself in front of the next semi that approached.

Patty, where’s my backpack?”

It should be right where you always put it. On top of your small suitcase.”

Seriously. Where did you put it?”

Why would I put it anywhere? It’s your backpack.”
“But you double-checked our condo to be sure we loaded everything in the car.”

And so did you.” Let the blame game begin.

After hyperventilating for a few minutes, I had a brilliant idea. “I may have some pesos. Let’s count all the money we’ve got and see if we have enough to get to the border.”

Patty, my passport is in my backpack. We can’t get into the U.S. without it.”

Of course, that wasn’t true. I could get into the U.S. Dave could be left on the side of the road to figure out what he needed to do. It crossed my mind.

Or I could be forgiving, laugh it off and drive back to Mazatlán with him. (The only part of that sentence that actually happened begins with the word “drive” and ends with “him.”) I was not laughing. I tried to be forgiving (especially since Dave was blaming me for this blunder), but having to retrace our drive through that mountain—making it nine hours of driving and about $15,000 in pesos only to end up where we started—made me homicidal.

Then Hubby dropped another bombshell. “We don’t have enough pesos to get back to Mazatlán.” I began making plans to jump from the first suspension bridge we crossed.

Dave presented our options: (1) “I can ask for mercy from the toll booth operator.” (No chance since Dave speaks about 10 words in Spanish, and none of them are in that sentence.) (2) “I can leave my watch with her as collateral and get it back tomorrow on our return trip.” (Same “No chance” reason as above.) (3) “We can get off the toll road, but that will add four hours of drive time.” (Sweet Jesus, please, NO!) (4) “Or we could find an ATM.” Which was the first sensible thing he said.

I think God knew that my unChristlike ideas were about to become a reality and I would end up in a Mexico prison because the first exit said “Aeropuerto.” Airports have ATM’s! There was hope. Dave and I both were surprised when I actually exited the airport with pesos and the machine had not eaten my credit card.

Sometimes we just have to be grateful for the little things.

One thought on “Mexico Drive by Patty LaRoche”

  1. Wow Patty! Sounds familiar… like Jeff and Andy’s trip. You need to start flying. Leave the new beaner down there! It’s time to just pack the bikini and go! Much safer and cheaper. Please.
    Thanks for sharing the story. Would have been great to have filmed it. I can see my dads face now.
    Glad your home safe❤️U

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