The story begins here: Missionary Travel Stories.
Continuing his tale, my dad Hal is sharing his story of traveling through Central America on the Pan American Highway, 1963. Enjoy the eleventh episode in his journey:
I had been traveling in Mexico for about a week when I arrived at the Guatemalan border. I was surprised that it didn’t take very long to get through. The officials put seals on the door on the back of my trailer and threatened me not to break the seals for any reason until I left the country. They asked if I needed to get any clothes or anything before they sealed my trailer, but I expected to get through the country that same day.
I breezed along about forty-five miles an hour up the mountain and onto a plateau in country that was so beautiful it almost looked as if it had been landscaped. All of a sudden the tongue on the trailer, a piece of three-inch pipe, broke, so I had to pull over on the side of the narrow road.
Now, I was proud of my trailer, which I had acquired in 1959 when I was studying at Columbia Bible College but doing some ranching in the summers. I traded a cow for an old stock trailer about eight feet long by four feet wide, which just had slats around it and no top. My dad, an expert trader, told me I got a bad deal. I converted the trailer into a great “camping trailer” that I could sleep in when I wanted to besides carrying my luggage back and forth to school in South Carolina and other places. I even put a round top on it, whittling out the boards for the top with my all-purpose knife that I used to de-horn cattle among other things. When I explained to the owner of the small lumber yard in Southwest City, Missouri, what I was trying to do, he suggested I use Formica for the top. The hot summer sun gradually made the Formica flexible enough so that day by day I could put in another screw until I made it all the way around and the top was rounded over. I made the sides with particle board so it would be light weight and then painted it. It was the exact width for a single mattress. I made a platform I could raise on hinges or put down when I didn’t want it for a bed. I thought my trailer was perfect. Even Dad admitted it was an impressive little trailer. He would look at it and say, “Well, I never thought . . . .” I had seen lots of trailers similar to mine which said U Haul on the back, so I named mine Wee Haul.
As I was neither a mechanic nor the or son of a mechanic, I didn’t even think about the structure of the home-made tongue, made from an old rusty pipe from an oil well. Now it broke in the heart of Indian country in Guatemala…