After a couple of weeks intermission we’re continuing my dad Hal’s story of traveling through Central America on the Pan American Highway, 1963. Enjoy the eighth episode in his journey:
When the taxi driver left me, he told me that the road straight ahead would take me directly to Puebla, the next city I had to go through. He had led me to the entrance of the periferico (freeway) which leads to a four lane highway through the mountains to Puebla. But I was sticking to the instructions given me: stay on that one highway—Number 57. A sign right in front of me that said 57 turned left, not straight ahead as the taxi driver had instructed me. I spent all day driving the sixty miles to Puebla. It was a beautiful drive, but there must have been a thousand stops. About every mile I saw a Catholic church. In fact that night I read in Sanborn’s Log that there were 365 churches in a few small towns there. (I finally realized I should read Sanborn’s Log first instead of at the end of the day’s journey.)
The next evening, I stopped in a small town of about ten thousand people where I saw an advertisement for a hotel—no motels in Mexico. The hotel was right on the town square. I walked through a cafe and saloon to the proprietor’s desk at the back and paid for a room. It looked exactly like the hotel/restaurant/saloons in Western movies or the one in Gunsmoke. I finally got the man to understand that I was worried about my vehicle and trailer being safe during the night. He assured me they would be fine because the police station was right across the street. Then I asked if I could take my dog into the room with me. He hesitated, but finally said yes.
First, I took my suitcase through the restaurant/saloon where some forty people were eating and seemingly drinking heavily. Then I went back out to get Nick. He was so excited to be out of the vehicle that he was leaping and walking on two legs as I led him into the saloon. He scared all the people, who scattered in panic like chickens and crowded against the opposite wall of the room. I was embarrassed, so I went through as fast as I could go and found my room. I decided to go out the back way with my pup the next morning.
I was eager to go to bed and fell asleep immediately. About an hour later someone knocked on the window. I thought, “No way I’ll answer.” About three o’clock in the morning someone knocked on the door, but I decided I wasn’t getting up until morning. I slept peacefully the rest of the night.
More in tomorrow’s post…