Since some of you who listened to Podcast #12 have latched on to the Mexico story of me and Jereep getting thrown in jail, then escaping the justice system, I figured I may as well post a draft of it here. I've sat on this story for about ten years. It is one of many that is intended to be part of a book.
Mexico or Bust (subtitled Mexico and Bust)
Ah! Times were good. What more could a guy have asked for? Headed to Mexico for a long weekend. No commitments, other than to return to work in one piece five days later.
I shared this joyous moment the core group of voyagers, augmented by a few newcomers. Our inseparable gang consisted of me; Jerry, the conspirator of most events; Rich, the Cowboy from Rock Springs, Wyoming who never turned down a challenge; and Jim, my mom’s youngest brother who was fifteen months my senior.
We were like a good football team. We each had an important role, and alone, we were not nearly as much fun as when grouped for an occasion. We each accepted our roles and appreciated the contribution and shortcomings of the others.
I guess I was the oaf. My Scandinavian heritage had graced me with more brawn than brains. For some reason, my presence gave Jerry more confidence than discretion
Many were the times I was called upon to enforce rules or threats made (or implied) by Jerry. Being from the backwoods of Minnesota, I was taught to never abandon a friend in need. I was also somewhat on the naive side, so it never occurred to me that Jerry could have deserved some of what came his way.
Rich was like any good cowboy. Never down and always looking at the bright side of things. A few beers usually brought out his romantic side, which usually carried him down a path that required every bit of his boxing skills, which I must say, for a one hundred and forty pound guy, were considerable.
Jim had joined us from Alaska and was my roommate at this time. Being the oldest of our group, he was also the most experienced beer drinker. I believe he still holds that record for a four second Coors Light, from a can, no less
Jim spared personal hygiene at the expense of possible courtship. He always spoke of girls, but never moved bathing high enough up the priority list to accomplish much with the opposite sex.
Jim possesses the greatest laugh on the North American continent. We quit counting the number of times he got us invited or dis-invited because of his laugh. Jim's sense of humor was a great attribute considering the dim financial and social conditions were normally found ourselves in.
Jerry was a native of the Southwest since leaving our little hamlet in Northern Minnesota at the tender age of twelve. Having lived in Arizona since that time, he was the appropriate person to lead this band of ragtag wannabes. We drew on his limited (heavy emphasis on the limited part) experience. This trip was to be no exception.
The three others joining us were not part of the usual group, but asked to join us based on their limited knowledge of our behavior. They seemed to enjoy our company, but I attribute the attractive side of our actions to the free beer they knew existed when accompanied by us. Regardless, all for one and one for all.
Thursday evening found us getting our passports validated for the trip the Rocky Point. Those from other parts of the country may not know of Rocky Point, but to those from Arizona, it conjures images of what the Wild West must have been.
Plenty of booze, gambling, sun (or sin), and a larger cross section of the opposite sex than I suspect resided in places like Tombstone in the days of the Earp boys. Absent the prohibition on firearms, I think Wyatt and the brothers would have fit right in.
Once the passports were notarized, our first stop was the local Alpha Beta grocery store. Jerry and the three tagalongs were given the responsibility of gathering food and ice. Rich, Jim, and I were charged with procuring refreshments that would carry us to the Mexico border and sustain us while camped on the hot Sea of Cortez beaches.
Never wanting to be unprepared, Jim suggested we error on the side of caution. Realizing the value of volume discounts, Rich and I readily agreed to his plan. Twelve cases of Silver Bullets coming right up.
We were off. Heading south in search of Margaritaville. In what seemed like no time, we had removed ourselves from the smog and confinement of the greater Phoenix metropolis. Darkness came, but never slowed us. Forward and onward.
As our raucous behavior increased, I sensed some discomfort building within one of the tagalongs. I sensed he was hoping we would get to our destination soon. Unsettled at our behavior, he asked Jim, “How far have we had traveled?”
Jim never measured anything in terms of miles or hours, but in how many beers had been or would be consumed. This manner of dead reckoning was unbelievably accurate.
Jim replied, “We are two cases from Phoenix.”
"How far to the Mexican border?" Jim reckoned it to be a half-rack, his term for a twelve pack.
True to Jim's calculations, we were two and a half cases light by the time we reached the Mexico border. We stopped and checked in with the local authorities. When asked if we were carrying American beer, we said "No sir. We drank it all on the way here." To that they stamped our books and sent us on our merry way.
As we exited the Police station, I commented to Jerry that we were advised to stop at the insurance center to purchase auto insurance that would cover our travels in Mexico. That advice came from Jim's older brother, Larry, a veteran of many Rocky Point trips.
Jerry pointed out that Larry had money to bum, so to him purchasing insurance was a good investment. And, that we of much scarcer resources and drier thirsts, should forego the insurance. When converted from Pesos to our currency of beer, the economics of Jerry's argument seemed valid. I always thought he should have majored in economics, not marketing. But, as future episodes would bear out, Jerry was a better salesman than he was an economist
Maybe his marketing degree was just the capitalization of his god-given gift of gab.