When people asked us what we were going to do we told them, “We’re going to sell it all and travel around the world!“
We went up to Maryland and stayed for a while with Donna’s daughter Shannon, her husband Dave, and their son, AJ. They had a basement den that we could sleep in while we organized our thoughts and plans. Flea and ‘Queen’ Jane were good friends of theirs as well as a full-on stoner they called “Smooth”. Dave loved to have friends over and grill barbecue chicken, he was a master at it.
The Grateful Dead was the soundtrack for most evenings, afternoons….. and, okay, mornings, too! Flea managed a Motophoto shop and offered to develop any pictures we took on our travels! We took him up on that gracious offer and still have boxes of photos that we need to go through.
We were up in Laurel Maryland at Shannon and Davy’s house preparing to leave on our maiden travel experience. It just so happened to be at the same time as President Bill Clinton’s inaugural festivities were about to commence, and since we were so close we figured we should go!
The Clinton / Gore Inauguration
It was a crazy festival atmosphere with a mix of people ranging from casual to suits and even America-themed costumes. There were vendors selling Clinton T-shirts, hats, programs, American flags, and just about anything you could imagine that people would buy.
Huge tents were set up with bands and food but that was not our focus. We wanted to be as close as we could to seeing the real show, the inauguration. The National Mall with its iconic Washington Monument and distant Lincoln Memorial was picturesque.
We made our way towards the front of the United States Capitol, but could only get so close as we arrived at a guarded barrier. Everything was reserved for VIP seating beyond that point. The average citizen could get no closer, but we could see just fine!
There were already lots of people beginning to arrive, and before long it was full. I do mean full! It was a sea of people packed shoulder to shoulder! As the inauguration was underway, one lady carrying a young child that was obviously upset was asking, “how can I get out of here? It’s just too crowded for my child!” We heard her and had the answer.
How To Move Through a Crowd
I had been to a Robin Trower concert with Clarke Yateman at the Cannery in Nashville. Clarke had a trick he would use to get to the front of the stage. “Just follow me,” he said. Then he would lean in on the person in front of him and say, “I think I’m going to be sick!” and he would make a gagging sound. The crowd quickly moved aside like Moses parting the Red Sea as he would lunge forward and soon arrive at the front of the stage. I gave this advice to the lady. The sea of people parted before her, and soon she and her child were well on their way to a much less crowded place.
We bought a T-shirt and a hat with a front bill that opened to reveal a popup Clinton, Al Gore, wives, and the Capitol and made our way back the Shannon and Davy’s. We had some packing to do as we were soon to leave and begin our journeys.
Time to Move on!
It was a nice respite before departing. But, what were we going to do? Where were we going to go? Where were we going to start? How would we get there? We decided to start with Mexico. We figured if we fell flat, busted, broke we could walk home! Now, how to get there. “Driveaway cars” was the answer. You can deliver a car somewhere, get to use it for a few days more than it takes to get there, all you have to pay is the gas.
So we asked to deliver a car to somewhere in Texas. They checked us out and soon we had a nice car to deliver in the Longhorn state, way south, not so far from the Mexican border! We made our way to Brownsville, Texas and a short bus ride later we were finally crossing into another country. Our first stamp in our passports!
We had picked our destination. A tiny, little seaside village with a hostel and beach. The bus was about as old as I was, or so it seemed, and the ride was long and dusty. We stopped to let people off and on. A village here, a market there, and finally the driver told us this was our destination. There was not much there. A few dusty paths going in different directions.
A lady with assorted bags of food also got off. We asked about the name of the village we were going to and she pointed in the same direction that the driver had pointed. That’s good! Two giving the same direction! The lady started that way struggling with all the things she was carrying so we offered to help. Before too long we arrived at the village. We asked where the hostel was and she pointed at the building just there.
We went and took a room. Very basic. And asked where we could get something to eat. They pointed at the little hut where the lady was. Lol! We carried our food in with her! She asked if we would like chicken. “Yes, thank you!” So reached over and grabbed one of the chickens that were wandering around there and in one motion, whack! Chopped its head right off and started plucking it! Talk about fresh! It was delicious!
There wasn’t much there for a town but the ocean was lovely. We walked along the black sand beach that was dotted with white sand dollars picking up a few as memories. We planned our next leg of this adventure as we watched men playing dominoes in the hostel. And then, I blurted out, “Oh, dominoes! Donna is really good at that!” Well, here in Mexico, this is a “man’s game! How could a woman ever be as good as a Man?
The machismo was dripping as they giggled and asked her to join them for a game. Donna was reluctant but after they insisted, she gave in. To say she beat them brutally would be an understatement. “Okay, fine, we see you can play so we don’t have to go easy on you. Another game!” Another beating. It was truly a bit embarrassing for all. Donna politely asked if we could leave them to their game and without much resistance, we left to get something to eat with the lady.
A few days later we left for Veracruz.