Steve's Worst Nightmare

Semi in rearview mirror.

We clear the border at Agua Prieta in time for lunch. We’re feeling pretty good about our progress. “If we book it, I think we can still hit Chihuhua before it gets too dark,” I say optimistically, slurping on a pork and salsa verde taco. Actually I know Chihuahua is a stretch, but my elation at returning to Mexico is as good as a pair of rose colored glasses: even the potholes and the smell of sewage make me feel […]

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Road Food: Burrito Round-Up

Desert ridge in Chihuahua Desert.

As I’ve mentioned, burritos are not exactly synonymous with Mexican food in my world. That said, Chihuahua is burrito country and I’ve resolved to eat as many as possible as we cross the state’s vast and thorny expanse. Burrito #1-“RR” Restaurant and Hotel, Jamas, Chihuahua The classic Chihauhau burrito is long, narrow, loosely rolled, open at both ends, and served without a fork. This fifteen peso ($1.20) chicken burrito filled the bill and was especially satisfying because we were cold […]

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Road Notes: Janos, Gomez Palacio Bypass, and Chihuahua Libre Highways

Driving from Ciudad Jimenez.

If, on the off chance, you are looking for a hotel room in Janos, Chihuahua, the “RR” hotel is clean and friendly, though extremely funky and rudimentary. For 180 pesos a night for two (14.60 USD) a night, you can’t complain… I concede defeat…El Codo is correct…The coffee at the OXXO mini marts is not bad…I think his exact word was “good”. I’m sticking with “not bad”, but it’s definitely better than gas station coffee in the U.S. I try […]

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Crossing the Border at Douglas/Agua Prieta

  We prefer smaller borders like Douglas/Agua Prieta because the lines are shorter.  This particular border is fairly easy to deal with: lanes are well marked and this time only one car was ahead of us in line. We were stopped by U.S. Customs on the gringo side and enjoyed the usual interrogation from a suspicious customs agent with textbook level attention to grooming and uniform. He peered into our packed ’87 Dodge van with apparent incomprehension. I wasn’t sure […]

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Road Food: The Railroad Station Bar and Grill

A hamburger with pile of fries.

“Yes! Parking right in front!” Churpa exclaimed as I pulled Chuey alongside the curb in front of The Bluebird Cafe in Ukiah, California.  At this point, we were already at risk of one or both of us descending into a hypoglycemic fit, but being extremely picky (and also creatures of habit), we held out for a place we knew served good food and beer on tap. To our dismay, The Bluebird was closed.  We sat in the van for a […]

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Road Food: Redhouse BBQ

editor’s note: One of the best things about Mexico is the preponderance of quality food. In a country not entirely subsumed by chains, it’s so much easier to find a decent meal right off the highway. As we travel to and through this culinary Valhalla, we will detail our triumphs and pratfalls.  Interstate 5 through central California has got to be one of the most godawful drives on the planet. We thought we’d stop for lunch somewhere, but realized that […]

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The Frank Holton Memorial Road Trip

Preparing to leave home for two months is a logistical nightmare, especially if you happen to be the caretaker of particularly cranky and and idiosyncratic animals, water system, and vehicles. The last season has been fraught with vehicle and cat sitter and financial and travel companion drama that has nettled me into a few black moments. More than once I became entirely convinced that the trip south would not happen at all and that we’d be stuck in Oregon for […]

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Me, Chuey, and John Bonham

“Don’t forget the thing about the window,” Rich tells me as we say goodbye at the Minneapolis airport. “It’s really hard to get the window back up again if it slides down. Right now there’s cardboard jammed down in there to keep it up.” “Oh yeah, the window…” I say unenthusiastically. Rich just got our van running again after several fallow years in the yard; when I land in Portland and pick the van up, it’ll be my first time […]

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