This happened last Friday, when we had a ‘misadventure’:
“Okay, look. Who’s gonna be my girlfriend? Where are you guys from? Look, I’m handsome, fast and furious. Hey. Who’s that sonofabitch behind us? Tailgating me, huh? I’ll show him. I’m fast and furious. Fast and-”
“Curve,” the girl in the passenger seat calls, interrupting the monologue.
“Obviously.” The wheel jerks.
The monologue came from a driver who had offered us a lift back to the city. We now realize he is absurdly intoxicated, and driving as if the road lines were squiggly instead of straight. I’m panicked.
The driver’s friends seem unworried, though. He had behaved much more sober than the other locals we had bumped into or been passed by that night, and he had really insisted on giving us a ride. Pretty soon though, he’s acting like a gangster straight out of the narco film “Los Jefes”. Which was, I think, coincidentally filmed just outside the entrance of this canyon.
There’s three of us, sitting squished in the back seat as the car weaves and is corrected, and we’re getting more and more nervous. A sense of self-preservation paces and fidgets in the back of our minds. Our hypothalamus is poised for flight or fight.
“Obvio obvio obvio. Hey, who does this dude think he is? Orale tu pinche maricon joto.”
This is what happens when you go ‘adventuring’. Things go awry. A designated return ride was supposed to meet us at 10:30pm, if we hadn’t looped back to the entrance by 10, and we had continued to the the dam, coasting the whole ten miles until the road dead-ended. At this moment we still didn’t know where our return ride was, and the canyon after the midpoint had no signal.
We had actually turned down several rides, offered by drivers in even worst shape that this guy. Twice before we’d hitched rides, once with the local police when they made their usual rounds, and the second time that I had jumped into a car, it had promptly reversed a back wheel over the 30-meter cliff. This third ride is stretching my luck.
At least this guy stayed on the road, and all-in-all his friends seemed unworried.
The wheel jerks right.
Still, worrisome though.
Suddenly, the driver gets fed up with the guy behind him, maybe picking up on our discomfort of being in a car sailing left and right like it was tacking to catch the wind.
“I’m f*cking fast and FURIOUS!” He speeds up.
We had enjoyed the journey into the canyon in traditional style: one on a bike – one on skates – myself, running – and now found ourselves hurtling back towards the canyon’s sharp turn on the small windy road that had been so peaceful. But it was frequently crossed by passing mules, cattle, and stray dogs and we’re rapidly approaching 100 kilometers an hour in pitch darkness, hurtling too fast towards a fishhook turn…
“Curve. Curve!” the girl pouts emphatically. We begin all shouting: “CURVE! CURVE! SLOW DOWN! -”
For a few seconds, his foot stays on the pedal. Then he brakes hard and bouncing careens off the road into the pebble dirt that lines the backcountry highway.
“Okay, we’re getting out now,” says the fastest-acting one of us. Claudia, you’re a goddess.
Now halfway in we immediately get another ride in the back of a truck and an hour later we find our friend. Exhausted, but too excited on account of being alive to let the adventure end just quite yet, we talk about that ride while we eat at my house. Then I drop the others off at each of theirs. At 5am, I face plant in bed.
Adventure? Well, mission achieved, though that ride is not something we ever necessarily want to repeat. In the spirit of tradition, we’re going back on Friday to do the same 10 mile route in the canyon again.
This time I’m parking my van at the finish line. But as they say… Adventure begins when plans end.