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Mel Hathorn

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Member Since: Apr, 2002

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Books
· The Prisoner's Dilemma

· Celts and Kings

· The Castlereagh Connection


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· Thanksgiving Day Dinner at Oliver Wight Tavern in Old Sturbridge Village

· Spanking Plato: Prologue - Chapter 3

· Sticking it to the Man

· Women in White: Parts 1-6

· Men In Black

· A Study and Discussion Guide to The Prisoner's Dilemma

· The Corporation Who Mistook Itself for a Person

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· Is Reaganomics Dead?

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· No Taxation Without Representation


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Excerpt from The Journey: A Story For Those Who Blew It Or Are About To
By Mel Hathorn
Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Last edited: Tuesday, March 19, 2002


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Recent stories by Mel Hathorn
· Spanking Plato: Prologue - Chapter 3
· Thanksgiving Day Dinner at Oliver Wight Tavern in Old Sturbridge Village
· Sticking it to the Man
· Hartford PGA Tour: Going to the Dogs?
· Women in White: Parts 1-6
· The Corporation Who Mistook Itself for a Person
· Men In Black
           >> View all 27
This is an excerpt from a completed manuscript which is in the process of being edited.

That afternoon, I met a guy who called himself "La Plume" or Pen. We talked and I told him that I was considering visiting San Felipe on the Baja. Several years ago, I won a deed of license to a small plot outside of San Felipe. This plot was on property known as El Dorado Ranch. This plot was one of many the National Pen Corporation gave away in a contest. There was a yearly thirty-five dollar maintenance fee that gave me the rights to visit any time I was in the area. Nevertheless I had some hesitation about taking my car into Mexico.

The AAA warns:
Above all, motorists in Mexico should heed this advice: Do not drive after dark if at all possible. Besides poor visibility, vehicles that sometimes have only one or no headlights, might suddenly swerve to your side of the road to avoid a pothole. Bicyclists with no reflectors and pedestrians commonly use the roads at night. Potholed roadways and the possibility of banditry are other reasons to curtail driving at night. Above all never pull off the road to sleep…livestock, cattle goats and donkeys unexpectantly appear on the road...these animals will almost be invisible on unlighted roads at night.

Pen talked me into going to the Baja to check out my land. "I've driven there many times," he said. He told me about the roads. Yes, they are filled with potholes. You do have to watch where you are going. "But," he continued, "it is really something to see and do." I made up my mind to try it. It meant that I would drive south from San Diego through Tijuana on Route 10 to Ensenada, hang a right on Route 3, and drive over the spine of the mountains to the Sea of Cortes.

Later, I met Bill, a computer guru. We talked a long time about training and computer issues. Bill was into surfing. I suggested that riding a surfboard was a metaphor. The ocean surf was a natural example of chaos theory. Riding the surf was an attempt to control chaos and nature. One can only react to the surf; one can't control it.

Chaotic conditions are a natural result of life and are more common than predictable times. It we try to ride the surf of life, we can at times be successful but more often will get thrown off the board with unexpected turbulence. The good surfer will anticipate and react to changing conditions rather than try to control them.

Later that night, I walked out to the bay, stood on the pier and saw the nightly fireworks from Seaworld. The warm summer night reminded me of The Great Gatsby looking over the bay to the green lights at the end of Daisy's pier.

I paid a long visit to the AAA the next morning. Since I would rather put the beat on someone else's car, I reserved an Avis rental for the following day. I also called El Dorado Ranch to let them know I was coming. There was a ton of paperwork in preparation for crossing the border. First, you need your car title-another reason to get a rental -a picture ID; a Mexican tourist card (the AAA has blanks) to be stamped at the border; and most importantly, an insurance policy valid in Mexico, since American policies aren't valid in Mexico. Most of the paperwork can be done at the AAA or at the car rental place.

I spent the rest of the day wandering around. I watched a battleship and a cruiser dock at the harbor. The crew must have been a sea for an extended tour, because several families were on hand to greet the crew.

The next morning I pulled a little trick I used to use when I wanted to leave my car in a cheap parking lot. It is usually cheaper to rent a car at the airport rather than downtown. To avoid parking at the airport lot, which can wreak havoc with one's budget, I usually park at a small private lot outside the airport grounds. I then take their shuttle to the airport and get another shuttle to the car rental lot.

I found the last available parking space (must have been a lot of people traveling). Taking the parking lot shuttle to the airport, I waited for the Avis rental shuttle. I took that shuttle and picked up my car.

Shortly after crossing the Tijuana border, I almost rear-ending a slow pickup going 15 kilometers in a 60K zone. He had traffic backed up with people trying to get around him. Passing him, I looked over at a driver who was clearly spaced out. Mexico adheres to the Napoleonic concept of law enforcement. Both parties in an accident are assumed guilty and hauled off to the station until the police can sort things out.

Route 10 from Tijuana is not a bad drive to Ensenada. It is a four lane road that follows the Ocean and replaces the old two-lane road. Once I got used to the traffic flow, it was easy to drive in Mexico. I reached Ensenada in a couple of hours.

Ensenada is clearly a town for vacationers. It has a lot of hotels and rental apartments as well as restaurants and entertainment. There I got my tourist card stamped.

I drove through town and picked up Route 3 as it began its climb into the mountains. On the outskirts of Ensenada, I picked up a nail. I was really pissed. The spare was one of these donuts that I knew wouldn't last five miles on the back Mexican roads I was about to encounter. I was pissed at the nail, but I was more pissed at car dealers who put cheap donuts instead of a real spare in cars.

I returned to Ensenada looking for a place to repair the tire. It was late afternoon. My high-school Spanish was rusty and it took me an hour and half to get the tire fixed. The tourist information booth gave me a map of the city and directions in Spanish on how to get to a repair shop. I located the shop on a back street. It was a one stall shop where a kid fixed it in five minutes for only $2.50.

I asked myself whether it was a good idea to continue. I knew it would take several hours to drive the slow, narrow roads over the mountains. It was getting late in the day and what if I got back in the mountains in the middle of nowhere and picked up another nail? What I if couldn't find a place to get the tire fixed and darkness was coming?

I felt unsure, burnt-out, and tired. I decided to return and give up the whole idea of Mexico. The thoughts of unknown territory, banditry, fear of another flat and using a donut for a spare on back mountain roads, scared me.

I turned around and started back. Suddenly my lessons about fear returned to me. Almost as if I were someone else, I observed myself turning around and heading back through Ensenada. I started once more over the back mountain road. Another fear, disguising itself as burn-out. "What ifs" run my life.



 

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Reviewed by Kathi L 1/10/2003
Mel, Interesting...I'd like to see where this one goes. Good Luck


Books by
Mel Hathorn



The Prisoner's Dilemma

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Celts and Kings

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The Castlereagh Connection

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