Subject: Death Defying Car Trips
John's car adventures brought back memories of a couple of near misses that occurred when my husband and I drove to Mexico many years ago. Some of you have written about your fear of flying. I have a fear of long car trips. I would gladly fly anytime than take long journeys by car.

When my husband Paul took his first sabbatical in 1975, we planned to drive down to Mexico from Toronto and spend four months there. I was a relatively new driver, having received my license only a couple of years before and was extremely nervous about driving on highways. I had recurring nightmares weeks in advance of our trip - of the brakes failing, my legs being to short to reach the brakes, the steering wheel not working etc., etc. Paul thought that I should work on my fear of driving on highways by plunging right in and driving our car ( a 1973 Plymouth Duster) on the highway out of Toronto. I reluctantly agreed and so white knuckled and dry mouthed, I started our journey. Not more than 10 minutes into our trip, the car in front of us swerved onto the graveled shoulder of the highway and started to zig-zag directly in front of us. Miraculously, it landed safely in the abutment between the highways going in opposite directions. But to me it was an omen. I was ready to turn around and forget about our trip, but after much coaxing, I reluctantly agreed to continue.

We had many adventures in Mexico and many times I felt that the car was an albatross around our neck. Driving in Mexico was really nerve-wracking. I was not happy to see the many crosses dotting the winding mountainous roads where people had been killed in car accidents. On several occasions we were nearly pushed off the mountain road because a driver had become impatient and decided to overpass a car without bothering to check if there was oncoming traffic. We were rear ended by a bus because we stopped for a red light and the bus driver had the audacity to yell at us for stopping. But the craziest incident occurred when we were driving to Guadalajara through the mountains. I had opened the window to get some air and I was suddenly hit on the head by a projectile. I started screaming and Paul almost lost control of the car. We had heard rumours of banditos shooting at cars in the mountains and I was terrified that some of them had come after us. Suddenly, there was a terrible buzzing sound in the car. I looked down to see where the noise was coming from and at my feet lay a giant FLY (A MOZZO). My head had been in its direct flight path and the impact had stunned it. We couldn't stop the car because the road was extremely narrow and windy and there were a number of cars behind us. And so we had to drive with the fly writhing at my feet until we reached Guadalajara. When we were finally able to pull over, I scooped the mozzo up in my shoe and put it on the sidewalk where it picked itself up and flew away.

Inspite of the great fun and adventures we had during those four months in Mexico, I was really happy when we arrived safely back in Toronto. And just like all the ziners who hate flying but do it because they love travelling, I'll take road trips reluctantly, only because I too love to travel.

Etta in Toronto