Being on the road in the States isn’t as carefree as it used to be.
Somewhere in Texas between Sierra Blanca and El Paso we noticed people on the opposite side of the road being forced to a dead stop. Closer examination revealed that it was a border checkpoint.
“Sucks to be them! Bye, suckers!”
After a day of beautiful scenery and sore driving-asses, the sun started to set. Of course I was driving by the time dusk and El Paso came along. When the chaos that is El Paso during rush hour was over, it was time to switch drivers. After I had a brief, involuntary conversation with a complete stranger about the raw sewage dumping policies of Flying J Travel Stations, It was Vess’ turn to drive.
It started out easy enough. We got back on the highway with no sweat and got up to our maximum (read 65 mph with a tow dolly) speed. Soon, signs started to appear about lanes being closed.
“One lane only?! Shit! We’re losing time!” I exclaimed.
Slowly, the orange traffic cones started to nudge us closer and closer to the edge of the road. Speed limit signs kept getting lower and lower. Something major was going down, and we were too far down the rabbit hole to turn back.
“Holy shit!” I exclaimed, “I see flashing lights! Surely this isn’t…” I didn’t dare answer, but the signs up ahead confirmed my worst fears. “Border Checkpoint Ahead.”
Now, this wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the fact that I was carrying this:
A nice little semi-automatic pistol that was unofficially loaned to me from my dad for the long journey into the strange territory ahead. Not only was I not licensed to carry it, I wasn’t even sure if this little beauty was even registered.
“Oh fuck. Just play it cool.”
All of a sudden, we weren’t travellers. We were Bonnie and Clyde trying to evade the federales. I shoved the gun and holster in a small crack that was created between the back of the driver’s seat and the bed when it was folded down. Vess looked nervous. We were driving two cars completely full of cargo separated by a tow dolly. It was going to be a long night. Slowly, car by car, we inched toward the border patrol station. The car in front of us from Washington state was full, too. They stopped him and started going over him with their flashlights like they were fine-toothed combs. I glanced over to the side. Drug-sniffing dogs were going ballistic in some guy’s trunk. There were guards everywhere, and they all were searching. This was the end of our journey.
“They are spending a lot of time searching that car in front of us! Probably ’cause he’s from out-of-town like us! Do you have your license?” I asked.
“Yes, right here. Just make sure the gun is hid.”
It was too late for that. Any last moment attempt to stash the gun any deeper would have surely been detected. We were so illuminated at this point that no action would have gone unnoticed.
Seconds away from the guard I said, “Pray for a miracle.”
Vess slowly pulled up to the guard. He mumbled something unintelligible.
“Huh?” Vess inquired.
“Go on through!” the guard answered.
“You sure? You don’t need my I.D.?” Vess questioned, holding her license up like it was a golden ticket into Heaven.
“Don’t do that! You look suspicious! Get us the fuck out of here!” I snapped, taking my nervousness out on her.
Soon after, we were back on our way. One lane turned into two, and the dust settled. The 30 mph speed limit quickly went back to 80. Overstressed, we decided to find a hotel soon after. Bonnie and Clyde’s reign had ended, and they needed sleep.