On Tuesday afternoon we packed up and drove to the historic colonial city of Trinidad. Once again the four hour drive proved amazing. This time I was better prepared for everything the road had to throw at me. In fact, I was even getting a little cocky. In no time, I found myself navigating the city’s narrow packed cobblestone streets lined with humanity, colonial houses, and vehicles of every size. We stopped, looked around, had a drink, and then decided to head back to Havana. With a little luck, we could be home by 10pm.
Sandra suggested a route that seemed unnecessarily long to me. I pointed out a road on our map that was much shorter, and therefore would put us back on A1 much sooner. She looked at me skeptically and explained that my idea would take us straight through the mountains. She also mentioned that she’d never heard of anyone who ever drove the full length of that highway before.
About 30 minutes into the drive I began to figure out why. The road was diving and dashing in every direction. There were no lines or highway markers. Turns came up so fast and sharp, and the road was so pock marked with pot holes, I felt like I was driving a rally car through a goat path. I couldn’t take my eyes off it for one second out of fear I might actually fly off a cliff. There were foggy patches, and rain was imminent. We had about an hour of daylight left with about 90 minutes of road ahead of us. I didn’t want to be caught driving it in the dark through a torrential downpour.
We were like ‘Smoky and the Bandit’, with a long ways to go and a short time to get there. We were trying to do what they said couldn’t be done. Well… maybe ‘shouldn’t’ would be a better word. I had to push hard, weaving through bad patches of road. The car was shaking and vibrating with every pot hole we hit. The engine was screaming as I tore though my gears. Suddenly there was a loud ‘thud’ as I ran over a gynormous trench in the road. I thought for sure the wheels were about to fly off. “Thank God this is a rental car” and “I hope I can still get my deposit back,” were my predominate thoughts. We stopped to check things out, and miraculously, the car was still in one piece.
A short time later I noticed the engine light was on. We hit A1 in the dark just as the clouds opened up. There was so much water, I could hardly see out the window. The engine temperature was holding steady and we were back in Havana by 11:30pm. As I turned the key to quiet the motor, I took a moment to reflect. THAT was a motherfuckin’ breathtaking thrilling awesome drive! We were home, safe and sound, and we had an amazing trip.
This morning, after running some errands, Sandra and I returned the car. I had my fingers crossed as the guy gave the car a once over. He called his buddy over and they popped the hood looking for the cause of the engine light. I then I held my breath as he counted out my rental deposit and gave it back to me in cash. It was all there. A wave and a smile later I was out the door and really, the whole thing couldn’t have gone better.