"It's a good thing we rented a Jeep instead of that sedan," Pam
yelled, as we motored through the not-so-shallow creek that ran across the dirt
road we were bumping along. My wife and I were about five kilometers inland
from Mexico's rugged Pacific Coast, heading north on the rustic back roads of
Jalisco, toward Puerto Vallarta—"PV" to the initiated.
A look in the rearview mirror showed a red dust cloud. Ahead, the lush
greens of the rainforest-blanketed mountain range filled the windshield. Row
after row of maize fields and pasture lands, along with the occasional field
hand on horseback, completed the picturesque scene. This was a far cry from
resort heavyweights like Cabo and Cancun, colonial mansions in San Miguel de
Allende, or diving havens like Cozumel. This was a Mexican's Mexico.
I might not have been so swept away by the scenery had I been aware of the
nail lodged in our Jeep's back tire. The tire problem was discovered during an
unexpected turn of events—a military checkpoint. The checkpoint itself
wasn't a surprise; we'd encountered a few on our way south. What was unusual
was that the guards detained us, even after they'd searched our bags. After a
stilted exchange in "Spanglish" and sign language, they finally drew
our attention to the deflating tire.
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