Coughing Our Way Across The Country

As we drove from Traverse City, Michigan to Tucson, Arizona, I wrote a series of letters, and photocopied them to send to family and friends. This was the first of the three.Travel Letter #1.

Saturday, 12/13/03 - Good morning. Welcome to our vacation form letter. We're in Arizona now. The sun is shining and it will be in the sixties today, which should melt the ice on the windows soon.

Ana's foot doesn't seem to be broken, as we thought, so we took a long walk in the desert last night. We saw a coyote, probably the same one I chased the other day, and there were javelina tracks everywhere.The library in Safford has books in Spanish, so Ana is enjoying reading now that her eye-patch is off. The doctor promised that the "divet" left by his golf-club-like blade will heal soon.

We learned that eyeballs have many nerve endings, and we think the object in her eye may have been a fiber from a yucca plant.Our uncontrollable coughs are under control now, and we aren't among the ten people in Arizona that died from the flu this week. Oh, and the antibiotics from the Safford clinic seem to have helped with Ana's abcessed tooth.I should start at the beginning. The first day, after dealing with the usual rudeness of the INS employees in Detroit, we made it to Kansas.

We hit a traffic cone there at high speed, and heard a horrible sound coming from under the van. The cone, I discovered, had been dragging along underneath. Nothing was broken, but later the bright light switch stopped working.Fortunately, we drove during daylight after that.

In the Colorado mountains we went from 16 to 20 miles-per-gallon, confusing the sensors and causing the "check engine" light to turn on. We successfully ignored it until it changed it's mind.In Farmington, New Mexico, we spent a few days resting and coughing.

We were about an hour away from buying a house when we discovered it needed new wiring, had a garden hose attached to the natural gas line, and other problems we missed on our first visit. The old man begged me to buy it, called our motel room to tell me he needed money for open-heart surgery in three days, and called again to lower the price, but we moved on. By the way, the house was to be a winter project, not a new home.Monument Valley was beautiful, the Christmas parade in Holbrook was cute, and despite various problems and illnesses, we're having a great time.

You see, I didn't want to make you all jealous, so I left out a lot - the constant sun, the beautiful sculptures in Grand Junction, and the nine times we've been in hot springs in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Next week we're going to Mexico for lunch. Hope all is well in Michigan. Adios,.Steve and Ana.


Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled the United States and Mexico alone at 17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. To read letters #2 and #3, plus stories, tips and travel information, visit: http://www.

By: Steven Gillman

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