Driving through Tijuana. The road runs parallel and sometimes right next to, the border fence. Mexico side. Sheets of metal laced together. Rusted and covered in graffiti. Some sections seem to be newer; the metal is still shiny. It glints in the late afternoon light. I get a look at the other fence. United States side. Tall concrete pillars topped with hard wire mesh rectangles. Unbroken. It follows the same path as Mexico’s fence but is careful to keep its distance. Between them there is a blank space of roughly 500 yards. It has been raining, so the grass is tall and green. Delicate flowers take advantage of the open ground, stretching between and spilling over both sides of the border. I am trying to understand what it means. There are so many perspectives that could be taken as to how this scene represents the relationship between Mexico and the United States. Let your mind form is own idea about this place, this space between. Empty to the eye but overflowing with meaning. On the U.S. side, huge sewage plants process San Diego’s waste. Helicopters fill the sky like mechanical vultures, watching for any breach in the line that has been drawn. Waiting for the soul on which they can feed. We join the traffic lines following the signs to San Diego. Between the lines there are people, selling candies, plastic piggy-banks, baskets, sombreros, bird baths… Our windows have been washed twice already. On top of being washed earlier by the boys. We inch closer and closer to the place where we will leave Mexico.
There was a storm coming. We had been preparing so diligently for Tim’s trial and our trip to Utah that we couldn’t have even fathomed not being able to get out of Nevada City; so we decided to leave a day early. After some mad packing, quite a few trips down the icy hill on the red saucers, and a lunch of Shepard’s pie, we were just about ready to leave base camp. Around four o’clock, we piled in to Van Diesel (our 15-passanger, bio-diesel fueled, FtG semester van) and took off. There was a slight buzz kill after about three minutes of driving when we realized something had been forgotten at the house and we had to go back. Then, we were on the road for real. We took a short detour to Mother Truckers where Debra purchased a jar of pickles that she said would power her through the long hours of driving. We hit Hwy. 80 just before sunset and the colors were so stunningly beautiful. The oranges and pinks reflecting on the snow blended with the dark storm clouds looming overhead and kept us mesmerized until the sun disappeared. I feel asleep in Reno and was awakened a few hours later in Winnemucca where we made a pit stop and the boys were commissioned to wash the van windows. From there I slept until we rolled into Elko, Nevada, around midnight. We got the last room at a Days Inn and had a restful slumber; Tyler’s sleep talking only woke us up once. This morning when we were discussing his sleep talking, no one could remember what he had actual said. We packed up and hopped back on the highway; with about three hours of driving left. We stopped to take photographs of the Ruby Mountains and ran around a bit in the ice-cold wind. Debra read some of Terry Tempest William’s writings and we talked about how they related to what is happening with Tim and his trial. Much trail mix, dried mango, and cheese on crackers was consumed as we crossed into Utah, listening to the peace and freedom songs that will be sung at the midnight vigil on Sunday night – the eve of Tim’s trial. The miles to Salt Lake City are reducing with each mileage sign. The flat valleys and snow-covered mountains are flying by as Tom fearlessly sets the van on cruise control and points us in the right direction.