This week’s winner is….
A Mexican Honeymoon
Corona Competition entry, week 2
by Roger Sykes
Ironic that this competition should mime a Mexican beer, since this is a story about Mexico and another of its beers. In mid-May 1968, Kaye and I had been married less than a month. She was finishing her last semester at Texas Tech and I was waiting to be drafted. We had not had a proper honeymoon yet. Some friends were driving to Acapulco for vacation, so we decided to tag along--- in an un-air conditioned '67 MGB GT. We WERE young and crazy.
So off we went, Lubbock to Laredo in day one (try that today!), long before the advent of interstates. We spent the night at our friend's house in Laredo and crossed the border the next day. I carried a spare fan belt, a set of plugs and a couple of quarts of Castrol. There was not a single MG dealer in all of Mexico, so I was truly a trusting soul (or certifiable). Less than a hundred miles later the right front tire—a Gold Stripe Cinturato with less than 1000 miles on it—blew a quarter-sized hole though the sidewall. At $50 a pop, and having a perfectly good Dunlop Gold Seal spare, I had bought only four Cinturatos. You can imagine what the handling was like with 3 radials and 1 bias ply on the ground. We drove all the way through Monterrey without seeing a single tire store. Facing several hundred miles of nothing, we stopped in Saltillo at "Pedro's" tire store to replace the spare. It was while waiting to find anything that might fit that we discovered Tecate beer, in cans, with lime and salt on top.
At that time, Tecate was the only beer in Mexico in cans and it would not be exported to the US for many years to come. I don't recall (surprise) how many beers it took, but "Pedro" finally turned up with a 600-14 tire. While it fit the rim just fine, it did not fit the spare compartment designed for a 5.60-14. Swapping luggage with spare, off we went into the night to San Luis Potosi. Thanks to my Cibie driving lights, I did NOT run over a dead donkey occupying all of my lane.
The next day found us in downtown Mexico City with some of the crew down with The Revenge. After a couple of days in the worst heat wave the city had seen in years, we pushed on for Acapulco. You can imagine how happy the B was with heat, traffic and altitude, but we managed to get out of town before things got out of hand. About half way to Acapulco, Kaye had had all she could stand of the heat and transferred to the air conditioned Olds 442 that our friends were in. Well, alone in a sports car in the mountains, what's a fellow to do? I fell in behind a hard driven Opel Commodore (a model never imported to the States) and chased him for an hour or so. Remember the tires? Blind corners in open range country got very interesting. After a while, it was time to stop and let the 442 catch up. 45 minutes and several Tecates later, they finally showed up. Kaye was cool, but decidedly car-sick. Seems the 442, for all its vaunted performance, was not a car for corners.
When we got to Acapulco, we checked into an inexpensive downtown motel and went for a burger at Denny's. It would be many years before Kaye or I would ever darken a Denny's door again. One of our cheerful gang had to point out the dearth of stray dogs in the area. After a few days doing the tourist thing, our friends decided that they had had all the fun they could stand and left for home.
Kaye and I were not done honeymooning and had just enough funds to do a week at the famed Las Brisas resort across the bay. It was truly a charming setting (probably is to this day) with individual casitas on a hillside dropping right into the bay. As there was not even the possibility of a beach, they built a salt water pool opening out into the bay, called La Concha. More Tecate beer and the chance meeting of a lifetime followed. While sharing a visit from the local parrot, we met another honeymooning couple from Houston. We spent most of the next few days with them, including my short but intense bout with The Revenge. Turns out she was a doctor's daughter and had come properly equipped. When we parted company, his last words to me were, "When you get out of the Army, call me. I'll have a job for you."
Our trip home was uneventful other than over-heating in Mexico City. The first English news we got in Laredo was that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated. Even though we were both Republicans at the time, we drank most of our duty-free Chivas that night.
It’s a long story covering a short period of time, but I did not get drafted, so I called my new friend. Not only did he hire me then, but again six years later when both of us had moved on to new careers. We remain friends to this day, 52 years later.
I still like Tecate.