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We took a road trip to La Saladita on the last day of our vacation to watch the surfers. It’s the wave machine they say—small waves for beginners and long surfboards. It was a scenic drive.

We finally found the spot after a lot of back and forth and twisting up and down narrow back roads. At least we think we found it. There weren’t any surfers there. There actually wasn’t anyone, anywhere. Even the restaurant was abandoned. The surf was low.


Todd pulled up to the sand and the car sunk a few inches. Undaunted, and used to managing his wheels in any situation, he drove on as the sand spun out from under us. I wanted to say something but the magic of the water held my attention and my tongue. Pretty soon they were spinning and we weren’t moving. So he shifted into reverse, moved us backward then forward. We rocked and spun again. And again, until I smelled rubber and was pretty sure we were in trouble. When I heard his expletive after he got out to inspect the situation it was clear. We were.

I got out of the car wishing I had worn my beach flippies instead of the leather camels. And in my black and white sundress I did what anyone born and raised in the tundra would do when they noticed a shovel shaped chunk of coconut tree bark at their foot. I picked it up and started shoveling. Todd was busy gathering up coconut tree branches for traction. Good idea Girl Scout, he said when he saw my approach. He laid his branches under the tires and told me to get behind the wheel. I pressed the gas and he pushed. Not good. Maybe our timing wasn’t right.

I returned to my digging while Todd disappeared.

By now I was sure we had done major damage to the underside of the car and would have to buy it. But soon he was at my side again with the surfboard that had been nailed to the post I noticed when we drove up, indicating that we thought we’d found La Saladita. The front fender was now under the sand but the tire was looking pretty free. He slid the board beneath it and told me to try the gas again. Tell me when you’re ready this time, he said.

Ready. The wheels hissed and spun and rolled over the board. I backed out a good city block down the narrow dirt road before I stopped. 

That board saved us. We were so happy we didn’t have to walk back that we drove directly home and spent the rest of the day at our beach in Troncones with Beach Dog and Villa Cat and Gecko. I made dinner and we watched the sun set.  I think. Or maybe that was the night before.

Yes, that was the night before. That night we went out for dinner at the restaurant down the beach called Present Moment, and had a moment’s spat when I asked for a second bite of Todd’s fish tacos before he had had even one. What can I say? Next time I’ll order the fish tacos.

It was a good trip–good to get away and good to come home.

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