Mexico – 1965

Here’s another fragment from an uncompleted effort – a memoir of sorts.

I had been in the biology program for about a year and had heard all of the stories about the Mexico trips.  Excursions into Mexico to do biology with Brad, that had the feeling of magic. Imagine, if you can, a 21-year-old male with a romantic leaning. Now give him the opportunity to go on an expedition into the wilds of Mexico that will last about a month.  Ah, lordy, what magic; what wonder; what a concept to stir the blood of a young adventurer.  Indiana Jones had nothing over me; notwithstanding that Indiana Jones hadn’t even been invented at that time.  The word was, among the troops, that Brad was planning a trip to Mexico and that he would invite a chosen and select few.  Jeez, how could I get asked?  Well, I could just tell Brad that I was interested!  But what about all of the people who had been here longer, that had juice?  What the hell, I’ll just tell him that I would like to go, all he can say is no!

Can you believe it!  Brad asked me to go on the trip! God, it’s like a dream come true.  I’ll get to go on a real biological collecting expedition into the heart of Mexico.  Not only that but Al Gardner, the high priest of Mexican biology is going along as guide and expedition co-leader – ah lordy – it couldn’t get any better!  All I have to do is come up with enough money to cover my food down and back and while there.  Brad estimates that about 50 bucks ought to cover it.  Boy, that’s a bunch of money to a starving undergrad, but I think I can do it.

The planning seemed to go on forever, but finally the day is approaching.  We have packed Brad’s panel truck with our gear and traps and food and equipment and skin preparation supplies and – jeez – everything.  Brad bought a jeep with a hard top, and we have that jammed full of stuff too.  Not the least of which are extra wheels and tires strapped onto a carrier on the top.  Tomorrow morning – early- we leave for Tucson to pick up Al.  It’ll take us the better part of a day to drive there.  We’ll spend a day or so in Tucson and get to see the Univ. of Arizona campus where Brad did his grad work.  That’s sort of like visiting the Vatican.  We may even get to meet E. Lendel Cockrum, the mammalogist, and Chuck Lowe, the herpetologist.  I really want to meet Dr. Lowe, because I am to be the herper on the trip.  (I’ll think about this years later when I walk up to Lowe and introduce myself at a Desert Tortoise Conference).

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