Truckin’ Mexican Style

I was laughing so hard I almost blew out an o-ring. The story I was listening to yesterday challenged everything I thought I knew about peyote so I could only stand there shaking with laughter as Marco merged the subject with big-rig driving.

Marco is a tall lean Mexican who is handsome in a roguish sort of way; given to tight blue jeans, a long sleeve shirt with the top button left undone, and dark Ray-Bans. He’s not some contrived act. No. Marco is authentic through and through. It is my impression of Marco that he is one professional stand up kind of guy. He is one of those rare men who positively reeks of ability.

I had already seen photos of his rig on his phone. The bloody thing is huge. A colossal diesel Kenworth T680 tractor pulling twin trailers. The biggest rig allowable on Mexican roads.

A couple of weeks ago I’d heard from a mutual friend that he used peyote to keep awake on long hauls. When I heard that I was positively incredulous. How could one possibly bend the properties of a powerful hallucinogen into some tame reliable driving aid? The idea sounded positively insane.

In university (my first time) it was a popular joke in my dorm that quaaludes and driving was the surest way to wreck your car. And I couldn’t imagine how mixing hallucinogens with driving fared any better.

My experience with peyote goes back some 40 years to friendships I had with a couple of uranium geologists that worked in the remotest parts of South Texas. We were friends as well as neighbors so I was duly alerted the first time one of them brought back a sack of fresh peyote cactus buttons that had been harvested from one of the job sites.

This was pre-internet so we had no way of discovering how to properly prepare them. They tasted vilely bitter so we assumed they were basic and decided that blending them up with something acidic would somehow balance them out and tone down the vile factor. It didn’t work out that way but somehow we all managed to gulp down about 10 ounces each of the pulpy nastiness.

I remember thinking that in the future I would rather eat a dog turd then ever stick peyote in my mouth again; it was that vile.

So Marco had my complete attention when he explained how he prepared it. First, you have to ferment the peyote slices in tequila for about a month. Then you grind them into an admixture with nuts and spices until you end up with a marmalade type of gooey paste.

Add a three or four spoonfuls to a cup of coffee and by the second cup Marco explained, ‘He was good to drive all night’. He made the smooth motion with his hand and said, “Plano” (level/flat/cool).

He invited me (again) to ride with him on one of his trips around Mexico. And you know? I am properly intrigued. It sounds like a hell of a cool adventure sailing through the Mexican countryside on a big-rig wired for quadraphonic sound.

PS – And if you did hit something in a truck that big?

You probably wouldn’t even know it.

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