Posted from Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.
Hitting the Pause Button
So… we are just a few days away from our One Year Anniversary of being on the road. It should be a time for celebration, but sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we expect.
We’ve been alluding to a big game-changer of an announcement for a couple of weeks, and the reason we didn’t go public with it sooner is that we weren’t exactly sure ourselves what the ultimate plan would be, but now we are locked in. And here you go…
We are, so to speak, hitting the Pause Button on our continuing journey through Central and South America for a reason beyond our control and one that should not be ignored. Please note that we did not say that we are hitting the Stop Button. After this mini detour is complete, we will get back on our horses, or… car seats, or… whatever.
In 1994, after serving in the Air Force including six months in Saudi Arabia in Operation Desert Storm, a benign giant cell tumor formed in Erik’s left ankle which devoured the entire ankle bone. In a series of operations over the course of about one year, the tumor was successfully removed, the remaining void was filled with bone cement, and the subtalar joint was fused, thereby disallowing any further ability to tilt his ankle joint side to side. The doctors at the V.A. hospital in the Twin Cities told Erik that these procedures would last for 10 years, at which time he would most likely need an artificial ankle. If you did the math, you noticed that that was 18 years ago.
Although fortunate that the relief provided by these procedures lasted much longer than the anticipated expiration date, Erik started to feel discomfort several months ago, which has now turned into frequent pangs of pain, including while sleeping or sitting – not to mention climbing the steps of Maya pyramids. Specifically, the cartilage is no longer buffering the contact between the leg bone and the ankle.
Therefore, we have decided that Erik needs to return to the Twin Cities for medical attention. This is tricky to coordinate: since Erik cannot make an appointment for his consultations until he returns to the U.S., we have no idea how long this entire delay will last (incl. travel time, appointment scheduling, recuperation time, physical therapy, etc.).
So…. here’s the plan:
Erik will drive (yes, drive) back to the U.S. with Apollo to have this all taken care of. While there, Apollo can also get a thorough examination from a trusted mechanic. Since Erik can also use this time to take care of accumulated mail and purchase some more supplies for our trip (like replacement flip-flops, water filters, or pillow cases) having Apollo will be very convenient for him. When all is complete (we are expecting this to take four to five months, but we honestly have no idea) Erik will drive back to Mexico.
And Pepe? Pepe will stay in Mexico. After staying with a friend awhile in Puebla, Pepe will return to… wait for it… Oaxaca. (How many of you saw that coming?) Pepe has big plans for his time alone, so it should hopefully be very productive on many fronts.
We decided that there really is no reason for Pepe to accompany Erik back to the States (where he would once again have to be known as “Joe”). We are confident in the whole situation with the surgery (it’s not life-threatening); there would be very little for him to do in the U.S. all those months while waiting for Erik; and for Pepe to fly back to Mexico would be an expense we just don’t want or need to pay. He is going to have his own solo adventure in a different country hopefully perfecting his skills in his newest language. It’ll be fun, right?
Because the purpose of our trip is not about being inside the truck but exploring, walking, hiking, climbing, working, etc. we feel that it is best that Erik get the medical attention he needs and then we can resume our adventure without concern. In fact, we have had to cancel a Help Exchange stay in Belize because we feared that his ankle would prevent Erik from fully participating.
So there it is.
Two more things:
1. If you want to see Erik while he is in Wisconsin or Minnesota, please contact him. Although we don’t know exactly the timeline of how this will play out, Erik would love to have visitors, well-wishers, and friendly faces come see him as he is recovering.
2. Pepe would love to have e-mails from his friends and family while he is alone in Mexico. Please don’t forget about Pepe.
To send us e-mail, just go to the Contact Us page. It’s SO easy.
As usual, we will continue to provide updates via this website and we will work on updating the calendar to reflect our new predicament. We won’t be posting any surgical photos (you’re welcome) but we will let every one know how this fork in the road is playing out. And Pepe may do some exploring of Mexico on his own, so he will share those adventures as well.
And be sure to check out our Quotes page – updated specifically for our new situation!
Thanks for understanding, and please stay in touch -
Erik, Pepe, & Apollo