Road Trip Part 3: Guatemala – Huehuetenango to Casablanca

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I’d just finished clawing my way out of yet another crowded, congested, and confusing Central American city, woven tight with a seemingly haphazard maze of narrow, bumpy, noisy streets where cars stopped, turned, parked, and passed with no discernable attention to any sort of procedure.  I had given up on camping long ago, so each day was planned around the goal of reaching some destination with a hotel by about 4 pm.  Today’s target was Escuintla, about 40 km inland from the Pacific coast of Guatemala and roughly 140 km from the El Salvador border.  I had decided to avoid Guatemala City and take a westerly route which would take me from Guatemala directly into El Salvador instead of crossing through Honduras first. I was following the CA-1-Pan […]

Road Trip Part 3: Guatemala: San Cristobal, Mexico to Huehuetenango, Guatemala

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As much as I loved San Cristobal, and would have stayed longer if I could, I tore myself away around 10 am and headed south across the mountains, anxious to reach my first international border crossing into Guatemala.  I followed the same highway 190 that took me into San Cristobal on to the Guatemala border where it officially becomes the CA-1, the Pan American Highway.  San Cristobal sits at an altitude of about 7000 feet and Huehuetenango is at about 6200 feet so I have a full day feast of mountain driving ahead of me. I am fascinated by an increasing sense of contrast as I travel further into the heart of Central America.  The geography is breathtaking and some of the buildings, particularly the Iglesia […]

Road Trip – Part 2: Mexico – Veracruz to San Cristobal

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Finally, an uneventful but rewarding day of travel.  I’ve gotten my cold under control, the roads are well paved and with one small exception, I knew where I was going most of the day. I got up early as usual and was out  on the streets to explore Veracruz well before daylight.  Veracruz was the primary port city of Mexico during the 1500’s when first Hernando Cortez, and later Ponce de Leon, arrived to settle and govern what was then referred to as “New Spain”.  It’s now a clean, bustling, cosmopolitan maritime city of roughly a half million people. The Mexican Navy Academy is near the hotel where I stayed.  It was pristine as I suppose a Navy facility is expected to be. One of the most […]

Road Trip – Part 2: Mexico – Tampico to Veracruz

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Mexicans aren’t early risers. I was up  again about 4 am and got my mapping done and then spent some time reorganizing things in the car.  After a quick, cold shower, I headed out about 8 am.   My first stop was the local McDonalds to do some internet work and then I headed out to try to find a Nissan dealership that I had spotted while driving around the previous afternoon. My car’s check engine light had come on a couple of times and I didn’t want to add car trouble to my already long list of mishaps. I found the dealership but they were swamped. It would be the end of the day before they could even look at the car.  But, they […]

Road Trip – Part 2: Mexico – Linaries to Tampico

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I woke about 4 am in my second floor room at the Hotel El Angel just off the public square in Linaries.  I made some instant coffee in my room and spent the next couple of hours studying my atlas to make sure that I had a good route for the next leg of my trip.  I planned to continue south, tracing a path down the east side of the mountains along highway 85 until I reached Ciudad Victoria at which point I would bear eastward toward the coast on highway 83, to 81 and finally to 80 into Tampico which sits about 10 km from Gulf of Mexico coast. At six am the bells rang in the town square; a quaint sound that seemed to […]

Road Trip – Part 2: Mexico – Nuevo Laredo to Santiago Linaries

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So, this is it. Day 1 in Mexico. I headed out about 7 am and by 7:15 I was  queued up and ready to cross the border.   On my first trip through, which admittedly, did seem all too easy, I got all the way to the interior checkpoint (about 50 km inland) before discovering that I needed a vehicle permit.  I knew that I would need a permit in most countries but as I crossed the border at Laredo it seemed like all they wanted was for me to keep moving, so that’s what I did.  So I ticked off an hour lost as I turned around and headed back to the border to get the required vehicle permit. The US/Mexico border crossing works […]

Road Trip – Part 1: Kansas City to Laredo

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It wasn’t the most fortunate of circumstances that led to this move.  But it’s not uncommon for that to be the type of situation that leads to change so here I am.  It’s Christmas morning and I am preparing to leave the US and cross the border into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I left my home in Kansas on December 23rd after having sold all of my furniture and most of my belongings except for what I could pack into and on top of the 1998 Nissan Pathfinder that I purchased for the trip.  I probably tried to hang on to too much but that’s just my nature.       The drive from my home in Kansas to here at the border was almost exactly […]

Road Trip – Introduction

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In 2010, in the lingering wake of the 2008 market crash that had hit me hard, I decided to fulfill a dream to take up residence outside of the US.  I wasn’t sure where so I knew that I needed to do some wandering first.  Over the course 21 days I drove from Kansas City to David, Panama and then doubled back to settle in the central valley in Costa Rica where I lived for the next 2 years.  I blogged the drive as it unfolded and am republishing an updated account of my trip here. Next up: Road Trip – Part 1: Kansas City to Laredo By: Bob LaGarde Originally published December 23rd, 2010 at Updated April 22nd, 2016

Fear and Persuasion: The 200 Year Old Case for Life Long Education

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For many, many generations families have routinely devoted an hour or two, and sometimes more, each week to attending church services and Sunday school classes to receive instruction on religious beliefs and its application to life in society.  According to a Pew Research, about 37% of adult Americans claim to attend church services at least once a week.  I’m going to question this practice and ask why people would devote such time and adherence to the maintenance and application of religious beliefs and not at least an equal amount of time and attention to the more dynamic body of empirical knowledge to be found in science and secular academics?  I raise this question in relationship to a consideration of how fear operates on cognitive decision-making […]

More on Sovereignty: The Marketplace Fairness Act

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The misdirection starts with the name. The Marketplace Fairness Act isn’t about fairness at all. It’s about imposing the burden of calculating, collecting, reporting and remitting the consumer use taxes (sales tax) for all of the nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions in the country onto merchants selling online regardless of whether the merchant has connections to the state and it’s taxing jurisdictions. The misdirection continues with the primary proponent of the Act, the Streamlined Sales Tax organization, putting their energy into political activism – getting as many states on board as possible – rather than on policy solutions that address the complexities and liabilities of the existing taxation landscape which are the primary obstacle to gaining the willing cooperation of online merchants.