For years before my death, I had decided I would never leave the country. The main reason is because I have zero confidence in my safety anywhere else. The horror stories you hear about – those of Americans being targeted, kidnapped or arrested in some foreign land - are more than enough to discourage me from being one more victim. Besides, there are probably a thousand places in the US I would find interesting to visit that I have never seen.
Even so, I can say that I have been in Canada and Mexico. It’s no big deal, but it’s kind of interesting that in both cases… it was barely.
In 1973 between semesters of college, I went on the wheat harvest crew – custom cutting. We began in southern Oklahoma and followed the harvest north all the way to the Canadian border. We literally cut a field that was on the border. We had five combines and would stair-step such that each swath around the field would be five combines wide. I was fifth of the five. When we turned to cut the first swath along the fence line, I put it in neutral, hopped off, and jumped over the fence.
At least in northern Montana where we were, the border has two fences running parallel to each other. Both are about four feet high with barbed wire and the space between them is roughly 20’ as I recall. I don’t know who owns the land between the fences, so to be sure I made it to Canada, I ran to the second fence, jumped over it and then re-jumped over both fences and back to the combine. It’s conceivable that I personally own the world record for the shortest stay in Canada in history – which was maybe 2-3 seconds.
My time in Mexico was slightly longer. In 2003, I went to visit my brother Mike who lives in El Paso. When there, we did what a lot of tourists do, we went across the border to Juarez. Once you cross, you can take buses around to the different tourist traps where I picked up a few odds and ends. We also ate at a restaurant. And, I didn’t follow the advice … “Don’t drink the water.” Yes, I got the runs. We were only there 4-5 hours, but I got to say I went to Mexico.