My rental car’s brakes failed, stray dogs chased me up a hill, and dozens of mosquitoes greeted me in my hostel shower–all in one day. The other 48 days of my Puerto Rican adventures were a breeze in comparison.
I sat through flash rainstorms in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central and swam with bioluminescent microbes and radio astronomers–but only the microbes lit up. I visited lost Spanish colonial towns and the remnants of a Cold War American Air Force base.
The results are in the second edition of Let’s Go: Puerto Rico, researched in the summer of 2005 and published in 2006.
My first writing gig was researching and writing for the Let’s Go Southwest USA: Adventure Guide. I put over 5,000 hot desert miles on my parents’ trusty and eventually very dusty Corolla. The marks from my mountain bike still grace the back seat.
I covered parts of California and central and southern Arizona. I slept under the stars and cooked breakfast while the sun woke the desert. People took me into their homes from Tucson to Winslow and I fell under the spell of Flagstaff, beneath the slopes of Humphreys Peak.
I learned how to get answers from strangers, how to write from the road, and how to hit deadlines before they could hit me.