This story is based on a cross–country motorcycle trip the author made in the summer of 1968 with his older brother and two friends. The principal characters of The Trip, Tino, Sal, Gary, and Patrick, are based on the four young men who made the trip. Tim (Patrick), Gerry (Gary), Tony (Sal), and Armando (Tino). The novel is a mix of fact and fiction. For example, The Trip’s route is factual, while some of the events in the story were created by the author.
The Trip — Speeding toward the cliff at the end of the world, is available on Amazon
America in the late 1960s serves as the backdrop for THE TRIP.
The country, like a snake shedding its old skin for new, was in the process of shedding its skin.
1968 proved to be a pivotal year in America ’s history. Women were steady marching toward breaking narrowly defined social roles. The National Organization of Women (NOW) had a few years under its belt and began flexing its muscles. They demonstrated outside the Miss America Pageant saying it was “exploitive of women.”
The Vietnam War hit its peak in 1968, (more U.S. servicemen were killed that year than any year before or after.) The draft, a true to life villain, loomed over every young man ’s head. The country, once pro war, had turned against it and massive anti-war demonstrations took place in major cities. The Democratic National Convention in Chicago saw anti-war demonstrations led by national figures such as Bobby Seale with the Black Panther Party, Tom Hayden and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and the Youth International Party, (Yippies), and The Women ’s Strike Force for Peace. The demonstrations soon turned into riots.
Citizens across the nation turned on the evening news to see National Guard troops with fixed bayonets supporting helmeted police wielding billy clubs beating demonstrators, dragging them into paddy wagons and carting them off. Even news reporters were roughed up by the Chicago Police.
Bobby Kennedy, a shoe-in for the presidency, was assassinated in June of 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death in April and race riots broke out in over 100 cities across the country. Thousands of buildings were burned to the ground.
International news programs showed white racists, and racist law enforcement departments attacking black people in the South who were only demonstrating for the same rights as white people.
Hippies were roaming the country in 1968: hitchhiking, in VW bugs and vans, or in brightly painted busses converted into mobile homes. Hippies were looking to free themselves from a culture of consumption and waste. The hippies looked to establish a counter-culture with its own dress, language, music, and art. Hippies turned away from alcohol and toward marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote.
In summer of 1968, nineteen-year-old Tino Caballero feeling shackled by his Mexican-born parents ’ old world culture, and the many demands of the Catholic Church, joined, Sal his older brother, on a cross-country motorcycle trip. Tinos ’ father, whose word was law, had mandated that Tino register for college instead of making the trip, but Tino was not going to miss out on the adventure of a lifetime and sneaked off when his father was sleeping before his graveyard shift at the trucking company. Tino would face the consequences, perhaps a beating, after the trip.
And so began Tino ’s personal odyssey that would forever change his life. Tino, like a snake shedding its skin, shed his old life for a new one.
I asked a friend to read and comment on a later edit of THE TRIP. He called me when he had finished and said, “What at a ride!”
“You’ve written the Chicano version of The Odyssey,” said another reader. And a newspaper columnist said “congratulations, you’ve written the latest hero ’s journey.” A boy leaves on a long and dangerous trip; a man returns.
I am flattered by these assessments, but in the end, each reader will have his/her own take on it. I hope that you enjoy it. I only worked on it for ten f _ _ _ _ ing years! And the last six of those ten years were seven days a week! In the writing studio between 5:00 and 6:00 AM and out between 9:00 and 11:00 depending on how the writing was going that day.
THE TRIP is a very masculine story, although the female characters are strong, wise, and some powerful. I didn’t set out to make the female characters strong, they just evolved as the story progressed.
I have a deep affinity for women, not in the obvious way of carnal attraction, no, much beyond that. I was raised in a very macho household from Pa, big, strong, imposing to my older brother Tony, macho, mentally strong, a surrogate father figure who wasn’t shy about keeping me and my twin brother, Fernando in line, and Fernando, who tried his damndest to emulate Pa’s macho ways. Me, not so much. Ma and my older sisters were always loving, gentle, and kind to me, and I’ve never forgotten it. Love you to pieces Ma, Ana, Carolyn, Martha, and Carmen.
“In his first novel, noted poet Armando García-Dávila, uses his poetic skills to tell a story of youthful exuberance and discovery in the magical realism style of Latino authors such as Isabel Allende and Gabriel García-Márquez.”
“Armando García-Dávila takes us on a trip of a lifetime as four friends travel cross-country on their motorcycles in the turbulent 1960s. The experience of his main character, Tino, are poignant, funny, mind-bending, and life-changing as he grapples with the issues confronting him: his first true love, racial tension, the morality of war, a wafer of LSD in his pocket, and hot to gain the respect of his dominating father. Every page is an adventure as Tino matures from a naïve boy into a strong man.”
Initially, The Trip began as a memoir, though García-Dávila evolved the book into a fantastical novel infused with creative license that he says is loosely based on the Odyssey.
“It’s the hero’s journey-a boy leaves on a long dangerous journey and a man returns,” says García-Dávila. “And along the way, he has to face his deepest fears.”
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