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Thread: Doniston: The Last Post

  1. #1

    Default Doniston: The Last Post

    Some of you remember Doniston,, fondly or otherwise. The following message I got from his son provides some context:

    Hello, I hesitate to message you, but as you and several others had long conversations with my dad (Doniston) about his plans to travel to Nicaragua and then Costa Rica a few years back, I thought I would let you know that sadly, he passed away last month at the age of 90. I watched these conversations and as heated and nasty they became at times, you seemed to have the kindest responses (even though I realize he didn't always deserve them). As difficult (and unbelievable) as they were to observe, I am very thankful that they occurred.
    As you could see, he was a very stubborn man and no one could talk him out of these plans. I know some thought he was just a troll - he wasn't. He was determined and thanks to these conversations we could see exactly what he had planned. He left around the time he said he would (about 3 years ago) and made it a far as Texas near the Mexican border. Thankfully he didn't move out of the States as I am quite sure we would never have found out about his passing.
    What he didn't say on here was that he had just broken a hip shortly before he began making these plans. He was one year healed when he left and also had lost his vision in one eye. It was truly a scary plan.
    While, I realize these forums are anonymous, I didn't want to post publicly. Perhaps you wondered what happened to him or perhaps you didn't, but I think I would have wondered and I don't mind telling you. I am not sure that his persona on here truly reflected who he was, it was just one side of him. He was a good man but insisted on living the way he wanted which clearly didn't always sit well with others and definitely thought he knew best.



    RIP, Doniston. You had the last laugh.
    I'm sorry you didn't make it,, but I'm sure you had a smile on your face as you went.
    It's always about the journey, brother, never the destination.
    You died with your boots on,, the ultimate win.

    Were you towing your trailer?

  2. #2
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    That Sucks, Sheboygan Slim, I have often wondered about him, he was sure a hard head, but aren't we all around here. I am glad he never got out of States, he would have had big issues.

    RIP
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    If anyone finds his first post please post, I found the 2nd.

    He had adventure, what the Hell, beats sitting in Sheboygan.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Well.....sounds like he died trying......and that is all a man can do, eh?

    R.I.P.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    I’m glad we got the Paul Harvey (“The rest of the story,” for the young whippersnappers).

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    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Thanx to the child of Donivan for the input. You never know if people on the internet are real, or make believe, or both!
    I saw my MIL die in a fly ridden 3rd world hospital full of strangers and there are probably better ways to die. We all do what we feel is right at the time and if we don't die first we pick up and go on.

    One interesting thing for me was to go look up my family on ancestry.com and a dropdown box said "Your family has a very short life span. This could be for many reasons, blah blah blah.." I am trying to beat the system. Living to 90 would be an incredible success.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  7. #7
    TRN Science officer bill_bly_ca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Sorry to hear about Donny - He certainly was a fiesty one

    I would have liked to read his mussings on the 3 yrs down to TX - It would have been a cuss laiden joy to absorb..

    Might let Miss Brown know - Doubt she would be interested though..


    All of my Dad's family is 70+ (He is 77) the top 8 are above 80 - One passed away at 79. On my Mom's side she is the oldest at 75 and my GM and GP both lived into their late 80's - She still has a Aunt @ 95 - But My GF on my Dad's side died at 56 (GM at 89) So it is a crap shoot for me..
    ==================================================
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    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    All of my family older than me are pushing daisies, most for a long time. Most of the neighbors I had before I moved here are likewise, with the exception of 1 who is in a nursing home. I have a nagging feeling every time I go back for a visit. I have one old friend left locally and 2 out of state. Who is still alive? One friend who doesn't do internet worries me the most. He could die and I wouldn't even know it. Maybe I'll call him for Thanksgiving or something.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  9. #9
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Man, it is too bad he didn't get back on here, you crotchety SOB's scared that old bastard off, and let us know what part of Texas he got to. Says he got to the Mexican border, most people headed south and through get to Browntown or McAllen, where I am holed up at times. If I had known I would have searched him out.

    It would be interesting to learn about his experiences in this part of the world, as it is not bad or really dangerous, but it can be a mental and physical grind that absorbs you without you knowing it. Or he started eating a bunch of flour tortillas, barbacoa and fajitas and he had a heart attack. Who knows.

    I had PM'ed him some advice about traveling through these parts and North Eastern Mexico, because when he was looking at doing it, it was a bad day at Black Rock to try and travel through. He might have made it though, kind of like a pitcher gets a batter with a change up, all the bad guys would have been slack jawed to see a 90 year old yankee, hauling a trailer in a compact humping it south.

  10. #10
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    I wonder if he was posting anywhere, that would be some interesting reading.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  11. #11

    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Or he started eating a bunch of flour tortillas, barbacoa and fajitas and he had a heart attack.


    Not a bad way to go when you think of it,, as long as you had some heartburn medicine.My next trip is through Brownsville. I've been too long taking the easy way out,, and I like Mexico too, so that is part of it, but crossing at Nogales doesn't make financial or travel time sense. Gas in Mexico is expensive, even with the devaluation. I don't understand how the Mexicans afford it. Toll roads probably cost me more than gas.

    The final straw was chatting with a friend in Condega,, Alvaro flys to Miami four times a year and drives a semi back to Nicaragua. He makes it to Nicaragua from Brownsville in four days. The icing on the cake is,, you can get a tramite on the Mexican side of Brownsville that takes you through Mexico and CA for $1200. The $1200 is more a road tax, you still pay the import of your goods into Nicaragua. Still, it's an aggravation to cross borders,, I do OK,, but often have to unload. With luck I'll eliminate the unloading.

    According to Alvaro there is no limit to what you can take for the $1200,, but you do need a detailed and accurate list.

    So, I stay on the interstate , until some point, I haven't researched it yet, then head south. I do most of my driving in the US where gas is $2.50 Gal, and where there are no tolls.

    I'll miss all my favorite spots, the shrimp in Matzatlan, but I'll find others on the east coast.

    A new chapter,, like Doniston, awaits me, as I roll inevitably down his road.
    Dying in the bosom of your family is over rated,, especially the hospital part. You come into this world alone, you leave alone.

    I wish that I had had the opportunity to meet the guy.

  12. #12
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    I haven't driven south down to the southern Mexican borders in about 10 years, give or take. The east coast route used to be easy cheesy, but the roads from Matamoros or Reynosa up until Tampico were not the best. But they have improved them, but you have to take a more circuitous route through Ciudad Victoria and such. I once made it from Browntown to Chetumal in about 35 hours, we drove hard and didn't sleep.

    Tampico may be the crookedest traffic city in Mexico, usually with US plates you will get popped, or at least it used to be that way. What I always did was tell the guy who stopped me that I had already paid the guy at the previous spot, it usually worked, but that is when they had some honor.

    I would highly recommend taking some time on the east coast route, there are some really cool things to see via that way. Tampico is actually a really nice city whose downtown was based on New Orleans, they filmed Treasure of the Sierra Madre's there. About 2.5 hours south of there is Tuxpan and Papantla, Papantla at one time was the Vanilla capital of the world, as a kid we would driver through there and you could smell the Vanilla, there are orchids galore in that area. And that is where those crazy ass bastards fly around the big tall pole hanging by their ankles, or the original spot where they developed that shit. Near there is some ruins called El Tajin, which is probably the most under visited and most neglected Mexican PreHispanic city, they got the Pyramid of the Niches, with 365 windows in it. A lot of the area hasn't or had not been dug years ago, who knows about now.

    If you really want to get off the beaten path, but I will mention that it is Indian country, about 3 hours south of Brownsville/McAllen is a city built out of shale rock up in the mountains called "El Sabinito", it is way up in the mountains and might be the northernmost Meso American city, not much has been uncovered or explored. I made it up there the first time, but was so worn out and hungover I had to have a burro named SuperMan come and get me and carry me down the hill. It is impressive.

    The Seafood in Campeche is the best I have ever eaten in Mexico, and I love Veracruz, the city of Veracruz is a super duper cool place, we used to visit there a whole bunch in pre Americanization times, I have lots of great memories and experiences there. The stretch before Veracruz is called "Costa Esmeralda" and there is some neat places to stay there beach front, if you go off season, i.e. opposite CDMX vacation times, the rates are affordable for some nice places. Overall I like the East Coast route to CentAm better just because there is more to do and see of the different variety than other routes.

    The bridge you cross into Mexico hauling the goods is actually in San Benito, Texas (Hometown of Baldemar Huerta, otherwise known as Freddy Fender) and is called Los Indios. You are better off to stay in Harlingen or McAllen than Brownsville for that jaunt. There is a "toll" to be paid to travel safely out of there nowadays, but the Central Americans do it 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of the year so it should be OK. One note, I want to say that when you take stuff through Mexico, Mexico calls it "Transmigrantes", you have to stay on a specified route, no detouring. 100% sure it used to be that way, don't know if it still is. People along the way are really nice, it used to be super, duper safe, it no longer is if you see something you are not supposed to or do not pay the toll. But there are Federal de Caminos caravans and such, kinda like the old west. So that is pretty cool.

    If you have any questions let me know and I can find out for you, and also give me a heads up and we can meet for dinner if I am around those parts.

  13. #13
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    "but was so worn out and hungover I had to have a burro named SuperMan come and get me and carry me down the hill."

    LMAO.....Were you sitting up or did they just throw you over the saddle....if any?...Sounds like something I would have done....

    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Papantla was always on my list, never made it. Wanted to see the Vanilla and the Crazy Bastards on the Poles. Figured Veracruz was cool, never got there either. Fell in Love with Oaxaca and made yearly trips for a dz or so yrs.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Never been to Oaxaca, but it sure is fun to say it.

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    sure is, wa ha ka.

    The food in the mercados there is legendary.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  17. #17
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    I did the east coast a long time ago, coming up from British Honduras with 2 hippies and a Labrador retriever. Funny. I can't remember the dog's name. I must really be getting old. We slept on the ruins in what is now the sissy resort of Tulum, drove a horrible road thru most of Q. Roo. It was like asphalt in which they had used rocks about 3X spec and then the tar wore away and it was more like a bed of nails than a road. Merida impressed me, relatively squalor free and level. Villa Hermosa was very pretty, imagine that. Slept in a grove of trees between the ocean and a luxury hotel in Veracruz. Hell, now you would have to go to the PRK to sleep and crap where ever you want. I remember the road up to Brownville as being only engineered for 45 mph so slow going but no problems.

    The border was kick ass. We pulled up and the guard politely informed us to pull over to the side, have each person put his belongings in a separate pile, and dig out a ton of papers for the Lab. Nice dog, I wonder what his name was. Anyway, as we were leaving the most outspoken hippy said. "If we had a white pickup with Texas plates and a cowboy hat they wouldn't have even stopped us". Whine, snivel, there were social justice warriors even back then.
    Not saying it wasn't true, like some of the old cowboys that hung out in my uncles's gas station in El Paso would tell stories of the old days when they would ride their horses over to Juarez, get drunk as a skunk, and the horses would bring them back across the border. Try the nowadays!

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  18. #18
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    If you want to sleep and crap wherever you want, you can go to San Francisco. As for crossing the border, now instead of being a Texas cowboy you can get across easy if you're a Mexican.

  19. #19
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Yes, a relative in the People's Republic of Santa Monica says if a wino sleeps on your porch you cannot chase him away in the morning, it would be a violation of his civil rights which will put YOU in legal troubles. You have to pay him to leave so he can go buy more booze/drugs and come back the next night.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    So... trespassing is legal there. Nice.

  21. #21
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Papantla was always on my list, never made it. Wanted to see the Vanilla and the Crazy Bastards on the Poles. Figured Veracruz was cool, never got there either. Fell in Love with Oaxaca and made yearly trips for a dz or so yrs.
    Papantla and that area is really pretty cool. I haven't been through it in a coon's age, but I will again soon I hope. That section of Mexico is usually about 10 years behind in technology and about 25 years behind in social issues. I always really liked it there.

    Oaxaca is just a magnificent place, only other place besides Texas that the Bluebonnet is native and it grows in old growth trees there, oddly enough. Or so some Aggie Hort professor told me way back when. The food in Oaxaca is majestic, I too love it as well. That whole southeastern belt of Mexico from on south of the CDMX valley is just a rich, incredible area and it is why humanity thrived there.

    One other note on the East Coast road, you get to drive right by Laguna Verde, the Mexican Nuclear Plant. That always gives me great pause and is a source of pondering for sure, who in the fuck would trust a Mexican with nuclear technology? A few miles north of Laguna Verde is another archeological site that is not visited often or popular, it too is up a mountain. Only this time my experience meter told me to say FU to the rules and regulations and a buddy and I drove up there way early in the morning and I removed all the chain gates and drove my truck up there with nary a soul around. But we did have to walk/climb the last 500 yards or so. The way I figured it SuperMan was too far to call in case of emergency.

    That site, and I can't remember the name of it, is also really interesting. Temples and stone pillars all facing the rising sun. We were there for sun up and watched the sun come up and we could see the panoramic view of the beach, the highway, the Nuclear Plant, and ancient civilization. It was pretty cool. After about an hour there a watchdude came up and chewed my ass for driving so far, he was pissed. But I bullshitted him and gave him some bones and he then turned real friendly. All we had in our cooler at that time was some Mexican softdrinks, a few beers, and about two pounds of olive loaf and pepper jack cheese. We shared an olive loaf sandwich, a couple of breakfast beers with him and for a short while we were kings.

    He related that there apparently was a large network of archeological sites all through that area, including the one we were on, but that due to property owners being connected, the ever crooked MexGov, and just bullshit in general many of the sites were unexplored, torn up, or built upon. He claimed that where the Nuclear Plant was quite a bit of history got parking lotted as the MexGov wanted no delays in the nuclear deal.

    That whole southeastern part of Mexico, and going west to the pacific, is just magnificent.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    I haven't driven south down to the southern Mexican borders in about 10 years, give or take. The east coast route used to be easy cheesy, but the roads from Matamoros or Reynosa up until Tampico were not the best. But they have improved them, but you have to take a more circuitous route through Ciudad Victoria and such. I once made it from Browntown to Chetumal in about 35 hours, we drove hard and didn't sleep.

    Tampico may be the crookedest traffic city in Mexico, usually with US plates you will get popped, or at least it used to be that way. What I always did was tell the guy who stopped me that I had already paid the guy at the previous spot, it usually worked, but that is when they had some honor.

    I would highly recommend taking some time on the east coast route, there are some really cool things to see via that way. Tampico is actually a really nice city whose downtown was based on New Orleans, they filmed Treasure of the Sierra Madre's there. About 2.5 hours south of there is Tuxpan and Papantla, Papantla at one time was the Vanilla capital of the world, as a kid we would driver through there and you could smell the Vanilla, there are orchids galore in that area. And that is where those crazy ass bastards fly around the big tall pole hanging by their ankles, or the original spot where they developed that shit. Near there is some ruins called El Tajin, which is probably the most under visited and most neglected Mexican PreHispanic city, they got the Pyramid of the Niches, with 365 windows in it. A lot of the area hasn't or had not been dug years ago, who knows about now.

    If you really want to get off the beaten path, but I will mention that it is Indian country, about 3 hours south of Brownsville/McAllen is a city built out of shale rock up in the mountains called "El Sabinito", it is way up in the mountains and might be the northernmost Meso American city, not much has been uncovered or explored. I made it up there the first time, but was so worn out and hungover I had to have a burro named SuperMan come and get me and carry me down the hill. It is impressive.

    The Seafood in Campeche is the best I have ever eaten in Mexico, and I love Veracruz, the city of Veracruz is a super duper cool place, we used to visit there a whole bunch in pre Americanization times, I have lots of great memories and experiences there. The stretch before Veracruz is called "Costa Esmeralda" and there is some neat places to stay there beach front, if you go off season, i.e. opposite CDMX vacation times, the rates are affordable for some nice places. Overall I like the East Coast route to CentAm better just because there is more to do and see of the different variety than other routes.

    The bridge you cross into Mexico hauling the goods is actually in San Benito, Texas (Hometown of Baldemar Huerta, otherwise known as Freddy Fender) and is called Los Indios. You are better off to stay in Harlingen or McAllen than Brownsville for that jaunt. There is a "toll" to be paid to travel safely out of there nowadays, but the Central Americans do it 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of the year so it should be OK. One note, I want to say that when you take stuff through Mexico, Mexico calls it "Transmigrantes", you have to stay on a specified route, no detouring. 100% sure it used to be that way, don't know if it still is. People along the way are really nice, it used to be super, duper safe, it no longer is if you see something you are not supposed to or do not pay the toll. But there are Federal de Caminos caravans and such, kinda like the old west. So that is pretty cool.

    If you have any questions let me know and I can find out for you, and also give me a heads up and we can meet for dinner if I am around those parts.


    Thank you very much. It's the details that kill you on these trips. I'm going to do a trial run in March, maybe with a trailer. I'm just not sure about my 38 foot truck,, it might be a bridge too far. You're right about the route, no way you can be a tourist and also a commercial carrier. I ran into that problem once in El Salvador,, back in the days when they really liked gringos, before Trump called the country a shithole. They let me slide,, but probably wouldn't now.

    Transiting through Nicaragua and Guatemala you only get 24 hours border to border. I don't know what it is in Mexico.

    Honduras is so damned nice now,, that it gives you pause. They don't even look at your stuff in Amotillo, friendly to the point that it gives one pause. Six hours you're in Nicaragua,, and life becomes miserable. It wasn't always that way,, quite the opposite,, the only consolation is,, they are equal opportunity culeros. Everyone gets crapped on equally.

    I probably won't be able to visit the high points going down,, but I'll come back that way as well.

    It really makes more sense than going down the west coast,,

  23. #23
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doniston: The Last Post

    That was one of my original pipe dreams that brought me here. I was going to leisurely go to the States once a year by land, seeing all the neat stuff I wanted to see like San cristobal, barranca de cobre, and assorted spots in C. A. along the way. I figured by bus, train, boat I could do a nice trip in 2 weeks, and maybe another 2 weeks coming back. Hell based on my old mochilero days the worse part of the trip was the public transit within the US! Latino Buslines saved my butt a couple times, but they didn't go everywhere I wanted, just main routes like El Paso-L.A.
    But , reality crept in. With a family and house under construction, land travel costing more than a plane (pre-situacion), and some of these countries and parts of Mexico becoming SHs long before Trump put it in words, the plan never worked. I chalk it all up to wishful thinking and vacation as best I can now. At least I saw cdmx last year for 8 days before the airlines all went whacko.

    A while back I googlemapped the route from AZ to to Nic. and saw they were pushing the jungle route that skirts the border of Belize. That bypasses Salvador big time. I didn't know if that was a real route or just stray electrons on the part of Google. They last time I drove around in that area in my old Studebaker was 1972 and there wasn't much out there. Except me, some Indians, and a bunch of Guate MPs.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


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