After managing a chagrined "Sorry, folks" out the window—as much as the crowd loved it, he should have stopped, gotten out and taken a bow—Evans bounced back on the road and accelerated from the scene. The right front fender blew away; the hood flapped up and down. "Terrific," he muttered.
The codriver heard the barbed wire dragging behind the truck and the fenceposts clanking at the wire's end, like a honeymoon car with tin cans tied to its bumper.
"Looks like we're taking back a souvenir," he said. "Maybe we should stop and put a JUST MARRIED sign on the tailgate."
"All right, that's enough," replied Evans. He didn't like the idea.
And so they brought to the finish line half a bale of barbed wire wrapped around the axles, an engine powered by a multiplying army of midget gardeners, a hood that kept trying to stand up and jump overboard and a left front fender looking over its shoulder and wondering where its partner was. They were greeted in Ensenada as if they had liberated Mexico, by a crowd that included the Dirt film crew and Dolline Evans, who carried a fresh cowboy hat for her husband—powder blue. Later that night he would change into his dinner hat—chocolate brown.
They had finished third overall, and first in the two-seater class, 17 minutes ahead of Tim Crabtree and Earl Stahl. The first two single-seat buggies, the Ferro-Stewart team and John Johnson, had been faster by 28 and 20 minutes respectively. They had started first and second and neither had seen another buggy along the way, which meant no dust. Also, their brakes worked (although Ferro had driven most of his half without second gear). In Baja, they will be talking about the year Walker Evans won his class with no brakes for a long, long time—maybe even as long as they've been talking about the year he won his class with a steering wheel that was connected more to his hands than anything else.
The codriver was slow to climb out of the truck. When he did make his way out the window, someone remarked as to how he was sort of walking funny, hunched over and all, and trying to touch his shoulder blades with his ears—or was he trying to separate his shoulder blades from his ears?
"How did you like the ride?" asked a lady.
That was a tough question to answer at the finish line. But the codriver tried. "Well, put it this way," he said. "I learned at least one thing. Never ride in a pickup truck with a cowboy."