Monday, September 18, 2006


Saw this great post on the Oregon Surf Page from a regular, although semi-infrequent poster...on his trip down south recently, the real deal...Thanks, Paul.

~All images filched from the interweb...

Headed south on the 18th of August, straight through Kalifornia to my parents' place in San Clemente. My aunt, dying of brain cancer, was there, along with my Alzeimer's father--a study in remembrance. Actually, as my cousin Judy noted, if you talk about the distant past, they can follow and go along with you. Otherwise, the day gets lost in hours, the hours in minutes--a long, sad goodbye.

Crossed the border at noon, got the requisite papers, took the toll road south to Ensenada. The build-up along the coast has been drastic to severe. Not that I'd recognize much from the early sixties when this was all open coast--everything is closed off and lost, gone to trafficante high rise hotels and fences.

At 181 kilos, turned into Coyote's Cals; this is a hostel (formerly bad-mouthed on OSP) that is a really good-hearted place, with kids from all over the world. Everyone cooked together, ate together. There was a big bin of free rice and one of beans for whoever forgot food, but this bright English kid made us a giant cecviche, a couple from Oregon joined in, and everyone benefited. No waves, north Baja fog.

A day later at Cuatro Casa, ran into a whole crew of surfers tuned to a southwest. I'd been here ten years ago at Leo Hetzel's Trailer with Tom Mabie and my son Drew. No waves. Since--bad stories of meth robberies on Wanna Surf. Not true. New hostel. Tough but fair folks in charge, good vibes--though you still camp in broken-glass dust. Waves came up and we rode three days.

Terrible thing I did: nearly killed out-of-work-glasser from Santa Cruz with botched take-off on epoxy board. Well, what can one say? He was ok, after all, I saw fin splitting his skull, but it missed. Many good rides, good conversation, beautiful pelicans.

A longboarder and I had a nice goodbye after vying with each other on a hundred waves--he is going to be a chiropractor, and help us align. Struck south to catch the hurricane surf at Cabo. Intense long driving through the desert by myself,

At San Ignacio, halfway down, full of usual Mexico fears, I encountered two Oregon girls from Portland--both lookers--who had ridden bicycles for two months through Baja. You should have seen them! They were gorgeous and strong and headed north.
Crossed to the Gulf, through Santa Rosalia, where schoolgirls wrote their names on my dusty rear window above Velzey decal, then through Mulege, Loreto.

Stayed a night, drove south to Todos Santos. Way too hot in the tropics, San Pedrito breaking surprisingly well. Pressed on to Cabo. Horrific Las Vegas scene of hotels. But will catch hurricane swell at east cape breaks, I told myself.

Woke up in trailer park on Thursday morning, sick, crap between trailers with shovel in the sand--the sky was terrible gun-metal gray. On way to farmacia for Immodium, noticed locals in long lines at Pemex stations. It dawned on me--they're filling up because the hurricane is coming.

Decision time. I came all the way south to surf for three weeks, and, now what?--I'll turn around? Packed-up and headed north. Passed army trucks full of helpful soldiers headed south. Over the range and down to La Paz, noted line of electrical repair trucks awaiting the hurricane. At army checkpoint north of La Paz, where there had been a hundred soldiers, one lone recruit stood, asked me, "Esta vienedo--la hurricano?" "Sí, y las nubes son oscuro, compañero." He shuddered.

Not without reason. Storm passed right through there, big floods. Made it Cuidad Constiucion, booked motel, shat, slept. Got up quick next morning, rain on the windschield, and keep driving. Strange to say I passed through Loreto and Mulege a day before they were inundated with floods. Mulege was wiped-out, lives lost--most of the peninsula the same--twenty feet of water down the rios and vados.

Ran into remnants of Scorpion Bay surfers in Guerrero Negro--"When we left, it looked like a ghost town." Everyone smart enough split--roads through Baja were to be washed out everywhere. Hurricane Juan chased me to the border and beyond.

Best moment later: I gave a ride to a backpacker coming from Burning Man in Cloverdale, California. We rode over to the Mendecino coast. Entering the first redwoods and water I'd seen (coming from the Burning Land as he had come from the Burning Man), he said, lighting a spliv, "Now we're back in Cascadia."


rob70 said...

Wild. I was at Quatros Casas on the same swell as this guy. Not sure who he was though.

Ralph the Glasser from Santa Cruz had to be one of the most mellow guys i've surfed with. He's not out of work... he's into a new line of work... ding repair. Says it's more profitable for him and less fumes.

Because of Ralph, we all pretty much stayed in a rotation all day. It started when he looked at me and said... "You're up." It only takes one good guy.