It was a classic road trip – 3,114 km, 4 guys, surf boards, 2 cars, no money and a wedding on the Baja in the middle of winter. In the first 24 hours one of our cars, the Honda Civic the reliable one, caught fire in Oregon and burnt in a parking lot just off the I5. Now just to let you know what kind of guys I was traveling with, we couldn’t stop laughing we honestly thought this was one of the funniest things we had ever seen. I was the one driving, I sort of noticed the heat gauge was no longer measuring heat but didn’t pay much attention. I did notice though when the needle decided to take a rest and lie at the far left of the gauge. I pulled over, popped the hood and pulled the oil stick – it was smoking – then the flames started. We slammed the hood, grabbed our stuff and left it with the pink slip and phone number on the dash board and took off. (We left the pink slip in case anyone wanted it. Funny thing – a couple of months later some guy phoned and asked if he could have the car – it was still sitting in the same parking lot!)
We got to the small town of Bahai Asuncion, a small hurricane hole on the Pacific side of the Baja, 28 hours later to what was an unusually green desert. We were told that they had received unheard amounts of rain early in December and the desert looked like a golf course. The road in looked like it had been used for bombing practice but the ’71 Maverick was a trooper and got all 4 of us there in one piece. The wedding rocked, it seems Mexicans know how to through a big party. A couple of days before Christmas we asked the local surfers where we could find the best surf. The directions were as follows – follow the road out of town, after 2 miles you will see a beer bottle on a stick turn left there and drive through the desert (no road) until you get to the sand dunes. Park. Head across the sand dunes towards the ocean until you get to the cliff. Take the treacherous path down to the beach and you are there. Seemed easy enough.
The break was small, thank god, and we were having a great session until, well until something moved under my foot. I was waist deep in froth and couldn’t see a thing. Now I realize that currents move sand around under your feet especially when waves are breaking all around you but this was different, this was alive…and it was going to hurt me. That thought proved true. - I had stepped on a sting ray and it had driven a spine into my foot. The pain was insane. I dragged myself onto the beach and yelled to the other guys. The spine had shattered in my foot and blood was running down my leg. I didn’t know what to do. Should I get someone to pee on it? I couldn’t remember if that was for Sea Urchins, sting rays or getting rid of skunk smell. I decided to keep that to myself until I could look it up.
The problem now was how were we going to get me back up to the car? There were cliffs and dunes and would we ever find the stick with the beer bottle on it? All good questions at the time. Through sheer will power, crawling and the fact the Omar knew how to do a fireman’s lift they got me back to the car. The part about not finding the road or the stick with the beer bottle was valid though. I would pass out and come to and during one of the come-to times I heard Rod, the driver, whisper to the other guys, “I don’t really know where we are. I think we are lost”. I think I screamed before things went black.
Finally what seemed like a millineum later we were back in town. I was taken to the hut which the locals referred to as the “hospital” and someone went to look for the doctor. Seems he had just got a new truck and was cruising the strip. Oh goody. I had some needles to numb my foot, actually I had a lot of needles to numb my foot. The surgery went well. A half hour later I was lounging in someone’s 2 room house and receiving guests from all over the village. I was regaled with so many stories of sting ray hits that it soon became obvious that this was just a right of passage for a surfer (or fisherman).
The trip didn’t end there. There was the building fire in Tijuana, the car finally breaking down in the middle of the Baja, the machine guns in LA and the crazy car crash in the PCH outside of Malibu. But I think those would be best left for another rainy day.
I love the idea of surfing and the effervescence that surrounds it. One day I may even learn how to do it properly but for now all I know is “surfing hurts”. Oh yeah and like the surfer “dude” in the bank in Ensenada said to me a couple of days later,”shuffle don’t step” – if only I had known!
.Sincerely, Rich and the CC Bosses
If you have a second check out the latest sale. http://www.canadiancartel.com and don’t forget to invite a friend!