I think he said Gilroy

Long Tales from an Epic Sesh Episode 44

by Clark Merritt


There is nothing more cruel a punishment, more inhumane a deed, or desperate an act, than to detain a band of Seshporados from their appointed jibes . But yet day after day, Mischievous Fate in the form of Bosses, Spouses, Officers of the Law, and Hatters of every size and description , the world over, commit this most heinous of windsurfing crimes (mostly oblivious to their blunder). Equally so, there are no less spectacular, reactions and recourses in the form of daring attempts to feel the rush of wind in our faces and raw natural power at our feet. This is a cosmic thing, a sort of Ying/Yang discomfiture, the type of thing that keeps worlds spinning ‘round. Trust me on this one, Irma Mallon, a partime mystic guru and print salesbetty, swore it’s true and by God, that’s good enough for me.

I recall the final days of “Old Yeller”, Bob Bourget’s battery acid etched, yellow stained white Ford pickup camper. It had served us faithfully for years. But after so much abuse it began to become decrepit and senile. Even short distance sorties became adventures. There was a time in particular, when it hadn’t blown on the Southern California coast for weeks. Modaddy, Bob and I were desperate to sail, so a long shot sesh was scheduled for Jalama with hopes of at least a puff or two. Confident in our mission we left Malibu in the early morn and headed toward the Ventura Freeway, passing dangerously close to the State Hospital at Camarillo. “Old Yeller” began to spit and sputter as we neared the Conejo grade. We were about to cross the railroad tracks, when the signal lights began flashing red, and the black & white barrier began its decent. Minutes passed before we saw the train approaching. It was a long northbound half empty freight train moving slowly towards the crossing.

Midway through the train’s passing, the truck began overheating, belched out a puff of white smoke and died. To make matters worst, the train stopped 5 cars short of clearing the crossing, leaving us stranded at the gate. Mo, anxiety ridden from having missed the most meager of sail seshes in favor of work, gritted his teeth and cursed under his breath. It was easy for him to blame Bob, as their bitter crushing political defeat was still fresh on his mind. As we sat there looking at an empty open freight car in front of us, Mo broke the silence. “Once again we’ve trusted you with our Seshwans, and once again you’ve let us down. You little jerk! I’ve seen this train cruise right by the Jalama campground and I further bet you that it would make it there before this old tramp steamer. You can hop off the train off with ease, just above the park and trot down to the camp store on the beach ”. Mo was hot now. I could tell because his voice rises up an octave and he squeaks while ranting. “I bet I can jump that freight and greet you at the camp store with a half eaten Jalama burger in my hand, as you pull up”. That was all it took for Bob to invite him to try. The train suddenly groaned and lurched forward interrupting the argument. “Better hurry Mo, and may the best man win”. Bob taunted. Mo incensed, jumped out of the cab of the truck and struck out for the open freight car. He made it easily and gave us a hand gesture as the train picked up speed. I glanced down at the seat where Mo had been sitting and noticed he had accidentally left his wallet. Picking it up I said to Bob. “ I hope he won’t need this ”. Bob just smiled back and muttered, “ I hope he does ”. It took about 20 minutes to restart the truck. We were confident that we would catch up and pass the train before Rincon. At the Ventura overhead we passed it, meandering its way north. But the tricky part would be the back half of the trip. Santa Barbara traffic and our detour inland, would give Mo an advantage....that and “Old Yeller’s” finicky disposition. We lost sight of the coastal train tracks as we veered inland on the San Marcos’ Pass. “Old Yeller” decided that 40 MPH was all we would get, adding a bit of excitement and intrigue to the race.

42 cows, 3 tarantulas and a tinkelatorium stop later, we caught first sight of the ocean showing white caps to the horizon. “Allreeet! Gonna have me a seshwansail !!” Bob screamed. It seemed to take an eternity to reach the park. We drove straight to the camp store with grimacing anticipation of seeing Mo grinning at the door. But there was no Mo at the door and no Mo inside. Bob now gloating, bragged, “ Well now, I guess we beat him... lets drive up to the tracks and giveum a real welcome wagon ”. We only had to wait about 3 minutes to see that familiar train headlight rattling up the tracks. Something was wrong though. Instead of the train cruising at a leisurely pace, it was doing about 70 mph. No way could Mo survive the fall. It would be suicide to jump off . The train engineer sounded his horn, warning us of his approach. We stood back by the truck wondering if Mo was even on the train. As it roared past us it took another couple of minutes to see the last of the cars. Off in the distance near the back , we could see Mo, half hanging out of the freight car with a crazed panicked look. His long hair beat time against his squinting eyes and fearful face. He was screaming something at us as he passed by in an instant. “Whudhesay?“ I asked. Bob replied “ Sounded like “Meet me in Gilroooyy “. “Gilroy!!? Isn’t that the town that grows all the garlic, way up by Santa Cruz.” I questioned. “Yeah” Bob snickered, “And we got his wallet. Not only that, its Garlic Festival Week and you know how much Mo loves the stuff “. (That wasn’t really accurate, as Mo had troubles with processed garlic, it gave him the squirts and a wicked wind) “Maybe we should leave now and follow him?” I asked. Bob grinned at me and answered “ Naw...We oughta go sailing first! Besides, that’s what he’d do to us if things were reversed ”. So sail all day we did. And during our brief breaks on the beach, we planned Mo’s rescue from Gilroy- Or would it be the other way around?. Stay tuned for part two...”Ohh Those Wicked Winds of Gilroy” ........Will Doughless Mo and his ailments be driven from a dazed and delirious Gilroy? Will we rescue him in time for a much needed seshwansail ? Read on in the next episode ....preferably from a safe distance upwind.