Long Tales from an Epic Sesh

Episode 26

"I Shot Tequila... But Did Not Shoot the Messenger"


Clark Merritt

I should have known better when Bob Bourget and Morgan (Mo) Runyon, the infamous "Malibu Gadflys", asked, then begged me to document their conquistation of Baja's mid to slightly lower Westside. Bob and Mo (A.K.A Mo-Daddy, MoMar) had grown up together in upper Malibu and spent their youth keeping the Sheriffs, truant officers and Cal-Trans workers, befuddled, perplexed and occasionally amused with their antics. Mo, when imbibing his own killdevil rum (he makes it

in the backyard for medicinal purposes) will boast of having created most of the Malibu Sheriff department's unsolved mysteries. Bob will always chime in that he is totally innocent and was just standing there at the time. In any case, to hear Mo tell it, the crimes were threaded with innocent boyhood prankishness and played only on Malibu's rich and foolish. Later on in his late teens, Mo cultivated these creative talents into the (now banned in all the Middle Eastern countries) surfing saga: Runman I, II and 69 Videos. Bob swearing loose affiliations of the movie " The Sorcerer ", touts having to leave town under the cloak of night to avoid a paternity suit. (His parents contend that it was at the Mayor's request to separate him from Mo.) For whatever the reason, it explains his vanishing and resurfacing in the obscure small hamlet of Cayucos, California. Nevertheless, Malibu Council Members admit openly "...those two gadflys' intense preoccupation with the sport of windsurfing has significantly reduced the rate of bizarre and mysterious incidents within the township, Thank God! It has however, prompted us to ban it within the confines of the city limits." Unfortunately for the Town Council, this heinous act sparked Mo's interest in running for Mayor. But that's another story.

Bob and Mo slid quietly into the ranks of the Malibu Wavesailors Association as to not arouse any disfavor from the Town Council or the displeasure of local business sponsors. Their surfing backgrounds were the perfect compliment to sailing the sideoff conditions of their old surf spot, Secos. But as with most Southern California surfsailors, their interests turned to the more stimulating conditions of Baja. Intrigued by the long tales and ballads of the mystical region of Centenario, they plotted the systematic pillaging of every southbound surf sail spot from Secos to Maregona Bay. I questioned Bob on the probability of returning to civilization by traveling in his dilapidated old Ford truck camper but failed to see his fingers crossed while he reassured me of the vehicle's fitness. Two weeks before the trip, Mo handed me a cassette of Jane's Addiction and warned me "Learn to like it....we go through one of these a trip." I would later experience the hypnotic effect the song "Slapping Yourself In The Face" has, when combined with tequila.

With the camper loaded to the ceiling and wills and testaments prepared, we left Malibu under the cover of darkness, something Bob is highly skilled at. As we climbed the southbound hill at Secos, the backdoor of the camper flew open and deposited a case of Bud Light onto the roadway at 60 MPH. Court was immediately in session and the inquisition concluded I was to blame for not securing the rear door. My punishment would be a 90 decibel fine of Jane's Addiction at 3am. Mo hopped out, threw in the case, and as he slowly slid back into the front seat, he smiled at Bob and I and bellowed......... " ALL ABOARD!... FOR THE SECOS TO CENTENARIO HELL TOUR!!!" Bob picking up his cue, punched the accelerator and let out a rebel yell. The truck lurched forward and promptly died, leaving nothing but a loud hissing noise to cut the silence of the night. "Bob?" I asked, "Did you remember to replace that worn radiator hose I told you about last trip?"

Mo reached into a bag of citrus and fished out a grapefruit. With a hot breath he moistened the peel, polishing it with his flannel shirt and bit into it, peel and all.

The juice flew across the cab hitting Bob in the eyes. "Serves ya right you little f_ _king jerk." Mo said without even looking up. Bob lunged across me, into Mo's lap and the fracas began. It would go off and on for the next 3 hours resembling two thirds of a Three Stooges show. It was later explained to me that this was not impromptu behavior but more of a long-standing ritual needed to stir the blood and circulate the precious bodily fluids. At 6am, the hose repaired, the station attendant paid and the sun peeping over Pt. Dume, we joined the mule train to L.A. more commonly referred to as the morning commute. I was beat. I only had 3 hours sleep the night before. Mo, in a weak moment of benevolence, felt sorry for me and tuned in the Howard Stern Radio Show. Howard was interviewing a man that stated he had frequently spanked Richard Simmons for money. Bob and I were skeptical but Mo swore it was true because he knew a girl who knew a guy that knew the guy......and the traffic crept along ever so slowly southbound....

Bob dozed off at the wheel doing 65 and we missed the San Ysidro exit. I only had Mo's word for it because I passed out about San Onofre. Mo, awake the whole time, decided to see how far Bobby could steer with his forehead before he got us into serious trouble. That Mo, he's such a scientist. The sound and vibration of the tires hitting the bossdots in the freeway warned us that we were about to cross the border at light speed. Bob and I, now awake, looked up in time to see two very panicked Mexican Custom Officials preparing for the collision a few hundred yards ahead. Wide eyed and in unison we sang the "O" song for 3 or 4 octaves as Mo shouted "Ramming Speed!" I quickly countermanded that order by instructing Bob to pull off into the "Last Chance Exit" and head back to San Ysidro for gas and insurance. It was deathly quiet as the camper took the curve on three wheels. As the fourth tire touched down, we slowed to a stop at the intersection. "Nice going Bob" Mo taunted. "I had you asleep for about 4 miles before the alarm went off." I reached into my bag for Mylanta. "What have I done?" I thought, "This isn't the State of California, it's a state of insanity". I normally reserve those infamous all time gut wrenches for traversing the garden path they call "to the toll road". I can't imagine what a "Toad's Ride" that would be. We decided on Day In/ Day Out insurance to save money for beer. What the Heck? This was a "Rich Myer's Adventure" in the grand tradition, and I'm sure he'd be proud. Lucky for us there was a shift change at the border because no one gave us a second look as we cruised on into Nunca Nunca Land.


Chapter Two

Hey! There Were Angels in the Architecture


110 yards into Mexico, Bob complained of exhaustion. He wanted Mo to drive and started to pull off onto a side street. Petrified at the thought, I grabbed his arm and whispered, "Are you crazy? Don't let that maniac drive us to the toll road. His idea of a speed limit is making the white lines keep time with the music and stop signs and lights are only suggested courses of action. Besides,

I've got over 10 grand worth of camera gear in the back that would look great around some TJ cop's neck.". "But I'm beat" Bob replied. "Let me put it to you this way Fosdick! How many times you been spanked driving to the toll road? "Plenty" Bob said. "That's Right" I agreed. " Now if Mo drives, you know we got excellent chance of getting popped. No Camera Gear, No photos, no photos, no photo incentives and maybe no sponsors...Get it??" "I see your point" Bob answered. "Good!, Now drive on!" Mo was preoccupied with watching several young Mexican youts attempting to remove a beach chair lashed to the rear of the camper and never knew what had just gone down.

You could say that Bob was not an overly religious young man. He does however have a plastic Virgin Mary and baby Jesus Statuette glued to the dashboard. Says he found it along the Mex 1 his first windsurfing trip to Baja while watering a bush. It was only a few yards from a turned over burned out bus. Bob thought this to be an omen and kept it for luck.

He swears it was responsible for his 2 weeks of great wind and waves. But it makes Mo nervous and uncomfortable. Mo says the baby Jesus just stares at him no matter where he sits in the truck. I was kinda happy it was there and thanked the Holy pair for the safe passage to the toll road.

It amazes me how much the area between Tijuana and Ensenada is being developed. I remember in my early Mexico surfing days, the American shanty/trailer town at Rosarita. Now it stands as a major tourist and industrial center. It reminded me of other areas much further south that were once pristine and primeval but were slowly succumbing to the ravages of human intervention.. Self proclaimed visionaries call it development, while others more tuned to the past, call it Manifest Devastation, fueled by greed. And the great Baja Land Rush begins.

There were blooming mustard plants growing everywhere. On the hills, valleys and sides of the road. Wild flowers of purple, red and blue weaved swirling patches amidst the yellow background of the mustard. It was good to see that the torrential winter rains did have some positive effect on the landscape. . Mo's interest lay off the ocean side of the camper. There were indications at every beach and point from TJ to Ensenada that a solid 6 ft West/Northwest ground swell had arrived.

That sweet thought seemed to drain the tiredness from our minds and bodies as we prepared to enter the last gauntlet of authority, Ensenada. If we could just get through this pocket of resistance we could relax till we arrived at our destination. I patted the statue as we cleared the last speed bump at Mandenero. It was clear sailing till we turned off the key at the beach.

I was in a half sleep as we traveled through the mountains. I was awakened by Bob proclaiming

"There Baaack! in a falsetto voice. Out in the middle of nowhere was the dreaded Federale drug

and gun checkpoint roadblock. I hadn't seen one of those in over 2 years. Not since ole Willy Bill

had to do his body cavity search for carpet stash. I wasn't worried though, Bob and Mo had since

refined their acts to the more prudent of vices.

During the summer months Bob is a State Lifeguard at Leo Carrillo. His State lifeguard auto decal earned the respect of the Feds who considered Bobby to be a fellow peace officer. Bob has since learned to milk this dry. We were asked the usual questions, gave the usual answers and were on our way. I wondered if anyone ever admitted to carrying drugs or weapons when ask by the Federales.

The bridge at Colonet had been devastated by flooding from the winter storms. There was a hour wait to cross the makeshift levee so we decided to turn off the key and do some exploring. There is a very old Catholic church hidden away by the overgrown willows just off the creek bed. It was deserted now, probably because of the yearly flooding. There were all kinds of ornate stone artworks on the corners where the walls met the ceiling. I had been wearing a walkman with headphones playing Paul Simon's Graceland tape. My attention was drawn to one piece depicting

angels blowing horns just as Paul sang about there being Angels in the architecture. Strange.

Mo, miffed, stayed outside by the creek, complaining of being stared down by the stone faces.

There were several other washouts and delays as we traveled south. We paid our dues to the nurses standing in the road soliciting money for the Red Cross. I only remembered, at the most 2 of these stations, this trip I counted 6.

I won't bother to bore you with the details of how we came to arrive at our destination. Those tedious instructions of where to turn left at what cactus and what washout, the left, right or middle or what mountain resembles what famous 1950s TV kiddie show host.. That would spoil your true spirit of adventure. Besides, there are enough cads, both foreign and domestic, that have already done that for you.