"Lost & Spanked by Fate"
From the Longwinded Saga "Long Tales from an Epic Sesh"
by Clark Merritt
Wots happened so far...
Mo daddy, West Malibus native son, made it a point to introduce himself to every government official, elected or appointed, while growing up in Malibu. This eventually led to him running for Mayor on the now infamous "Sticky Wicket Ticket." With the impressionable young Bob Bourget, (his longtime chum and campaign manager) at his side, they ended their political careers together with a horrible suicidal defeat. Mo never really recovered emotionally and as any local resident will tell you, Malibu has never been the same since.
I came on the scene much later without incident or inconvenience to anyone. How we came to be friends and traveling companions is lost in the clouds of the past. However Traig Trumbo still swears to anyone wholl listen that he is responsible. Maybe so but wed never admit it out of devilishness.
It was conclusive to all that even remotely knew us (including spouses, concubines and small pets) that Mo, Bob & I , (OK even Traig) had suffered long enough. We felt fortunate to receive the most meager of conditions after three years of wind drought and had all but forgotten what primo conditions really are. Distraught, Mo began taking golf lessons, but being on a tight budget had substituted young unripe avocados for the more traditional dimpled balls. After only a week on the tees, the course marshall was convinced to not press charges if he gave up the sport. Bob & I pursued college & career with little satisfaction. Alternatives exhausted, we turned to the obvious. It was off to Baja and back to Centenario.
Knowing that hijinks and fortune favor the knave, we felt confident that our troubles would be left behind us as we sought our rewards southward. Rationalizing a series of minor incidents as "paying our Baja Dues" we plunged face first into Nunca Nunca Land, still dazed from poor planning and lack of sleep.
Sucessfully passing through the TJ gauntlet to the toll road, took the edge off. So did the brief surfsesh at Roonies. When we returned the beach chair was gone from the side of the camper but its lashings were neatly coiled and placed on the back bumper. Sweet. Mo had the last laugh as the plastic straps were rotten from sitting in the sun in his backyard. The dues were stacking up fast.
Feeling particularly relieved and relaxed as we cruised on through Mandenaro we cranked up the tunes, broke out the peanut butter crackers and put Bobs twotones to the floorboards. 5 miles upahead lay an official drug & gun club meeting in the middle of the road. Thank goodness that Bobs State Lifeguard windshield sticker qualifies him for membership into the Good ole boy society. After a few "Baywatch" stories and an autograph, the officer let us go. A few minutes later I became hypnotized by the whitelines, dozed off, and awoke in the EL Rosario gas station. Hay Que Suerte! I looked over at Bob, then Mo, then back to Bob. They both had acquired "Senior Hud" cowboy hats in San Quintin. They beamed back at me like two toddlers on a grocery store ponyride. Mo popped Commander Cody into the tapedeck, let out a heehaw and it was off to the precarious turnoff to Centenario. We sang "Back in the Ozone Again" along with the Lost Planet Airmen because it just seemed appropriate at the time.
I hadnt been to Centenario for 2 years. Id heard that the severe winter flooding from 1992 had
pretty much wiped out the old established arroyos and washed away the handmade markers. To further complicate things I had never been to the highway cutoff in the late afternoon. What mound would reflect the new position of the sun? And what of the crested cardon cactus?
The hours slipped away until we finally pulled off the road at the correct odometer readings. Nothing looked familiar. Mo brought up a good point about Bobs new oversized tires giving off false distances travelled. It was now sliding into late afternoon and we had but one option till the next morning. We would camp off the highway in a narrow dried up arroyo. Bob pulled the camper out the sight of the highway. He drove into the narrow canyon until there was less than a foot on either side and the top of the camper was even to the desert floor above. After a hearty meal of Torts-O-Prego, everyone was out cold by 8pm. I awoke at about 2 to the sound of thunder and loud raindrops hitting the camper roof. I climbed up top to check it out. Off in the direction of the lightning I could hear a continuous low rumbling noise slowly getting louder.. "Oh Shit" I thought, its a"FLASH FLOOD!" I yelled into the camper. Bob sprang up, clad only in his BVDs and dove through the boot to the front seat. As he started the truck I could see the beginning of the stream about 25 feet away. It hit the tires about a second later and before Bob could get it into reverse it began pushing the truck further into the narrowing canyon walls until it became wedged against the sides. Mo, now fully cognoscente of our predicament, yelled "Abandon Ship!" Back through the boot Bob came and we began to eject as much gear as we could through the escape hatch on the top of the camper.
The water was now over the back bumper and streaming through the bottom of the camper door. We stood on the top of the camper with only the light of a half moon and waited for the worst. At about 4am the water level began to subside, so we collapsed, exhausted from the ordeal on the mounds of gear, and slept.
We woke at daylight to find the back of the camper obscured by mounds of mud and desert debris. There was no way we were getting back to highway on our own power. Bob and I started cleaning up while Mo hiked to the highway for help. About an hour later he was back with a local
rancher and his 72 Dodge 4 x 4 powerwagon. Mo gave him a bottle of his homebrewed Mos Bay Rum for his efforts. Stoked at his prize the rancher thanked us, then gave us a broken English/Spanish lecture for camping in an arroyo.
At 10am we were headed northbound. We drove up the road for about 30 minutes, turned around, and began looking for the entrance. After full circling twice with no luck we pulled off the road to plot our next move.
Do we continue to circle, head to Abre or head back up to Bajas planned windsurfing resort community? Abre won hands down and as we pulled onto the highway, up over the hill came Brian Caserio in his poptop camper. Brian saw us, pulled over grinning at our mud stained camper. What happened to you guys? He asked jokingly. We told our story., then he told us of his own unsuccessful attempt to find the entrance and more recent seshless sojourn to Abre. "Theres to many cubascos slinging tropical moisture up Baja. Lottsa rain, sloppy surf and no wind. So Im headed for the resort before heading home." Wanna join me? We accepted and headed north in search of wind.
Meanwhile back at the resort it was business as usual. Intrigues, and altercations. New additions and high anxieties. Aint life grand! There had only been a few go outs in the regal fashion over the past few weeks, as the tropical disturbances had shut off most of Baja. We all decided to avoid the crowd and camp as far away from the madness as possible. Then we waited and watched for the wind. Going without wind for days makes a windsurfer do things that defy logic or good sense.
Modaddy particularly vunerable, took up the guitar and to singing the Woody Guthrie collection. Having no previous experience, talent or style, this soon grated on the nerves of the others and Mo was restricted from all musical instruments. I found myself tuning in the Rush Limbaugh Show on the radio for shock therapy. I too fell quickly into disfavor and out of desparation decided to do a photo essay and contest on the artistic virtues of certain objects left discriminately on the desert floor. After three days I abandoned the project for detailing the camper. The evenings activities were reduced to excessive bouts with Tequila, Janes Addition and good-natured scrapping.
Six days into the trip, no wind, decent surf and too much tequila, made the Janes Addition tune "Its like slapping your self in the face" our theme song. What we needed was a old fashioned surf sacrifice. On day 7, Traig Trumbo arrived in his red tunetown Suzuki and our prayers were answered. Traig, AKA the Zinger, threw up Traig town in back of our camp in 2 minutes, grabbed his longboard and hit the surf. On his second wave he kicked out and beaned himself in the nose
with his board, drawing blood. That was all it took to break the spell. Traig needed stitches though and was bummed that he might have to leave after just arriving. Howie Green and Ramblin Jack having witnessed Traigs accident came over to offer assistance. They mentioned that super glue was being used by traveling surfers as first aid to close wounds without leaving much of a scar. Traig was up for just about anything that would allow him to stay on, so surgery was performed successfully by none other than the mad Dr. Mo. Disclaimer: under the close scrutiny of our attorneys we are compelled to advise that this procedure should not be performed without the supervision of a trained medical team or as advised by a physician.
That afternoon the familiar 2 fingered fogbank began to appear on the horizon and everyone prepared for the next day of potential wind. A party was planned in Traigs honor but was canceled a bit later when he was caught pilfering our food locker in search of his daily diet of squirrel food. That Traig, hes such a Yogi Bear. That night in full tribal tradition we drank to the wind, sang songs that make no sense and performed feats of strength and prowess in anticipation of the next days sesh. The evening was called complete when Bob recounted his hacknayed parable of "The Story of Bob" which predictably caused everyone to fall into a deep sleep.
The next few days, as expected, brought a return to the normal regimen of life at the resort, sailing, feasting, drinking, puking and sailing some more. It was a photographers dream having the crem de California wavesailing in chesthigh surf with 5.0 wind.
At last we had found what we needed. It wasnt enough to just sail 3 days out of ten but it was better than the meager weak seshes of home. As we packed for home I looked around and wondered about the future of the resort. I remembered the early pioneer days with Rich Myers and Tarit Tanjisiri camping in the wind shade of the shallow arroyos near the beach break. Those were the days when everyone knew each other and had the good sense to take it all with us when we left.
To see it now prompted me to again look southward for new spots, new friends and new adventures. For after all its far better to get lost & spanked by fate than to sit and lament about how bad things are in familiar surroundings.