Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baja Begins

The Crew and the SuenosMobile
Andrew, Becca, Chris and Todd
An adventure always has to start somewhere. Plans are made, maps are opened, the car gets packed and the crew of friends eventually shows up to start the journey. This journey we are on starts off with four great people, Todd Richey, Chris Madden, Becca Smith and myself. I am sure the Tour de Suenos crew will grow with new members and some will also leave along the way as the SuenosMobile heads south. The start to our adventure begins in San Diego so we can get the van loaded up with surfboards, kayaks, fishing gear, camping stuff and an accessories of gear that we probably don’t need but since the van has room we cram her full. Our first stop the beloved Casa en Mexico, which is actually only about an hour south of the border.

This lovely house in Mexico is my parents place that has provided years of entertainment for our family and friends who have come down to visit. Since neither Todd nor Chris have made a visit I decided it would be a good welcome to Baja California for the boys. Todd was able to spend a few more days then Chris and the great Pacific provide us with some fun waves. During our stay some of my family made the quick trip down from SD to enjoy the good fall weather and for one last goodbye before our long trip south into Mexico.

The Bigness on the inside and my brother Gabe out the back.

Riding the big board while the knee gets well

The day before we were going to leave the casa my parents came down for the night. My dad said the surf looked really good at a couple spots just north of the casa, so we loaded the boards in his truck and drove north. The surf was a beautiful 4-6ft with evening offshore winds. After exchanging some fun waves for about 2 hours, I rode a wave all the way into the inside to finish up with a turn on the closeout. I noticed my dad was right there in front of me when I finished that wave and something was not right.

The Bigness, the name I gave to my old man a few years back, was not looking good. He was holding his right shoulder in pain and his board was floating off on its own as he floated in waist deep water. Upon first contact it looked apparent that he had dislocated his shoulder, an injury that he also suffered this previous year. I looked to the beach to wave Todd and Chris to come give me a hand. When we got him back to the truck, I decided to try my Wilderness First Responder skills and pull traction on his shoulder to hopefully reduce the dislocation.

Sad to say that after about 30 minutes of pulling traction and numerous “Faaackkks” out of my dads mouth there was no success. We decided it would be best to take him to a hospital in Rosarito to have a doctor take a look. At first I was a bit bummed out that I was not pulling traction correctly and felt bad that the Bigness had to go through all this pain. But when the doctor finally checked him out and took X-rays, gave him pain meds, and pulled traction for about 30 minutes as well with no success, it was apparent that his shoulder was really fucked, poor guy. After a recent email to my parents he apparently has to go in for an MRI soon, hopefully he heals up soon so he can make another visit with the Tour de Suenos. My parents headed back to San Diego and our crew back to the casa for a quick sleep before making the first long drive south to Abreojos.

Everyone needs a pit stop on a road trip

I had a bit of an epiphany about my surf life during our first stay at Abreojos. I realized after having a cup of coffee one morning and writing in my journal that it had been 20 years since my first visit to this magical coastline in Baja. It was my dad who first brought me here when I was in the 3rd grade, and took me out of school for a two week father/son surf trip. This was not my first visit to Baja, as my family had been taking vacations south for as long as I could remember, but it was a first of many things. I pulled into my first mini-barrel on a body board, got taught how to tie a fishing knot and how to cast which led to me pulling in a few good size corvine, while my dad and his buddies surfed. And now 20 years later I am still doing the same thing, except I hope the barrels are a bit bigger as well as the fish.

Evening Session at Abre reefbreaks

Richey with the longest ride of his life

Surfing by no means is an easy sport to excel at, but regardless of skill one may find joy no matter how good a surfer he or she is. On this trip two of my friends are along that have spent little time in the ocean surfing in the past, but they share the same stoke as every other surfer with each stand up and each beat down. Both Todd, from Montana, and Chris, from Northern California, are some of the best kayakers I have paddled with and it has been amazing to watch them dive into something new and to start getting a grasp of the ocean. The simplicity of just catching a wave, standing up, and turning down the line brings about so much joy and stoke from a new surfer. Apart from surfing we have been spending our afternoons trying to catch dinner, but are mostly just coming up with a few small sand bass that only suffice for a small appetizer, but non the less very tasty. I am not sure if it is the passing around at camp Hemmingway’s ,Old Man and the Sea, but these guys will fish for hours with sometimes no success.

Trying to bring in dinner.

Trying my luck at Razors one evening

After about a week of good surf and fun at Abre,
we decided with the falling swell to continue on south to see a bit more of Baja. On our way down to San Juanico we made an overnight stop in Bahia Concepcion for some sleep then an early rise to head to the fabled Scorpion Bay. When we arrived the surf was a bit on the small side, but perfect for learning to surf and even a wave or two on the long board. Not wanting to pay 150 pesos to sleep in the dirt, we pulled our dirt bag moves and hung out on the point during the day and drove down the long beach south to find private beaches that where perfect for sleeping under the stars and a good fire at night.

The surf never picked up in San Juanico and after the legendary Ranger Richey hitched a ride North to get a bus back to the States we decided to continue on southward. Our next stop Rabbit Point. El Conejo is a spot I have visited before but never really scored surf-wise but always a good place to camp and stay the night. We decided to only buy fresh produce and food for a night possibly two in case the winds where bad and the surf never came. Luckily for us the Great Conductor wanted us to see the goodness that the point had to offer as we scored 3 of the best days of surf so far. The cause of this surf came from Hurricane Paul, which provide offshore winds all day and head high surf for about two days before old Paul decided to come for a closer visit. Everyone was getting fun waves, even Chris on the foam board was dropping in a few bombs and Becca claiming some of the better surf of her life. To bad no one wants to take photos when the surf is good.
Calm before the Storm

The rain started the last day 3rd day we were camping but the surf was still offshore and fun. After our morning surf we decided it would be best to pack camp and move back across the Arroyo in case the rains from Hurricane Paul picked up and cased a flash flood that could leave us stranded with not much drinking water and only a few cans of black beans and quinoa left to eat. We found an empty palapa up the point near the fisherman’s hut to seek refuge from the rain for our last night. It was a good spot to hang, but we soon found out that no palapa keeps you dry when the Hurricane is only about 100 miles away. Waking up to the constant rain and wind ripping in all directions and crush my little 2 man REI tent, it was apparent that old Hurricane Paul wanted to hang out with us. 
Tired and frustrated the 3 of us quickly through all the wet gear in the van and did our best to tie down all the boards and boats on the roof before getting pack to the Highway. Once back on the road we headed south to La Paz and gave in our dirt bag lifestyle for a dry room in a motel while the Hurricane subsides and then we are loading on the ferry to Mainland Mexico. And here is where the computer comes out and life on the interweb is available after a few good weeks of camping in Baja. Baja has been a magical visit for the Tour de Suenos, and a place we will all probably come back too.

Cheers Friends... And thanks Zinka for the hook up protecting our beautiful faces from the harsh yet beautiful Baja Sun. Enjoy the photos, courtesy from my camera and Todd's Camera.

La Punta
Night Hunt
When we cant kill any fish we will resort to cruching the rats that inflitrate our camp.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah buddy sounds like your having an epic trip! We should team up on your next trip to Baja, I just got back from a long weekend at Puntas Cabras which offered up some solid surf. Enjoy the mainland bro stay safe and pura vida!!