1998-2012 EarthRoamer
One of the California surf dudes in action.

Surfer Dudes

I drove on to Playa San Peditro, my next camp destination. Retired Canadians and Americans were the primary inhabitants of most of the beaches I have stayed at so far, and while I have nothing against retired Canadians and Americans, I thought a little younger - perhaps more international - crowd would be a nice change of pace. Since Playa San Peditro was a surfer beach, I figured it would be the perfect place to hang out with a younger crowd. I don't surf, but it would be fun photographing the surfers.

I pulled into Playa San Peditro and was glad to find that the place was really nice. There was a large restaurant with a bar, and the owner and workers all spoke English. It would be nice to communicate in sentences for a change rather than relying on my ten word Spanish vocabulary. I claimed my camp spot, and two "surfer dudes" from Southern California immediately introduced themselves. I don't remember their names, but it was something like Daryl and his other brother Daryl. Any brain cells these two had started out life with had long since departed them. This probably had something to do with too many ultraviolet rays and their primary dietary staple of Pacifico beer.

They had driven the 1,000 mile length of Baja in a beat up Nissan pickup. Both had quit their jobs, and one of them had left his wife and kids behind so that the two could spend a month or two surfing. At one point we were in the middle of a random conversation, and I asked them where they had got their tourist card. "What's a tourist card?" they both asked in unison. I explained to them that every American traveling past Ensenada or staying in Mexico for more than 72 hours is required to obtain and carry a tourist card.

While this thought was slowly sinking into their brains an obvious question jumped into my mind; how did they get past the military checkpoints without a tourist card? I was stopped by several military checkpoints on the drive south, and they frequently asked to see my tourist card. They proceeded to tell me about their military checkpoint experiences and the value of Playboys and a Pitt Bull.

They had carried a stack of old Playboy magazines in the front of their truck. When stopped by a military checkpoint, the young military guys invariably expressed an interest in the magazines, so the surfer dudes quickly gave them a copy or two. About that same time, the military guys would see the Pitt Bull in the back of the truck, decide they had inspected enough, and wave the surfers on. As dumb as these guys are, they certainly have street smarts.

The next day, the surfer dudes provided the entertainment by locking their keys in their truck. Fortunately, they still had access to their cooler of Pacifico in the truck bed, but once that ran out, they wouldn't be able to drive into town for more. They were in a panic. After trying the old coat hanger trick for a couple of hours, they finally gave up on that approach. Next they then noticed a wide gap between the door and fender from a previous accident, and decided to take the door off by removing the hinge bolts - but they had a problem since they had no tools. I loaned them my sockets and wrenches, and within 30 minutes the door was off and they had retrieved they keys. Reinstalling the door was a bit more difficult as they kept stripping the threads off the bolts. I had visions of them driving back to California with no passenger door!

That night, one of the guys started talking about the time he had spent in prison. He never said why he "did time," and I'm not sure I wanted to know, but this experience was getting a little too weird for me - it was obviously time to move on. The next morning when they were in town buying beer, I decided it was a good time to hit the road and continue my journey south.

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