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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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Looking Back
It was November 2005. I sat at my table writing my East Cape fly fishing report for Baja California Sur, Mexico, listening to the north wind blow through the windows of “Rancho Deluxe.” I sadly announced that it would be the last month we would occupy our house at La Capilla. We had made many memories and had enjoyed so many special moments there, sharing our bit of paradise with family and friends, many that we met there, and many that we brought down for vacation times, year after year. Soon after we were to leave, the rumor was that our home would be torn down to make way for a new development — a golf course with the 9th hole dead in the center of the table that I was writing on that day.

whenwearrived
WHEN WE ARRIVED at our new vacation home, the name “Rancho Deluxe” was displayed in tile on the block gate post. We could not contain our excitement!

Our time in Rancho Deluxe began in May of 1989, when Eduardo Hermosillo, one of the owners of Rancho Buena Vista Hotel, plopped down at our table in their infamous Round Bar overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Yvonne and I were visiting Herb and Ruthie Tilsey’s vacation home on the hotel property, which was a frequent occurrence during the eighties.


After a few minutes of chit-chat, Hermosillo volunteered that the beachfront “Russell House” next door to Chuck Walter’s house at La Capilla RV Park was vacant, and had been for quite a while.


“Why don’t you rent it,” he asked?


The widowed Mrs. Russell had decided to give up the house that now seemed lonely without her husband. We told Eduardo that we would give it some thought, at which point, he explained that they intended to sell the property so we could only rent the house on an annual basis.


We explored the entire house impressed with its four bedrooms, two baths, an enormous living room overlooking the sea, but the huge kitchen that allowed ample space for storage and cooking while watching the beach and the water was what convinced us. That, plus a huge yard and a double-car garage made us realize that we could easily make this house our second home. With our bottle of wine and glasses, we headed out and sat on the stairs of the 70-foot long porch sipping wine while watching a small roosterfish demolishing a dwindling sardina school. With the sun setting and the still of the evening, we could picture ourselves ending each day on that porch with a glass of wine in hand — a picture-perfect scenario.


followingafternoon
THE FOLLOWING AFTERNOON, Yvonne and I rode down the beach on our ATVs with a bottle of wine, glasses, and the keys to the vacant house. We realized as we pulled up to the gate that the four-bedroom home was much larger than it appeared from the beach.


Returning to RBV, we sat down with Edwardo Hermosillo. We agreed to rent the “Russell House” for one year, with the understanding we would also rent it the second year as well.


The parties agreed that quite a bit of cosmetic work was needed, but once finished, we could move in, probably in late August.


The following afternoon, Yvonne and I rode down the beach on our ATVs with a bottle of wine, glasses, and the keys to the vacant house. We realized as we pulled up to the gate that the four-bedroom home was much larger than it appeared from the beach.


Mid-August Eduardo contacted us that the work was near completion. We began staging for an early September drive down in our one-ton van loaded with our belongings. One week later, Eduardo informed us that Hurricane Kiko hit the area on August 25, one of the most destructive tropical cyclones to target the eastern coast of Mexico's Baja California’s peninsula during recorded history with winds reaching 120 mph. Our soon-to-be new home was filled with water and sand along with large broken windows and doors. He estimated that the cleaning and repairs to “Russell House” would not be completed until early October.


Our Ford van, loaded with ATV, fishing equipment, household items, and clothing, was full, and the trip uneventful. When we arrived at our new vacation home, the name “Rancho Deluxe” was displayed in tile on the block gate post. We could not contain our excitement!


Oddly, when we got out of the van after a 21-hour trip, the front door was unlocked, and a woman was busy cleaning the kitchen.


“Buenos Dias,” she said as we came through the door. It turned out that Ines had cleaned the house for the Russells for the nine years they had lived there, and, in her opinion, she came with the house. Yvonne took charge of the negotiations, and soon it was settled. Ines came with the house!


Though we had many parties, many visitors, and many pig roasts and other celebrations, our first official Rancho Deluxe New Year’s party was held in 1990. Then we entertained local friends and many others who were visiting the East Cape area. During that party at precisely 9:00 p.m. local time, I turned the clock forward to midnight, and we all celebrated, getting and giving our New Year’s kisses! And then we walked the guests to their bikes and to the beach to their pangas so they could head home. Early the following morning, most of the gang met again at the beach in search of the first roosterfish of the year.


As things turned out, the Hermosillo’s were a tad optimistic about selling the property. We continued to rent the house year after year until October of 2005.


Over the years, we made more friends than we can count. We introduced the world to beach flyfishing for roosterfish, ladyfish, sierra, and other things. We expanded Baja on the Fly and made writing a career, and when we needed photos for the articles, I became serious about photography, earned the title “That Baja Guy,” and many of the stories since the column launched in 2007 came from Rancho Deluxe.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Don’t forget to turn your clock forward on New Years!


• • • • •

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