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Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Viscaino Peninsula maybe the 2014 Mag Bay
Friday, October 24, 2014
Boots on the ground in Cabo after Odile


¡Buen viaje!
Recently, as is customary this time of year, I returned to Baja for the fall tournament season. When making my reservation this time, however, due to the aftermath of Odile, international flights into Los Cabos were not resuming until Oct. 8. Although flights have resumed (earlier than promised) and carriers are ramping up their schedules as rapidly as possible, I elected to depart from Tijuana and fly to La Paz, which offered me more options.

Truth be known, that was where my very first trip to the Baja interior began back in 1969 with my son Greg. But that’s another story.


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AS PROMISED, UPON arrival Gonzlez processed my bus ticket and arranged for a driver to transport me to the bus stop.

For this trip, Volaris Airlines (http://volaris.com/en/) offered an alternative flight to La Paz. Their website in English was easy to navigate and, in addition to a choice of flights, had a Chinese restaurant-style menu approach offering choices of customizing flights and costs, up to and including a shuttle departing from the San Diego Train Depot or Lindberg Field, both of which would take me across the border to the Tijuana airport. Prices were competitive and in a few minutes I had my confirmed reservation for an 11 a.m. departure, complete with a shuttle.


Prior to printing out my boarding pass on the morning of my flight, I contacted another company that I had recently been introduced to: Ecobajatours (www.ecobajatours.com My email inquired if they had a shuttle from La Paz to Los Barriles.


Allowing ample time for traffic delays, we left Lake Elsinore at 6 a.m. and arrived at the San Diego Train Depot in plenty of time for the 8 o’clock shuttle, which departed promptly.


The ride to the border in the Greyhound-style bus was uneventful and we soon pulled up at Mexican Customs where we removed our luggage and carry-ons for inspection and purchased an FMM, required to enter the Baja interior. In a few minutes, we were out the door; driver and bus were waiting and we re-boarded.


The Tijuana Airport was next and after exchanging some dollars for pesos and checking my bag, I made my way to the assigned gate. Remarkably, the entire time lapsed from boarding the shuttle in San Diego to my arrival at the gate was less than 90 minutes.


Checking my email, I saw a reply from Ecobajatours. Alejandro Gonzlez, (agonzlez@ecobajatours.com) who explained that since the storm, they had discontinued the shuttle service because of lack of visitors. However, they could arrange to take me to the bus stop to catch a bus that departed an hour after my arrival. He explained that they had an office at the La Paz Airport and would take care of everything after I arrived.


As promised, upon arrival Gonzlez processed my bus ticket and arranged for a driver to transport me to the bus stop. The cost, including the bus fare to Buena Vista was $140 in pesos plus a tip. I had a short wait and was pleasantly surprised to find that the bus was air-conditioned and comfortable, and a new adventure was in store for me. When I arrived, my total trip time from boarding the shuttle in San Diego to my destination in Los Barriles was slightly more than eight hours.


Although the entire region was whacked pretty good by this year’s storm season, the recovery has been remarkable. Since my arrival, I have driven to the tip and back with only a few minor detours. Of course, repairs are ongoing and in evidence, but there is little signs of the destruction that we read about.


All the tournaments normally scheduled for October and November are going forward. I attended the Registration and Captains meeting for the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament at the Playa Grande overlooking the sparkling Pacific last night and while participation was down, with 14 boats, Tournament Director Dan Jacobs assured me it was business as usual. He and his staff have gone all out to make the event a success.


Those same sentiments were echoed by Wayne Bisbee, Tournament Coordinator for Bisbee Tournaments, which will begin in a few days. "We’re pleased with the turnout thus far. That would not have been possible without everyone, from government officials to cleanup crews and persons in-between, who have pitched in to bring about this rapid recovery," he said


Pat McDonell, editor of WON and director of the Tuna Jackpot Tournament coming up Nov. 5-8, confirmed, "Response for our event has been exciting. The signups were off the charts before the hurricane, then slowed of course, and is now picking back up. I expect to be in the 120-boat range when all the dust clears.”


Don't let what happened in September spoil your trip to Baja. Look for alternative means of travel if you need to and enjoy the adventures associated with them. Isn't that why you began coming to Baja in the first place?


¡Buen viaje!


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