MEX 1 MOMENTS
Two similar pot farms were discovered several weeks ago — one in Baja and the other in Ventura County, California. The news was dominated by the farm near El Rosario, Mexico, while the one in Los Padres National Forest in California barely received honorable mention.
Once again, the national press-driven hysteria crept into my fishing world. I saw a post on the Facebook page of Capt. Kelly Catain asking if it was safe in San Quintin, yet I didn't see any questions asking if it was safe in Ventura County. It's a shame that this media attention negatively affects fishing operations that are thousands of miles away.
On a road trip this year with my son Geoff, we were returning to the U.S. via Mex 1 from Lopez Mateos, when the right rear wheel slipped off the edge of the road. The inner sidewall took on some damage, causing a blowout a few miles away just after sundown. We were south of El Rosario near where the pot farm was discovered.
As we surveyed the damage with flashlights, an older pickup heading south slowed and rumbled to a stop. Two wiry Mexican farmers jumped out of the truck and in Spanish asked about our problem.
After sizing up the situation, the driver quickly spun his ramshackle pickup around so his headlights would light up the rear of my Roadtrek van. Jumping from the truck, he grabbed the jack and began positioning it beneath the axle while his sidekick went to town with the lug wrench. As the sidekick loosened the lug nuts, he explained they were on their way back to their onion farm on the other side of the arroyo — all the while refusing to let me help.
Like their AAA counterparts in the United States, they finished up quickly and said adios.
“Let me pay you,” I offered. Politely they shook their heads in refusal. After a few minutes of discussion, I thrust a couple of bills in the driver's hand suggesting that he could buy a cerveza on me. With a big grin and a tip of his sombrero, he took the money and motioned to his sidekick. They jumped back in their pickup, turned around and headed back toward the cantina for a “final-final,” I suppose.
My guess is that it wouldn't be a stretch to substitute a pot farm for an onion farm, but believe me, those two farmers were our saviors that dark night on Mex 1. I was the recipient of their act of kindness and I couldn't help but wonder if that would have happened if we had broke down in Los Padres National Forest.