…and the colors of the sea blind your eyes with trembling mermaids, and you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing. “Cream” “Tales of Brave Ulysses”
Marco’s and I were stoked to finally be at our destination in one piece with no mishaps or weirdos on our hitch hike adventure to Jalama beach. Our ride dropped us off at the far north side of the beach park near the small Jalama Store where they sold basic camping and fishing supplies, as well as grilled burgers and fries. We dropped our gear and filled our canteens with water from the drinking fountain. No bottled water back then. “Which way dude?” I said to Marcos. “North.” said Marcos “Not many people go north of the creek and the trestle, besides the waves at that little rivermouth can get pretty good sometimes.” We picked up our gear walked out on the sand and started our 1 mile hike north to our “own” campground. You see Marcos and I were penny-less so we couldn’t stay in the park campgrounds even if we wanted to. Not having money can really make things exciting and adventurous!
The wind was howling hard as we strained to hold on to our surfboards as we walked headlong into the stinging sand hitting our faces. We needed to find some kind of shelter from this nasty wind. Maybe a little southeast facing nook or better yet a cave. We kept walking looking for a spot, we finally found a small little crack of a canyon and walked up into it to test its “wind sheltering qualities.” It was pretty good but not perfect. Our camp had to be wind proof. How could we smoke that hashish if the wind kept blowing out our “supply” of matches? We had a dilemma. Marcos was a seasoned camper, survivalist and naturalist he was to earn a Masters degree in horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo later in life. So what does he pull out of his backpack, but a 6′ by 8′ nylon swatch of lightweight military parachute. “I thought we could use this as a makeshift tent.” he said “Awesome!” I said. We started to comb the beach for stones and driftwood to secure and prop our parachute, the wind was still howling.
Our first attempt to put up the “tent” in that wind didn’t succeed. We needed complete blockage, like a fuckin brick wall. “We need to go underground.” Marcos said, “Huh” I responded. “Yeah we need to dig a trench and fortify it with rocks and driftwood and then cover it with the chute.” “Good idea” I said. Marcos was digging the trench while I went looking for better pieces of wood. I ventured up into the little canyon and low and behold I found a pile of old railroad tyes thrown from the tracks up on the hill. “Dude come here look what I found its perfect! we dug our hole about four feet deep and stacked the tyes up along three of the walls, the fourth wall was our entry. We covered the pit with the chute and tested it out. It worked like a charm.The only time a match went out was when we blew it out.
The wind blew hard for three days straight. We didn’t surf. We gathered firewood, continued to strengthen and improve our sand floored dwelling, we explored the coast, and of course got high. Our food consisted of stretchers like rice and beans, pasta, peanut butter and honey, Ritz Crackers, popcorn, canned veggies, granola and dried fruits. No refrigerated stuff and no meat. Just healthy food actually.
The fourth day dawned still and quite like earthquake weather in California. All we could here were the waves breaking on the beach. We walked south of our camp and surfed the rivermouth. The waves were small but fun clean peaks. It felt good to rinse those first three days of sand out of all the nooks and crannies. The ocean was our bath tub. It was a beautiful sunny blue day and all we did was surf and hang at the hut and surf some more. We lived like this for days and weeks until we started, “running out of food.”
After about two weeks into our adventure, we were bronzed, weathered, bleached, lean, fit and hungry as hell. By that time we were starting to live on rationed portions. The reason we didn’t want to leave was the fact that a really good swell was starting to fill in and we wanted the surf more than food. We ate one tablespoon of granola and one tablespoon of honey three times a day with water. We surfed all day. On the third day of this “diet” we were sitting hunched over on a sand dune watching the waves, we saw a girl sitting on a towel in her bikini looking over at us, probably because we were looking over at her. We weren’t looking at her because she was smokin hot, but because she was peeling an orange. That juicy vitamin C filled, mouth watering, scurvy curing orange. Then for some reason she offered us half. Like little sand crabs we scurried over to get our offerings. It was the best three wedges of orange I ever tasted.
That evening Marcos and I were seriously considering going home due to the lack of food. Maybe one more day but that was it. When suddenly we heard voices in the distance. Not many people came up this far from the campgrounds unless they were hiking or fishing, especially this late in the afternoon. We poked our heads out of our hut and in the distance we saw Marco’s Mom and Dad and his little brother coming up the beach! “Wow it’s your parents!” I said to Marcos.The first things we started to think were, there gonna tell us we have to go back with them, there pissed off about something, or there’s a family emergency.” NO to all of the above. They came to see how we were doing and asked us to come down to the campgrounds for supper!” We had the most incredible barbecued burgers and potato salad, corn on the cob with butter and strawberry rhubarb pie with milk. Marks folks left that evening, and they left us with another weeks worth of food. How awesome is that! We walked back to our hut in the dark. I couldn’t help but think about how lucky Marcos was to have a mom and dad like that. I got a little teary eyed to myself in the dark.
A week went by, the swell got insanely good, we surfed hard everyday. Then one day the surf went flat and the food was low again. It was time to head back to “Sunland California.” We were ready. We packed our gear, walked back through the campgrounds and stuck out our thumbs heading south. Despite our shabby weathered appearance we got back into our little town in four rides in one day, phenomenal!
When I finally got home and I walked up my driveway to this drama ridden, God forsaken, heartache excuse of a home, I felt a heavy heart. The whole time that I was up at Jalama I never thought of my mother, of my breakup with Debbie or anything negative. Now I was back in the fucking real world with summer coming to an end and my senior year in high school coming up. My sister told me to call Debbie apparently she was worried about me and wanted to talk. I gave her a call.