I´m bouncing up and down off the ground six inches up and down with Ross Perot´s In His Own Words in my hands. It’s a 7.2 Richter earthquake off the Sea of Cortez! On the Richter Magnitude 7.2 is a ‘major earthquake’ with damage to most buildings, some shake and completely collapse, and the vibration is felt across great distances with significant death toll. The sea is dropping a meter a second fifteen miles over my left shoulder, as the rocks tumble down the dry wash at me, with the pages fluttering. I thought I was going to fall through a crack…

 

At Easter sunrise, 2010, I bucked a Yamaha 125 Breeze quad from the already drunken throngs of locals, tourists, cop phalanxes, and vicious mongrels of San Felipe to search for the famous last ‘Lost Mission’. If I didn’t find the mission, I thought, at least there would be peace and quiet. I rode out of San Felipe on Easter Morning.

Three hours of rough overland riding later, I reined into a box canyon for a break. At 3pm, I was on my stomach reading Ross Perot, when the ground bounced three inches vertical and shook me sideways like a rag doll. Rocks tumbled from cliff sides, and there was no gaining to hands-and-knees to evade them. So, I lay in a fetal position with hands over head for one minute in Mother Nature’s great vibrating bed, actually enjoying it.

And then continued reading Perot, Eagles don’t flock, you have to find them one at a time.’

In another hour, I saddled up to drive 15 overland miles back to San Felipe. The engine growled, but the vehicle didn’t move, as if in neutral. This second break was a real disaster. The quad chain had split in the earthquake!

I tried to pound the link back in with a rock, but had better unluck on the thumb, gave up, took a deep breath, and drifted into a reverie of Les Stroud’s Survivor Man: Man stranded after desert breakdown before sunset with motorcycle ATV tools. In about as much time as the quake, I snapped out of it, and fashioned a knapsack from the seat cover and rope, stuck in it electrician tape, wire, matches the paperback for fuel, and a screwdriver to fight off marauding packs of coyotes, wolves, or worse, larger dogs.

One hour later, with the moon on the rise, the right shoe sole flapped loose, but was wrapped with tape. Then, while shivering under the cold starlight, I sliced neck and arm holes in the seat cover with the screwdriver, and carried the other essentials in my pocket. At around midnight, the gentle downhill emptied into wide open desert far above the San Felipe town lights, and I entered the perilous 3-mile mile junk ring of trash, that is the town dump shaped like a doughnut.

The first pack of mongrels found me in the center, and I fended them off with a broomstick I had picked up, and drew blood on one leaper with the screwdriver. They could have killed me, if not for these weapons. Soon there was a gauntlet of 50 rushing dogs after the dumb gringo, but I fended them off as well with some snarls of my own.

Now incoherent with fatigue and cold, I stumbled onto the darkened dirt tracks of San Felipe. Suddenly a vehicle zoomed up, I was blinded like a dumb deer, and fished out a thumb, and paid an insomniac fisherman in a Ford Taurus $30 to drive 15 miles back to tow the ATV to a town mechanic at sunrise.

It was the best Easter since my first egg hunt, with lots more discovered about myself.