Who is Packing Your Parahute? – Weekly Lessons from the Road

Ready to head out anywhere!
Ready to head out anywhere!

I remember like it was yesterday stepping up to the open door of a C 130 and looking down several thousand feet as a light flashed green and my Senior Jump Master gave the command to jump. I hesitated for just a brief moment and came to the realization that I feared my Sargent much more than the drop. It was my first jump as a paratrooper.

I took the most difficult step of my life out that door. The decision to jump defined my career in the 101st Airborne. But as I felt the shock of the static line another realization came to me. Who had packed my chute? Fortunately, that person had done a good job because my chute opened and I floated safely to the ground, successful. Four more and I would have my wings.

With each jump afterwards, I continued to think about the people who had prepared my gear; people I had not met but who my life depended on. In a moment of clarity, I realized that all the training I had gone through at Fort Benning would not have mattered much if it had not been for the skill and dedication of someone who had packed my parachute. Someone, who worked namelessly behind the scenes far from that plane and that Jump Zone.

That realization made me a better soldier and a better leader and that lesson has stayed with me throughout my life. In all that we do, as adventurers, we must never forget that there is a whole cadre of people who support us on our adventure and they, like that nameless rigger, determine if we are successful or not.

Before your next adventure, I invite you to reflect on those who are packing YOUR parachute and take a moment to thank them. For without those wonderful professionals, and those understanding family and friends, we would not be able to chase the sun down dusty trails to beaches with no names.

Wonderful and Spendid


The blogs i’ve read are wonderful. From Guinness Floats to the Rat Pack I have to say it is incredible and splendid to read all these sharp minds. So many writers, travelers, adventurers, motorcyclists, poets and artist. My God, it is so good that we can cut the middle people out and communicate with each other. You’re amazing and you know who your are. 🙂 Hope to meet some of you on the road. Warm regards!

Ken Ice biking.
Ken Ice biking.

Laying Block – Weekly Lessons from the Road

Estero Beach
Estero Beach

I have seen all types of people come and go over the years in our little community down in Playa de Estero, Chapultapec, Mexico. Many come with high expectations and leave confused and deflated. That just seems to be the way down here. For every expatriate that lands here and stays, there are more who come and abruptly leave. Actually, I have noticed this same phenomenon in the small mountain community where we live in the States.

I think it boils down to why they came in the first place. Unfortunately, many come with expectations that Baja will fix their fractured lives. Anyone who has spent much time down here knows that Baja is not very good at fixing anything—just look at the roads.

I am reminded of a neighbor I once had named, Ernie. After selling a successful masonry contracting business in SoCal, he moved to our little community in Baja with high expectations and enthusiasm. He was tired of the pace and materialism of the States and was excited to move to a slower pace—a place where he thought he could reflect and get back in touch with who he was and where he was going.

After arriving, he wasted little time throwing himself into a flurry of activity, exploring the restaurants and sightseeing around the country. He dove into an extensive remodel of his home. He was constantly on the go for about a year.

But after that first year, I began to notice a change in him. At first it was little criticisms about his Mexican neighbors. He complained about the lack of services, the disorganization and the slowness of the way of life. And as more time ticked by, the criticisms grew worse until he became obsessed with what he thought was wrong with every little thing they did and what this way of life offered. He had grown dark and unhappy.

It was just about this time that the Mexicans started to build a social hall near us. Ernie spent hours everyday watching them. He would get upset with their methods of construction especially their slowness in laying block. As previously mentioned, he was a masonry contractor by trade.

Every time I saw him, he would work himself up into a rage about how poorly they were constructing the building. I warned him to calm down and not worry about it but to no avail. Ernie was obsessed. He had found a new project it seemed. I was concerned for his health.

I left on a moto adventure for several months and forgot about Ernie. When I returned, I noticed the Mexicans were putting the final touches to the block building. It was a beautiful solid building, very ornate and colonial in style. But I, also, noticed that Ernie was no were to be found.

Finally, after a few days of not seeing Ernie, I went over to the building and I approached Ishmel, the foreman of the construction crew, and asked him if he had seen him. He was a small barrel chested man from Chiapas on the Guatemalan  border. His bronze skin, silky black hair and flat face revealed his Indian descent. He was legendary in our village for his wisdom and capacity for hard work.

Ishmel shook his head and replied. “Oh, it was terrible, Sr. Ken. You remember how Sr. Ernie was so upset with our methods?”

I nodded. I knew from his tone that something bad had happened.

Ishmel continued, “Well, one day Sr. Ernie got really upset with us—more than usual. So upset that he grabbed the trowel from my hand and yelled that he would show us how to lay block properly and began buttering block and laying them.”

Ishmel teared up and continue. “Then it happened. He looked up at me and said he didn’t feel so well and dropped dead, over there.” Ishmel pointed to a little wooden cross behind the building.

MVC-022S

After recovering from my shock I asked Ishmel what he thought about all this. He paused for some time before answering. “Well. Sr. Ernie was upset with us. He wanted us to lay block a better way –the American way. But after seeing what happen to him, I think we’ll just keep laying block the way we’ve always done it—the Mayan way.”

Upcoming Adventure to Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja Norte, Mexico

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The first adventure to Bahia de Los Angeles on this season will be March 21 to the 29 th. We’ll be leaving from Playa de Estero. This will be a trip for both motos and cages (4 wheels). We’ll have a boat down there as well for fishing and freediving. Check the Rides page of this blog for more details. This a great trip for newbies. Leave a comment if you’re intested and we’ll check for from. Nos vemos!

Whale Shark – Bahia de Los Angeles

I’ve been going down the peninsula of Baja for years and have yet to find those heads on sticks. Search as we may, this is all we found last trip.

A whale shark off the beach near our home at Campo Gecko, Bahia de Los angeles.

When you are in the water with them you realize how gentle these 50 foot creatures really are and how ill equipped and ungraceful we humans are in the water.

Here’s a YouTube link to this magic:

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Welcome to my blog, Baja Moto Quest!

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My name is Ken Decroo. I am a writer and an adventurer, and I’ve been wandering the Baja Peninsula for over 50 years. I keep coming back to this land and its people as though she were a mistress–she has the unique ability of reclaiming herself and keeping the core of her character, and she has been a centering, constant support for me in this high-speed, plugged-in world. It is where I write. More at Welcome!

My latest novel is Almost Human. It is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Autographed copies of Almost Human can be purchased directly by clicking the buy button below.

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