Epic Journey

Personal Writings Travel

From: December 26, 2022

            Baja California Sur      What’s the line?  God laughs at the plans of men, right?  Just days ago, I was basking in our luck as weather had whipped around the world, and we had made it to good skies, cool breezes, and whales galore on our watch.  I had tempted fate.  I must have forgotten I was in Mexico, where anything goes.  Amazingly, I still count all of us lucky, but the day and now the journey has become epic.

I woke up before the birds were up, as is my want.  At dawn mi hija was up, and reading her email.  Whoops!  A message from the airline we were taking in the late afternoon said the flight was cancelled to Mazatlán, the next stop on our way to Copper Canyon or Canon de Cobre.  I don’t have a bucket list, but as a child of the West, born in Wyoming and spending my youth and any other chance I’ve had to be in the desert and mountainous west, Copper Canyon has been in my sights for decades.  Don’t take my word, here’s the skinny from Wikipedia:

The Copper Canyon, nestled in the Sierra Madre Range, is actually several large canyons boasting a grandeur four times larger than the Grand Canyon of the United States, although different in nature; narrower, deeper, and more verdant.

Yes, you’re hearing me right – bigger by far than the amazing Grand Canyon.  Home of the mariposa, the Monarch butterflies on their migration, and more.  There’s a train that runs through the canyon.  We had tickets, but we had to get there to make it happen.

Calafia Airlines had cancelled, thanks for the notice, but then three hours on hold to see if we were rebooked got us nowhere.  The website said nothing. No office anywhere around.  We tried to book a ferry, but no reservations possible until January.  How about a cargo ship, where we could sleep on the deck?  No soap!   We drove 45 minutes to the airport.  Yikes, wrong airport!  We drove another 45 minutes, now pushing on 11 o’clock.  Every mile, we were looking for alternative flights.  We get to the other airport. Calafia has moved.  We wend our way around to there.  Nada.  No one around in this cavernous, but almost empty newish airport.  A half hour later, someone finally comes to the phone after being called by the airport personnel.  Next flight is not until three days later.  Darn, thanks for nothing!  What now?  We found one flight, wildly expensive, where we would leave after 10pm, route through Mexico City, where we would be stuck in Benito Juarez overnight and then get Mazatlán in the middle of the afternoon.  We headed to return the rental car, after realizing that driving was 12 hours via Tijuana.  Finally, we tried to figure if there was a nearby city where a flight might have room.  Bingo, we were able to get a flight the next day to Culiacan in Sinaloa only a three-hour bus ride away.  Now we just needed to find a place to stay, but that seemed easy since we had been driving around Baja Sur for six or seven hours already.

Organizers always adapt.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy.  I’ll be more careful about claiming luck in the future!  As my hijo said, this is one for the books!