Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Tripping into the future

Wick's World


November 15, 2018

For a moment, I felt like a rock star this morning. I’m talking about the one in the commercial who appears on stage in front of 50,000 screaming Cleveland fans and yells into the microphone, “Hello Detroit”! I spent the past eight days in four different cities in Minnesota, California and Idaho before returning finally returning to home.

In reality, this is the Monday morning I have been waiting for. I woke up in my own bed in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A few minutes ago, I was somewhere in a dream with Dad by my side. We needed a large crew of friends to help put the finishing touches on a new home we were building. When I dream about Dad, it inevitably involves some type of carpentry work. My dad built houses. He was good at it. I was not. At best, I made a good gopher, as in go for this and go for that. I worked for him from the time I could put a hammer and a nail together. I retired from that job the day I graduated from high school. The next time I would be a Gopher was when my wife and I planted our roots in Minnesota.

A dozen years earlier, I left home shortly after my 17th birthday. Although I was rather wet behind the ears, I had been to Mexico once when I was 15. I helped my uncle move his farm from Pukwana, South Dakota to a chicken ranch outside of San Diego. Included in that adventure was a side trip to Tijuana, Mexico. The year was 1962, long before the narcotrafficantes had cut off the head of this tourist town and transformed it into a chamber of horrors. In 1964, Tijuana was still exchanging American dollars for ponchos, serapes and virtually anything to which a JFK photo could be attached. Eventually, my wife and I, and later our children, travelled virtually every inch of that beautiful country.

Over the past decade, the Mexican drug lords have gradually moved their reign of terror east, brutalizing Nogales, Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros along the way. The Tijuana I entered last week was surprisingly modern, clean and very much Mexican. The tourism that overwhelmed the border area in the past had been replaced by ‘la pharmacias’ selling Viagra and Lipitor to American seeking affordable drugs. Also, there was a plethora of dental clinics, my reason for being there. I calculated the savings offered at the very professional Washington Dental Clinic in Tijuana would buy me roughly 20 round trip airline flights from MSP to SAN. And because of the fact that my wife and I would become San Diegans within a year, I felt the need to see first hand why Americans were crossing the border from California and Yuma, Arizona to brighten their smiles.

I not only felt safe walking the streets of Tijuana, I marveled at the progress made despite the drought of tourism at the border. The only Caravans I dodged were Dodges. Of special note was the stunningly gorgeous Jai alai Palace. If you have been to Florida, you may be familiar with this gambling sport that originated with the Basques.

Once I become a San Diegan, I plan to spend some time in the coastal fishing village of Puertocitas, Baja where one can watch pelicans having a feeding frenzy in a bay swirling with fish. You can almost set your watch to 4:00 p.m. watching this daily occurrence.

Farther inland, sitting atop a mountain range that splits Baja from the Sea of Cortex to the Pacific Ocean, lies Laguna Hansa (Lake Hansen). One of the finest sunsets I have ever witnessed occurred at the end of a long day traversing the mountainous trail that led to this seldom used lake. Most of its residents were migratory fowl. It was here that I encountered Lobo, an endangered Mexican Gray Wolf standing on a flattened boulder. Fifteen minutes earlier I had walked upon a sunbathing rattlesnake. The last time I had seen a rattler in Mexico was in the bottom of a five-gallon glass jug of tequila. An enterprising Mexican rancher was selling shots for a few pesos; the same price he charged us for an hour-long soak in one of the many hot springs located on his ranch. This is the adventure I plan as I enter the waning years of a life well-lived; minus the tequila of course.


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