My Nose

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

My Nose

We were camping in Baja with my Aunt Freda and I can't remember if it was simply time to go home or a rain was forcing the issue. It seems that Freda has experienced far more than her share of rain in Baja. Could she be the problem? Dinah was in one of her "moods" and that means being no help and as much hindrance as possible without physically moving. I am sure that our normal trip then was three days and she was never ready to go home. We now stay four days and she is ready to go after that duration.

I decide that I can start to get the boat onto the trailer. This was the boat that we later donated to common good of Mexico. Forget about it the boat sank! The winch rope was looking pretty bad so I had just replaced it with a new nylon rope. This boat is a 12 foot Gregor aluminum all welded construction with a 15 HP Suzuki two-stroke engine. Somehow things were not in their normal relative position, which would have the boat and trailer are slightly south of the van, but today they just north of the van. The beach is a little steeper here giving a shorter distance to move the boat by winch. The boat has clip on wheels for the rear only.

I align the boat and trailer then place a sizeable rock behind each trailer tire, then pay out the winch rope. I have attached the same hook that was on the winch rope when we bought the boat. I make the connection and return to the trailer and start the manual process. Damn, this nylon rope stretches forever before the boat moves. I don't care for that because most times I need multiple ropes and every time that I have fully recovered the winch rope I lose all of the distance of the stretch. The boat is moving in short bursts, not at all smooth. Freda is behind the boat trying to help by pushing, I tell her that pushing is not really helping. It is not difficult to turn the winch.

Lost by a NoseAs the boat moves to the steeper and softer part of the beach the trailer is no longer aligned with the boat. I set the manual anti-backup pawl and get trailer aligned, this entails also moving one of the wheel stops. With good alignment I start to crank again. Almost instantly my entire day is ruined. You do not realize what is happening, but your instincts know that something is amiss. Instinct and reaction is not fast enough to save my face in this case. The hook is missing from the boat as the pulling load has straightened it. No longer constrained by the boat it is now coming toward me at something near escape velocity.

On impact I clearly see all of the planets and most of the Milky Way. The hardest hit was on the cheek with a sickening crack making me believe that teeth were knocked out or broken. I put my right hand over the impact area then instantly turn and run to an ice chest that I know contains crushed ice. In less than five seconds I am opening the chest and reaching toward the ice with my right hand. The white ice chest turns red from the blood in my hand. I grab a handful of ice and shove my face in it. I find a chair, sit down and tilt my head back until I am looking straight up.

My tongue now does an inventory on my teeth, hey they are all still there. This is not a time to try to be pretty so I spit into my left hand not even any chips. Where in hell is all this blood coming from? Freda is running around wringing her hands, by this time Dinah is up and she looks and informs me that my nose is cut off. I ask her to find the missing piece and put it on ice. Hell, maybe I'll just have a Michael Jackson nose. After staring at the sky with a face full of ice for twenty minutes the bleeding has stopped. Inventory of the first aid kit reveals one and only one butterfly Band-Aid. I avoid a quart of peroxide only because the wound is too close to my eyes. Neither of the women wanted to apply that one Band-Aid.

I hear something and look around to see Willie Nelson walking into camp. The guy denied being Willie Nelson but he was from Texas. His son was with him and they needed tires, imagine that. He had an older conventional van and I told him that Puertocitos had a limited selection of used tires. At Puertocitos the road becomes semi-paved, 15 years ago it was hit with .250" of asphalt and now it has more craters than the moon. From there it is about 50 miles to San Felipe where the selection would be better and probably a better price.

Willie would put the Band-Aid on my nose. He washed his hands and did the deed. My wife wanted me to stop at the doctor's office about 35 miles up the road. I declined and then proceeded to tell a horrible lie, I promised to see a doctor when we got home. I had no intention of doing it. I can't bear the thought of getting a local in the nose and then the thought of getting stitches. That close to the ear one could undoubtedly hear the needle puncturing and the thread dragging through. Willie and his son helped finish the loading and all he wanted in exchange was for me not pass him on the way to San Felipe.

There had been some discussion as to who was going to drive. I left no doubt about who was driving citing that I drove 250 miles with a broken collar bone that later had to be pinned because a muscle was jammed between the separated bone ends. On that particular drive I was alone. Before leaving Willie got me away a few feet and said when you get near home you should say, "I am feeling much better now that the double vision is finally gone". That was too good to pass up. I changed it to it is much easier to drive now that I have only half as many vehicles to Dodge.

I am sure that Willie made it to San Felipe. Back at home another discussion ensued. The nose is eight hours into the healing process if I see a doctor now he will tear it open find no foreign material then sew it up. I can live without that.

Just prior to leaving on this trip I replaced possibly a starter or alternator that had a core to be returned. The counter person was a girl in her twenties and she had excellent automotive knowledge. When I did the return I went in and with my best fake rage I say to her "This alternator exploded and just look what it did to my face". Scared the Hell out of her.

Lessons learned:
Use polypropylene for winch rope
Use a cast hook with a clasp to attach the rope to the boat

Ray Alexander
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