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Baja 2002 CFO Fly-out

Three Cardinals and one Beech Baron, and eleven people participated in this year's CFO Baja fly-in. A twenty five percent increase over last year!

My Cardinal had still not completed the annual that was begun on Jan 31, so I flew the Baron.

Like I did last year, I compiled an itinerary and a brief biography and picture of the participants, with notes and suggestions for customs and immigration, etc, which was distributed to everybody.

Sadly, Mexico flying seems to be polarized between the folks who have been there and enjoy it, and those who have never been there, but know the banditos will get you in that evil place. Heck, those latter folks may have even eaten a taco once, so their views are qualified.

It gives me great pleasure, however, to announce that this was the first year that we had a non-veteran Baja flyer in the group. Congratulations to Wayne and Maria for taking the plunge. Nobody knew about Maria until the actual day of the fly-in, but that's another story.

In the few days preceding the fly-in, it was suggested that instead of meeting at Calexico, California, at noon on Friday, that we would instead meet at San Felipe, Mexico mid morning for customs.

Two of the planes did meet up in San Felipe mid morning, but I stuck with my noon-ish departure, as did the remaining Cardinal (due to IFR weather in the Los Angeles area).

Not long after departing San Diego, I was able to communicate with everybody on the air to air frequency of 122.75, even though the lead planes were several hundred miles in front of me.

Customs went smoothly at San Felipe, even though there were lots of planes (the Mooney group does their fly-in this same weekend). I filled up with $3.85 gal gas, and we last two planes departed for Mulege.

After landing on the sand/dirt strip, it was noted that the runway is marked 34 on the concrete pad, but listed as 31 on the Hotel Serenidad's web page. No problemo, welcome to Mexico.

Parking the planes next to the hotel is very handy, and in a few minutes the swarm of eager young baggage boys had our suitcases wisked off. We all met that evening for cocktails and dinner at the hotel.

My pregnant wife and I, and our 18 month old son, and my parents retired early for the night. I'm not sure how long the other party animals stayed out.

After breakfast the next morning, three planes flew over to the whale lagoon, landing on the same sand and crushed sea shell strip we used last year. Cal and his wife, Jane didn't go on this leg.

Russ and his wife Marnie (Marnie is a fluent spanish speaker) led us there, and we were picked up in a very used van for the short trip to the boats.

I got some great shots of us petting the whales, and after the two hour boat ride (called a panga), we had an authentic home style Mexican lunch of fish and lobster.

We all returned to Mulege for the Saturday evening pig roast at the Hotel Serenidad, with Mariachis and Margaritas! Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and crossed the sea of Cortez heading due east, over 180 miles of water, to El Fuerte.

Russ and Wayne had already departed Mulege, taking both their planes down to Loreto for fuel.

After lunch in El Fuerte (a good launching point for the Copper Canyon train ride), we followed the western shoreline of mainland Mexico back home to San Diego, with a stop at Gyamas for fuel.

The weather was spectacular in Baja, and remained so throughout the weekend. But, like last year, the weather in California was turning ugly on my return.

Weather and fuel availablity in Calexico prevented us from going home Sunday evening, so we stayed overnight in Imperial County.

Tony Williams * N177AW (for sale) * San Diego (MYF)

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