Where real life is better than fiction. Here you can find a number of real life adventure stories that you can download to your own computer and read at your convienience and share with your friends. We've also got some little freebie tasters so you can get a feel for my writing and there's even a recipe for my favorite after adventure grind.
Dig in and enjoy yourself and feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions.
Ode to A Biffy
By Joseph Descans
There are few things more distressing for a surfer than arriving at the beach for a dawn patrol super session only to find oneself with an impending bowel movement and no public facilities available to remedy the matter in a dignified fashion. Sometimes one is reduced to searching for cover behind a rock or a bush, or, if the water is warm, some will just paddle out and do a floater. Once, when I was a kid, in a desperate and vulnerable moment my friends even coaxed me into using the side yard of a Del Mar house near the beach. Unknowingly, I hopped the fence just outside of the residents bedroom window and crunched over the dry leaves and gravel to the place of execution. Moments later an angry woman appeared in her underwear and, much to my friends amusement, caught me in the very act. After an ugly confrontation I slunk away embarrassed and humiliated. I still bear an indelible impression of that woman as she first appeared at the end of that long corridor of wall, fence and gravel. She stands erect with her fists on her hips and elbows sticking out with her feet spread as if to block my exit while she glares at me with that disdaining scowl.
The absence of beach bathrooms is an unfortunate situation often faced by early morning surfers. However, at some of the more popular beaches public facilities are provided; like a Biffy. When approaching one of these odiferous edifices the common method of use is to:
(A) Take a deep breath like a giant Todos Santos clean-up set just broke in front of you.
(B) Get in and get the job done as quickly as possible before you run out of air and pass out in the thing.
This was my plan a few years ago when I arrived at Lower Trestles one early morning. After depositing my board and bag on the rocks I hurried over to the port-o-potty anticipating the usual foul stench to greet me. However, when I opened the door something was strangely and wonderfully absent. There was no stench! When I sat down I quickly noticed there were no dates on the maintenance chart on the back of the door. Except for a pool of fragrant blue water its portals were empty.
It was a virgin Biffy!
Suddenly my disbelief turned to joy at my incredible fortune. I mean they must have delivered the thing at or something for it to have yet been unused. After its christening I retrieved my bag and, sheltered from the cold offshore winds, I put on my wetsuit in the sterile sanctity of the virgin port-o-potty. As I gleefully stretched into my wetsuit goose bumps rose all over my body and I even began singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I didnt want to leave that warm virgin Biffy, and if it were not for the empty surf calling I would have lingered longer to relish the occasion.
I know this story sounds too good to be true and I cant promise that anyone reading it will ever be able to savor the experience.Neither do I expect it to happen to me again.But I swear its true. I cant remember what the surf was like that day, but I will never forget my encounter with the virgin Biffy.
The accident happened on a typical late summer morning at a mainland Mexico beach infamous for its dangerously powerful waves. I was staying in a nearby town with my Christian missionary friend and knee boarder, Jimmy "Jaime" Downs, and taking the first bus to the beach every day where surfboards and helmet awaited my arrival. On this particular morning I passed the remains of the 6' 10" surfboard, which a wave had splintered a few days earlier, as I retrieved my 7'6" from the board room at Edgar's hotel on the beach. The sandbars on which the waves broke were in fairly poor shape. Earlier in the summer they had been battered by waves from several south Pacific swells, and the beach had lost dozens of yards of sand along with over 30 beachfront restaurants. The surf didn't look too special. But remembering how much worse it looked the day before when I got the best tube ride of the whole trip on my first wave, I was eager to get in the water. While every one else waited to see how the wind and wave conditions progressed, I headed for the surf as a sleepy-eyed Floridian wished me luck with a semi-enthusiastic nod of the head. In time a number of surfers joined me and negotiated the ever-changing rip currents and inconsistent sets to get a few good waves. It was a nominal day, but there was definitely potential to get some spitting tubes—the ultimate surfing experience.
At about 9:00 A.M. on August 17, 1998, a fateful 10-foot wave came in and I angled left on it. For me this meant my back was to the wave, forcing me to twist my body toward its face with my left hand feeling the wave's face and the right holding the rail to steer my course. It was a fairly textbook style "backside- rail-grab- pull into the tube take-off," and satisfied with the way things were going, my thoughts went from "This is a nice tube," to "This is a really nice tube," to "This is the best tube I've gotten all morning." As I watched the last section of the tube throw over my head and anticipated my immediate escape from the chamber, the wave suddenly closed down on me. The lip crushed me onto my board snapping my left femur into six pieces instantaneously. As I endured the rag-doll-in-a-washing-machine type workout in the white water, I could feel my left leg battering the rest of my body. I particularly noticed when the heel was hitting my right shoulder blade, but I couldn't feel my left leg. The turbulence eventually ended and after floating to the surface and gathering my faculties I put my hands on the top of my left thigh and slid them all the way down to my toes. Although I had no feeling in my leg, everything was still there. Having been swept toward the beach, I ended up in a deep spot where the whitewaters backed off between the breakers and the shore. As I drifted north with the current, my body was in the water and my arms stretched over the mid-section of the board. I intermittently waved one arm in the air and scanned the beach and restaurants for someone to help me, but couldn't see anyone. The waves finally washed me to the beach. The normally harmless one-foot shorepound twisted and tossed my injured leg unnaturally in every direction as I helplessly rolled up and down the beach. Previously numb, the pain in my leg was now excruciating and 1 cried out for help in both English and Spanish. Within a minute, a big Mexican man from one of the restaurants came to my rescue. After unstrapping the leash from my ankle, he put my arms around his neck and I locked my hands together before he hoisted me up on his back and carried me to a restaurant chair toward the top of the beach. A small crowd gathered and as we waited for the ambulance I joyfully pointed out to someone that I was able to wiggle my toes.
When the ambulance arrived, a board was strapped to my leg and I was whisked away to the nearest hospital. When the paved road turned to cobblestone for the last block to the hospital, the dull horror of having a broken leg in a third world country really hit me. In the emergency room (the entrance hall) I was questioned about the injury. I was delirious but could communicate some in Spanish. My semi-bilingual Mexican friend, Chelis, who came with me in the ambulance, helped me with the rest. They checked my vital signs and took some blood while, just out of my reach, the flies dined on some day-old wounds on my ankle. As I sat on the gurney I experienced the first of many muscle spasms that would plague me until I was operated on in the States more than 24 hours later. It started as a subtle shivering which increased to a tremble and grew into light convulsions until all its energy focused on my left thigh causing the muscles to tighten up and lock down on the broken bone as I screamed in agony. The first spasms eventually subsided, leaving me delirious from the pain. But the later ones were so horrifically intense I could only escape by passing out after prolonged tormentuous screams. After X-rays revealed the broken bone, I purchased some telephone credit and was rolled outside to a nearby phone where I called home with news of the injury. When I told my stepfather about the break, he immediately started making phone calls to get an emergency plane to retrieve me. While the Mexican doctors ordered materials from across the state to perform the surgery and asked me for the money to buy them, other plans were being arranged for the surgery in Oceanside, California.
Because the hospital didn't accept my medical insurance, I was put back into an ambulance and carted to a hospital across town that did. Eventually I ended up in a cheap hotel-style hospital room in which I would live the worse nightmare of my entire life. In the new room they transferred me to a hospital bed. Because I needed to remain sitting at a 45-degree angle to keep the broken bone in place, the nurse pressed a button causing half the bed to incline so I could lean back on it. Since the brace on my leg stuck out about a foot behind me, as the bed rose it pushed the board forward. My broken leg began to rise and twist. Jolted by the pain I quickly yelled, "stop!" and she reversed the mechanism. They removed the brace before reactivating the bed. Next, my custom Hotline wetsuit was cut off and a portion of the sand brushed from my body and the bed. They never washed me or put ice on my ever increasingly swelling leg, but they did give me some painkillers. I went through two bags of plasma and bled internally the entire time. My friend Jaime was called from his job and was popping in and out of the room communicating phone call information from my stepfather, translating between me and the doctors and nurses, and getting my stuff together for the trip home. The Mexican surgeon who hoped to operate on my leg was an English student of Jaime's and spent a lot of time talking with us because it was kind of like getting a free lesson.
Another friend, Mark Hootman, told us the story about how his own toddler son had once been in the room next door with an illness and had fallen off the bed headfirst. X-rays revealed a giant skull fracture but after a 4:00 A.M. angelic visitation the boy was X-rayed again the next day and the fracture was gone. I was hoping that angel was still around. Before the doctor left that night he assured me the nurse would be checking on me periodically during the night. His wife swatted at shades of no-see-ums buzzing around the light. As the door closed behind them, a dreadful hopelessness swept through me at the thought of the tiny mosquitoes perforating me in the night as I lay defenseless in the bed. A while later I was awoken when a Mexican pastor and friend, Julio, came in to pray for me. The curly haired young man paced the room praying and then got on his knees by the bed and put his hands on my leg. He was lost in prayer and seemed to forget that the leg he gripped was broken which scared me some. But the air was charged with hope and joy and when he left I was thinking about that angel. Sometime around 12:00 A.M. the nurse stopped coming to check on me. There was a thunderstorm and after one extremely loud crash of lightning just outside my room the lights went out and never came back on. Mysteriously the air conditioner continued to run. Another flash of lightning revealed a mouse scurrying across the floor. As the painkillers wore off, I was wide awake and began yelling for help. The nurse call button was several feet behind me where I couldn't see it and I didn't even try to reach for it. The sand pressed against my bare body felt as if it was biting me. I could feel every grain and for hours labored relentlessly to remove each one. It was impossible. I feared that if I moved my broken leg just a hair the wrong way it would trigger a spasm, but the biting sand was maddening. The sense of desperation coupled with the pain caused me to wail as loud and long as was physically possible as often as I found strength to do so. No one ever came. At about 5:OOA.M. the nurse finally responded to one of my wails. He had obviously just woken up. He checked my plasma before going for another dose of painkiller to feed into the plastic tube stuck in my arm. At 6:00 A.M. I was put on an ambulance and shipped to the airport where the Air Care International turbo prop airplane took off shortly after 7:00 A.M. carrying me back to the States. The ambulance ride that morning was $180.00 U.S. dollars. Some palms also had to be greased at the Mexican airport where we stopped for fuel. The plane ride was smooth enough and the male nurse administered pillows, blankets and painkillers until we reached Palomar Airport at noon. My last memory of the flight was the wide-eyed and open mouthed 1-wish-there-was-something-I-could-do-to-help-you expression on the nurse's face when I started screaming at the top of my lungs as I went into the last and worse muscle spasm before I passed out from pain. After a three and one half-hour operation in which the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Satish Kadaba, utilized a rod, a plate, nine screws and three wires to put my shattered bone back together, I woke up in a U.S. hospital bed on Wednesday morning. He said it was one of the worse comminuted fractures he had ever worked on. However the battle wasn't over. The broken bone had released fat emboli into my bloodstream, which went into my lungs clogging them. I was breathing at a fraction of my actual lung capacity and the pulmonary doctor explained the situation most poignantly when a few days later he calmly stated, "Either they expire or they don't." I survived the ordeal and at the time of this writing I am fully recovered from the accident. I am eternally grateful to God as well as all the family, friends, doctors and other people who helped me survive this ordeal and helped me rehabilitate. But much to their dismay, I'm planning to go back to the same beach, paddle out to the same sandbar and ride the same waves again!
The Big, The Bad and the Ugly....Find out what it's like to get mauled by a 47' Todos Santos Island monstor set wave just hours behind a major Pacific storm.
The Adventure Breakfast Patty
(An original JD recipe)
The most important part of any adventure is the energy to pull the thing off or to refuel the body once youve completed it. The following recipe is a bit much to grind immediately before an assault but an absolute delight when task is completed. With a couple pieces of toast and some milk this is enough to feed the entire Cleaver family or just one hungry adventurer.
1 large garlic clove1 thick slice of onion
1 hefty garden mushroom1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato
˝ cup of steamed rice3 xx large eggs
1 handful of your favorite cheese1 avocado
1 fat splash of your favorite salsabutter
1 12 frying pan and lid
You start this monstrous masterpiece by heating up your frying pan on low with a slab of butter inside.
Next, you dice up the garlic, onion and mushroom and toss them in the pan as you go.
As these sauté you add the rice (which has already been cooked) and the sun-dried tomato and mix everything up.
Once these are cooked to your own personal satisfaction you turn the heat up to medium. Then add the eggs and mix everything up real good; spread it around and flatten it out until you have one preposterously proud pan-filling patty.
Once you believe it is sufficiently browned on the pan side, flip the patty over. Just use the pan and toss the thing in the air so you dont break the pattybut, of course, make sure it lands back in the fryer in one piece!
You should now be looking at the cooked side of the patty to which you add the cheese.
Then you cover the pan to help the cheese melt while the flip side of the patty cooks.
Once the cheese melts you slide the patty off onto a dinner plate and cover it with avocado and then smother it with salsa.
Consume with milk, honey and cinnamon whole-wheat toast, and vitamins.
Like everything else in the world, people have their own personal preference as to how they like to do things. Thats one reason why I dont use exact measurements. You know how much of whatyou like, so you can figure it out for yourself and according to what you actually have in the fridge and on the shelf. If youre afraid to flip the patty in the air you can always take the cowards way out and break it in pieces and flip them or just scramble everything. But its more fun, professional, and aesthetically pleasing to flip it in one solid piece. Also, I dont like to heat up my avocado and salsa, but if you do, you can always put it on in the pan once the cheese melts and leave it in there another minute.
Now, Go on your wild adventure or go take a long nap!
By Joseph Descans
As I stepped from my house in the cool morning air