Hey, Spike! writes from Mexico
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO – Right here on the Sea of Cortez, we’re finding things entertainingly quiet in the company of Summit County longtimers Peer and Nancy Bjornstad, who reside on Gold Hill between Frisco and Breckenridge.
We are combining the Norwegian ja, ja with the Mexican si, si.
Peer, now 78, came to the United States from Oslo, Norway in 1953, and attended the Colorado School Mines in Golden, where he met Nancy, a few years younger, who lived there.
They lived at the corner of Fourth and Granite in Frisco until they built their home on Gold Hill, where they raised their kids Lisa, Kari, and Erik.
Peer worked on Bartlett Mountain, home to the Climax Molybdenum Mine, in a host of jobs on the Storke and 600-foot levels, before ending up as an engineer on the Phillipson Level – the open pit, designing haul roads, the last of which is named Peer Bjornstad Boulevard.
He was also a ski patroller at the long-gone area just across the highway on Fremont Pass.
While we never met back then, Hey, Spike! recalls seeing the helmeted nametag with that foreign name.
The Bjornstads remain quite active and still work well into their retirement years, now as part-timers for the Breckenridge Building Center. Nancy worked many years in the local U.S. Forest Service office.
Way back in 1982, they bought a timeshare in the Condominios Dorado overlooking the aptly named Pelican Cove. They have not missed a year since then, usually spending May and October here.
Over those years they cruised sailboats here in Mexico and on Colorado’s Carter Lake, Lake Dillon, Lake Granby, Navajo Reservoir, Lake Pueblo, Utah’s Lake Powell, Wyoming’s Alcova, and Nebraska’s Lake McConaughy.
They switched to the 34-foot CHB trawler “Guppy” when sailing began testing their bodies. They bought it in California and cruised down the Baja, up the Sea of Cortez and into San Carlos to its well-protected homeport of San Carlos Marina.
Here for almost 30 years, Peer and Nancy have developed strong friendships. They are locals in both places.
It’s about a 1,000 miles from The Summit, a trip we made safely, with overnight stops in Socorro, N.M., and Nogales, on the Arizona-Mexico border.
While the news is filled with that unfortunate death of a Colorado jet-skier on Lake Falcon, over on the Texas border, we saw the expected heavy presence of US Border Patrol agents in white SUVs and Mexican Policia Federales in their black Dodge Chargers.
This area in the State of Sonora is called the “Hassle Free Zone” for foreigners by the Mexican authorities.
It has proven to be true. Muchas gracias.
Highway 15, a shoulder-less four-lane highway, produces interstate speeds much higher than the posted 100 kilometers (60 mph). These locals are flying over the remarkably “suave” blacktop.
Tomorrow, still in the darkness of night, Capt. Peer will fire up Guppy’s six-cylinder diesel engine and we’ll motor some 75 miles over to the Baja and the river-fed and heavily forested town of Mulege and the Bahia de Concepcion, for a week’s worth of exploring the smaller bays of Santispac and Coyote.
Even over the many years of visiting Mexico, this marks our first foray (other than deepsea fishing excursions) for experiencing a life on the water.
Excitable kids, we are.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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