Sunday, May 4, 2014

Loreto Bay Flashback

It has been a quiet week here in Loreto Bay, with a dwindling number of Homeowners in residence as the exodus north continues, offset to some degree by a steady turnover of Visitors renting Villas for short term stays.  The days are getting noticeably warmer, with daytime highs in the mid-thirties Celsius and mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with afternoon breezes most days that clear the rising humidity that is only a hint of what is to come in the next few months.

Thinking about a Blog topic this week, I realized that it is almost 10 years since
my first drive down the Baja in June '04, which was about 7 months after I purchased the lot in November '03 that became my home here two years later.  This in turn lead me to look for pictures from that memorable trip on "Highway #1" in a 36' Motorhome (what was I thinking!) and first views of the site preparation work .  What follows is a bit of a trip down "Memory Lane" to the earliest days of this Development which I hope will help both Homeowners, and those who may have only visited Loreto Bay through these pages, to reflect on how far we have come from the early days of "chalk on sand" to the thriving self-governed community of over 600 completed homes that now annually attract many hundreds of Homeowners and Visitors alike.

In hindsight, that first drive itself was relatively uneventful, but certainly was at the time, stressful - due mainly to the narrowness of the two lane road with a lack of shoulders and compounded by the "foreignness" of the territory and uncertainty of procedures like border crossings and military check points enroute.  The trip took 3 days (I now normally drive it in a day and a half in a regular vehicle) due to my cautious approach to speed in the Motorhome and the requirement to overnight where there were RV utilities available.  Having said that, I think this was the most focused and intense driving experience I had ever had and I limited each day's travel to about 6 hours.

But I also have vivid memories of experiencing some of the most breathtaking and/or strange scenery of the Baja for the first time on that trip - landmarks that have become more familiar over the annual round trips I have made since: the boulder fields of Catavina, the beaches of Bahia Conception etc.  And then, the growing excitement of finally approaching Loreto at the end of a 4,000 km trip from western Canada, and the sense of accomplishment I felt having travelled most of the length of North America and seen the changes of geography, geology and climate that entails.

On arrival in Loreto, and the first visit to Loreto Bay since purchasing 7 months before, I remember the
excitement I felt seeing the first tangible signs of the future development - site preparation, which entailed removing the top meter of sandy soil and then watering the ground and compacting it in several stages as the soil was replaced back to the original depth again, providing a stable foundation for the construction to come.  I remember playing a round of golf on the original course, which was (to be polite) in primitive condition, with stretches of more or less natural sandy scrub brush between barely irrigated landing areas, and apparently "fertilized" with free range cattle droppings.

I made a couple of trips back to Loreto by air the following year while my home was one of the first under construction, seeing the walls rise, first as raw compressed earth adobe bricks and concrete blocks, and later as finished plastered walls.  But even after my home was completed in November of 2005 it was surrounded by construction of unfinished homes for months (and in some cases, years) to come.  I also remember joining in several of the Developer's Sales Events that happened to coincide with some of the early trips I made to Loreto, and seeing the infectious enthusiasm shared between the many groups of potential (and actual) home buyers that came under the spell of the message of Loreto Bay and the vision of the Developers.

This exercise in nostalgia, and looking back over the relatively short history of Loreto Bay, brings the accomplishments and progress of the past ten years into sharp focus.  What was an undeveloped stretch of featureless sand and scrub on a crescent beach, has now become a growing community of over 600 homes with a population of hundreds of residents during the winter Season.  Loreto Bay also provides employment for dozens more who work full time maintaining the homes and the acres of pristine landscaping year round.  

There are also a growing number of businesses providing services and supplies to the community, although the seasonal nature of the resident population poses challenges for some of these enterprises.  But I believe that one of the most important aspects of this unique place is intangible - the strong sense of Community that has been created here goes far beyond the "bricks and mortar" that makes up the buildings.  

That is the common ground that so many of us share, who have made their homes here over these years, as diverse as we may be in age and background, we have found a place we call home and we have all made sacrifices and faced challenges to accomplish that.  And I think that it is the synergy that comes from these shared experiences that is one of the bonds that we Homeowners have in common, and has helped to bring us together in this Community.

Looking back to the beginnings, so as to better appreciate how far we have come, and put into perspective what we have all helped to create, that is what it means to be "Living Loreto"!