Voices of Loreto: Angels on the Highway

May 28, 2012

Anyone who has driven Transpeninsular Highway One gains true respect for the narrow, unforgiving road and its passengers. We drive each year with Baja dreams and prayers— and a touch of locura (translation: folly, insanity, lunacy, madness). And usually a car crammed full of stuff, year after year. It’s even become the subject of local folklore and music in Loreto, from storytelling around the palapa to a much-loved song entitled ‘Highway One: The Ride of Your Life,’ written by Rich Rajacich of Los Beach Dogs.

Two years ago, the miraculous outcome of our own car accident quickly gained Loreto folklore status. That was when I learned about the angels on the highway, and every time I told the story I sang their praises. Within minutes of car trouble, seemingly out of the desert cactus, they begin to appear. There are those who show up to solve problems, to communicate, to orchestrate actions and decisions, and to provide the support you need.

You might call it coincidence or fate or serendipity that the right people show up at the right time. But it’s way bigger than any of those words might suggest. We’ve met angels that became our lifeline and welcome to Mexico. We have also had the opportunity to offer to others the same service.

The pride of North America is that a 911 call yields pretty quick response. However, Baja’s resources are different. In addition to fellow travelers who help one another, you are likely to see a truck here or there with the logo “Angeles Verdes.” Green Angels are the government-sponsored fleet that roams the Baja highway, providing service to viajeros who run into trouble on the lonely road.  We recently met Fermín, who stopped at the scene of an accident, wearing his signature green shirt and a large silver crucifix, bringing assurance that he will do whatever is necessary for a traveler’s welfare.

I can’t tell you how important it is to take responsibility—to wear seatbelts, drive slowly, with caution and deep awareness, straddle the center line whenever possible, and always be mindful of passing cars. But most importantly, make sure when you travel Highway One you travel with angels. Much as it seems you are driving a lonely highway, you are not alone. There is a force that makes the right people show up at the moment they are needed, because it’s right action, and we are all here to provide a lifeline for one another.

Eve followed the gray whale migration to Baja and never looked back. She now lives primarily in Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, whose magic stirs her imagination and inspires her creative life.