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Author: Subject: "One Hell of a Ride"
vandenberg
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 11:11 AM
"One Hell of a Ride"


Just got through reading this book by Lou Federico.
It was given to me by a Loreto friend. It's a great read and somehow not as well known as most Baja lit.
I have it on loan to anyone here in Loreto who would be interested.
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A Lifetime Spent Building Things



Cross where vagabundo diedOvercoming the odds could well be the theme of Lou Federico's life. And that's exactly the story you will find in Lou Federico's One Hell of a Ride. Join Lou as he beat the odds and built 5-star hotels in the sands of the wild and primitive Baja desert.

Baja provides a romantic, adventurous backdrop for Lou's ventures, and is, in a real sense, a character in the book, but the proof of the pudding is in Lou's tenacity and the splendor of his magnificent resorts.

Lou Federico was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 12, 1925. His book, One Hell of a Ride, was written in part because his immediate family knew little about him and more distant relatives even less. Lou would have liked to have known more about his own father, and he wanted to prevent these circumstances from occurring with his own children. While he prefers tennis, fly-fishing, and bird hunting with his English pointers to writing, a fact he makes clear in his book, Lou is glad he took the time to write his story in One Hell of a Ride.

One Hell of a Ride is a tale about one man's love for his family and the great outdoors, as well as his willingness to undertake a seemingly infinite series of challenges. From Denver to Italy to Brooklyn to San Jose to Manila to Baja, Lou Federico has had one hell of a ride. Having formed the Golden Ram Sportsman Club, he lived with his wife, Lana, in Folsom, California, where he ventured into the fields each fall with his hunting dogs until he passed away on July 21, 2010.




I think my photographic memory ran out of film


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7-27-2016 at 06:39 PM
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 07:40 PM


Great book. A good read on what Baja was like in its prime. Mentions a lot of the early well known visitors from that era, and Lou's challenges in building the Hotel Mulege, and then Punta Chivato. I hope Don Johnson, of the Hotel Serenidad, another Baja icon who was a friend closely associated with Lou, will also write his story soon.
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 08:58 PM


Lou Federico was the greatest looser ever setting his foot on Baja soil.
He built one Hotel > lost it because of bad manners and behavior towards Mexicans and MX authorities.
He built another hotel in P. Chivato > lost that one too b/c of same reasons.
When he finally went down into the pacific ocean towards a remote island, he had nothing better to do than shooting the goats from the boat.
Looser he is! Is he still alive? Otherwise it must say: Looser he was.
Good people are welcome in Baja and do not have to leave at all.
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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 06:32 AM


This comment from the conman who runs all the old timers down...............Talk about a "looser".....



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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 08:50 AM


Lou FEDERICO Obituary(Archived)
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 1, 2010
First 25 of 178 words: FEDERICO, Lou Born in Denver, Colo., on March 12, 1925, passed peacefully into God's hands on July 21, 2010, after a yearlong battle with cancer....

Lou FEDERICO Guest Book | View 1 of 1 Entry:
"Hi Federico family; I have just finished reading One Hell of a Ride. I am so touched by his life story. I got back from Punta Chivato July 1st 2011. A friend of ours had his book in his library. I..." - Laura McDonagh
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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 09:12 AM
Dixon Collins


Then there is this, someone else documented to have built the Punta Chivato Resort (Hotel Borrego de Oro):
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=59272




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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 09:30 AM


DK,

I don't think Federico disputed Dixon's involvement. Btw, there are other (unflattering) references in Federico's book about Dixon, not just the ones you referenced in the other thread.

Also, per the other thread, Dixon claimed he "began his building career in the hospitality industry in 1965 when he designed, constructed, owned and operated, the Punta Chivato Hotel, a 90 suite luxury hotel, spa and fishing resort in Baja California, Mexico."

This "for sale" ad indicates there are only 28 rooms/suites, not 90:

http://www.buymydreamhotel.com/dbase_see_record.php?ref=MXSE...

Maybe it's the exchange rate?

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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 10:03 AM


Quote: Originally posted by BigBearRider  
DK,

I don't think Federico disputed Dixon's involvement. Btw, there are other (unflattering) references in Federico's book about Dixon, not just the ones you referenced in the other thread.

Also, per the other thread, Dixon claimed he "began his building career in the hospitality industry in 1965 when he designed, constructed, owned and operated, the Punta Chivato Hotel, a 90 suite luxury hotel, spa and fishing resort in Baja California, Mexico."

This "for sale" ad indicates there are only 28 rooms/suites, not 90:

http://www.buymydreamhotel.com/dbase_see_record.php?ref=MXSE...

Maybe it's the exchange rate?



Also, things change from 1965 to the opening a few years later to today!
Perhaps Dixon was the actual builder and Federico was the 'face' of the business? I went there in 1973 and it was closed up. Sad that so many projects never turn out well... development is tough in remote places, off the grid. Baja always wins in the end.




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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 12:51 PM


Dixon hooked up with Otis Chandler's (LA Times Newspaper owner) ex wife who came out of their divorce with a big pile of cash, which Dixon proceeded to go through as rapidly as possible. This was the financing for Punta Chivato. Lou did a remarkable job with the logistics of building Chivato in such a remote location at the time. Without Lou, the project would never have happened until much later with different players. Carlos Slim maybe??
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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 01:05 PM


Quote: Originally posted by LancairDriver  
Dixon hooked up with Otis Chandler's (LA Times Newspaper owner) ex wife who came out of their divorce with a big pile of cash, which Dixon proceeded to go through as rapidly as possible. This was the financing for Punta Chivato. Lou did a remarkable job with the logistics of building Chivato in such a remote location at the time. Without Lou, the project would never have happened until much later with different players. Carlos Slim maybe??


So, what was the connection or who was who between Federico and Dixon?
Thank you!




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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 01:06 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Quote: Originally posted by LancairDriver  
Dixon hooked up with Otis Chandler's (LA Times Newspaper owner) ex wife who came out of their divorce with a big pile of cash, which Dixon proceeded to go through as rapidly as possible. This was the financing for Punta Chivato. Lou did a remarkable job with the logistics of building Chivato in such a remote location at the time. Without Lou, the project would never have happened until much later with different players. Carlos Slim maybe??


So, what was the connection or who was who between Federico and Dixon?
Thank you!


I think what Lancair is referencing is discussed in Federico's book, if I recall correctly.

[Edited on 7-28-2016 by BigBearRider]

[Edited on 7-28-2016 by BigBearRider]
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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 01:10 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Quote: Originally posted by BigBearRider  
DK,

I don't think Federico disputed Dixon's involvement. Btw, there are other (unflattering) references in Federico's book about Dixon, not just the ones you referenced in the other thread.

Also, per the other thread, Dixon claimed he "began his building career in the hospitality industry in 1965 when he designed, constructed, owned and operated, the Punta Chivato Hotel, a 90 suite luxury hotel, spa and fishing resort in Baja California, Mexico."

This "for sale" ad indicates there are only 28 rooms/suites, not 90:

http://www.buymydreamhotel.com/dbase_see_record.php?ref=MXSE...

Maybe it's the exchange rate?



Also, things change from 1965 to the opening a few years later to today!
Perhaps Dixon was the actual builder and Federico was the 'face' of the business? I went there in 1973 and it was closed up. Sad that so many projects never turn out well... development is tough in remote places, off the grid. Baja always wins in the end.


As indicated by Lancair above, Federico indicates that Dixon provided the money and that Federico managed the construction.

The Hotel has been closed a few times. Per Senterfitt's it was closed, perhaps around the time you were there, and then reopened again, only to close again. It was reopened when the current owner purchased it (maybe 10 years ago?), but has been closed for a couple of years. It's a shame. It's a fantastic location.

[Edited on 7-28-2016 by BigBearRider]

[Edited on 7-28-2016 by BigBearRider]
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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 01:21 PM


Yes, an ideal location... Great for pilots, too. Alas, private general aviation to Mexico is badly damaged by the fear of plane theft, higher costs imposed, and the ditching of 100+ runways in Baja.

Here are photos of pages from Erle Stanley Gardner's 1967 book that talk about Dixon and the resort (no mention of Federico). Photos taken in 1966:













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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 03:14 PM


DK,

Funny, I believe the same pic or pics are in Federico's book. Without reading the text, I incorrectly assumed that you were posting pics from Federico's book.

Federico said Dixon was called "Dino" because he had a giant body with a very small head. Then he said some other things about him.

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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 04:32 PM


LOL... if Dixon (Dino) financed the project, he should have been more respected, yes?

The photos are from Erle Stanley Gardner's 'Off the Beaten Track in Baja' c1967




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[*] posted on 7-28-2016 at 04:59 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
LOL... if Dixon (Dino) financed the project, he should have been more respected, yes?

The photos are from Erle Stanley Gardner's 'Off the Beaten Track in Baja' c1967


Respected by Federico? There may be other reasons, as alluded to in the book, why Federico may not have liked Dino that much.
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[*] posted on 7-29-2016 at 08:05 AM


I have a copy of the book and enjoyed it. I have no doubt that the author's tale is a little self serving but that doesn't detract from the story. I arrived in Mulege in '74 and the resort was closed, there was a caretaker on site, we took him a 6-pack or two and we were always welcome. One of the great places in Baja to watch the sunset. Later when Bill Alvarado was running the place we enjoyed it, he was a good guy who did a good job but my understanding is that the ejido thought they could do better without him.
Didn't work out very well for them.
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[*] posted on 7-29-2016 at 11:19 AM


Quote: Originally posted by KurtG  
I have a copy of the book and enjoyed it. I have no doubt that the author's tale is a little self serving but that doesn't detract from the story. I arrived in Mulege in '74 and the resort was closed, there was a caretaker on site, we took him a 6-pack or two and we were always welcome. One of the great places in Baja to watch the sunset. Later when Bill Alvarado was running the place we enjoyed it, he was a good guy who did a good job but my understanding is that the ejido thought they could do better without him.
Didn't work out very well for them.


Did the Ejido take over the Punta Chivato resort at some point?
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[*] posted on 7-29-2016 at 02:29 PM


Quote: Originally posted by BigBearRider  
Quote: Originally posted by KurtG  
I have a copy of the book and enjoyed it. I have no doubt that the author's tale is a little self serving but that doesn't detract from the story. I arrived in Mulege in '74 and the resort was closed, there was a caretaker on site, we took him a 6-pack or two and we were always welcome. One of the great places in Baja to watch the sunset. Later when Bill Alvarado was running the place we enjoyed it, he was a good guy who did a good job but my understanding is that the ejido thought they could do better without him.
Didn't work out very well for them.


Did the Ejido take over the Punta Chivato resort at some point?


I think, but don't know for sure since I don't always trust my memory these days, that they operated it for awhile after Bill left. I didn't go out there much in the 80's. If Pompano is still reading these posts he would likely have better info than I do.
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[*] posted on 7-29-2016 at 07:47 PM


My friend and I was there a year or two ago and it was closed down with no one there. We walked around for a while.

The other hotel just past it had some men working on the building to the right as you enter and they told us to just pick a room for the night and someone would be by to help us. We just walked around it too and left.

My friend use to fly in there in his plane and spent a couple of days years ago. Said it was a great place with good food and drinks and plenty of good interesting conversation at the bar.

[Edited on 7-30-2016 by TMW]
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