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Author: Subject: Vaya Con Dios DON JOHNSON of Mulegé...
David K
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[*] posted on 9-16-2020 at 09:41 AM
Vaya Con Dios DON JOHNSON of Mulegé...


I just saw this news from Willy Airstream on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2930343080331728

One of Baja's early resort pioneers... Don Johnson has passed.
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From 2008:

Serenidad's 40th party and on the first photo is Capt. Muñoz with Don Johnson and Larry Hahn

Here's the caption for that photo (below):

Larry Hahn (www.BajaDreams.com) on the left and Don Johnson (www.Serenidad.com) on the right with Baja's most famous pilot, Capt. Francisco Munoz. (photo from Larry)

Don Johnson.jpg - 46kB

[Edited on 9-16-2020 by David K]




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[*] posted on 9-16-2020 at 12:52 PM


My first home in Mulege was in a tent in Dons parking lot many Years ago. He was a good Friend....God Bless....
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[*] posted on 9-16-2020 at 03:47 PM


A Don story....

After many floods in H.Mulege the powers that be decided to dredge a canal in the middle of the river from the mouth to about the Cuesta Real. Working on the federal project allowed them to callously disregard some of the environmental regulations and be as expedient as possible. Those of us who witnessed them building roads in the river then excavating them back out for several years got a lot of laughs.

During the first go-round. most of the dirt was trucked as short of a distance as possible and some of my neighbors received millions of tons of fill for free. The upside to this for the trucking companies was they were being paid to haul it 3 km but actually only had to haul it 1/4 km or less. This absolutely trashed the roads with salty mud which destroyed many a car on the river road.

After the dirt lottery was finished, because nobody wanted the fill, the engineers realized how much they were saving from the short trucking distances and decided to "rebuild" the road from the The Patron to the lighthouse which had a small channel cut into it from one of the many hurricanes. And "rebuild" they did. They built a road so wide and high it resembled the deck of a aircraft carrier. Thousands of full trucks mill walking it down so it was as hard as concrete, more than 60 feet wide and several meters taller than it used to be. What they considered a triumph of road building and cost savings was, in fact, an earthen dam that prevented the next flood from breaking through to the ocean.

This short lived buildup of water almost got my house and actually made the floor wet in the house that I am advertising here. This was the first and only time this house had been wet.

Well, after the dam finally broke and the river drained (I believe this was Odile) the engineers came back for some more dredging and began to build up the earthen dam they called a road. When I saw what they were attempting to do again I had a few words with them and was dismissed. Then I called Don and he came to visit me. After a short tour of the project and a few words Don said "There is nothing we can do, this is a federal project and I can't do squat" but he said he would call a friend he knew in Mexico city to see what's what.

Within a week the equipment was pulled off the job and if you drive it now you'll notice just past the palapas is a significant channel that the flood waters can pass through and pull the beach apart more quickly in the next flood. It was tested briefly two years ago and passed with flying colors and in a big one I am sure the road will wash out just like it is supposed to while allowing all the flood waters to enter the Sea of Cortez on both sides of the lighthouse.

I am sure Don's friend, whoever it was, listened to Don and his concern that the water backed up onto his runway and hotel and "re-engineered" a new azzhole for the arrogant guy in charge.

A class act and Mulege will be poorer without him.
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[*] posted on 9-16-2020 at 04:16 PM


Great story akmaxx- thanks for sharing.
Sad to lose another Baja pioneer.

DEP Don.




\"Probably the airplanes will bring week-enders from Los Angeles before long, and the beautiful poor bedraggled old town will bloom with a Floridian ugliness.\" (John Steinbeck, 1940, discussing the future of La Paz, BCS, Mexico)
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[*] posted on 9-17-2020 at 03:50 AM


DEP

Such an icon. We ran into him once, years ago, in La Paz.

Incredible what knowing someone can accomplish! Thanks for the anecdote akmaxx.




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boe4fun
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[*] posted on 9-17-2020 at 01:24 PM


Don was a wonderful person. I know of several folks he had really helped over the years. DEP amigo.



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[*] posted on 9-18-2020 at 02:25 PM


Serenidad pig roasts, Thanksgiving bird feast
Charter boats and pangas stacked at the ramp
Hard pack dirt runway
Short field landing, short field TO
Oppressive heat trolling the tuna highway
Dorado! Dorado! Dorado! (and yellowtail)
Ice cold beers and frosty margaritas at the pool
Don smiling, holding court, tequila shots
Fading memories so long ago
Almost like it didn't happen...
Vaya con dios, Piloto Chuck
Vaya con dios, Don
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David K
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[*] posted on 9-19-2020 at 02:42 PM


Excellent article from Discover Baja: https://www.discoverbaja.com/2020/09/18/losing-a-baja-legend...



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[*] posted on 9-21-2020 at 12:14 PM


Lots of fond memories of the Serenidad hotel and Mr Johnson. He would always stop by our table and chat if he was there. On one trip with my two brothers after a hurricane went thru the lights kept going out so my brother Charlie took a screw driver and went to the breaker box and tightened all the connections, problem solved. That same night at dinner I went to the men's room inside and the lights went out. It was pitch black. I had to follow the wall around to find the door.
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[*] posted on 9-21-2020 at 02:38 PM


loved his daughter in 50 shades......but seriously we always seemed to get screwed at the Serenidad but Don was always a class act, a true legend unlike some other "legends" folks here like to gravitate towards :rolleyes: Don will missed. RIP
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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2020 at 02:58 PM


Don's wife Nancy passed away before him... At the hotel is a large memorial to her... I saw it last year when I stayed there two nights with the Trail of Missions Recon TV crew.

Erle Stanley Gardner mentioned Don and Nancy, after visiting with them back in 1966. He has this one photo of her in his 1967 book, Off the Beaten Track in Baja... This was before the Serenidad...





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[*] posted on 10-4-2020 at 06:15 PM


What a guy!

He was a friend to us in 1990 when were in a hiway accident...

Steve in Oro Valley
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