As I packed for my train trip through Copper Canyon, I was unaware Hurricane Newton had formed, was aiming for Baja California, and had a northeast trajectory pointing it toward my destination. I learned all this when my travel mate called the night before departure to warn me. “Pshaw!” I spat with American arrogance. “I’m from Seattle; I can handle rain and wind.”
Ajijic and Guadalajara skies were quite clear when we departed early the next morning. We boarded our plane and flew north headed for the Sea of Cortez coast city of Los Mochis from where our tour would begin. But as we neared the city of more than 400,000, the skies grew dark and rainy. We had caught up with the storm and had flown into it. Within moments, turbulence became a passenger on the flight. My stomach catapulted, crashing into my eyeballs, then sank, banging into my gonads. By the third bout of bouncing, I was praying Yentl-like. “Barbra, can you hear me? Barbra?” I pled. And my prayers were answered. We landed safely.
But we had to deplane on the tarmac and run through drenching rain and disorienting wind to baggage claim where we eventually received our luggage which now was wetter than the Sea of Cortez. We then were shuttled to a downtown Los Mochis hotel where we waited for three hours for another vehicle to transport us to the train-station town of El Fuerte more than an hour away. While we waited in the lobby, we watched the storm rage around us. Palm trees bent into yoga positions not yet named. Rain washed the city like a Kohler Dual Shower head on steroids. Umbrellas were blown inside out as were the people struggling with them. Birds flew by with looks of horror. Intersections became lakes, forcing elderly life guards to come out of retirement. Cars were replaced with arks. Every man in Los Mochis changed his name to Noah. Chupacabras were led two-by-two onto the arks. The arks vomited from seasickness. The airport closed.
An eventual lull in the storm allowed us to run to our van fifteen minutes late and we headed to El Fuerte. As we drove northeast, the skies cleared, the clouds went from low dark, foreboding ones, to high, white, happy ones. By the time we arrived at El Fuerte, the home of Zorro and a historically significant town, we thought we had escaped further weather tantrums and would be able to explore the picturesque, well-maintained town. But within minutes of checking into the hotel, the edge of Hurricane Newton caught up with us again. It rained, poured, until after sunset. We walked to the plaza after it stopped and looked around, but it could hardly be called exploring the town. The only picture I took in El Fuerte was of a statue of Zorro; the wind had twisted it into a yoga position not yet named.
We had never been directly in the eye of the hurricane; it apparently had veered more northward then expected. But we had been on its edge. We had survived the eyebrow of the storm.
When we arose the next morning, the sky was clear, the ground dry. We went to the train station, boarded El Chepe, and headed to Copper Canyon without further weather complications. It was a lovely experience.
But I found myself wondering, as I stared out the train’s window at the beautiful scenery, why was the storm named Newton considered a hurricane. Newton is a man’s name. Shouldn’t it have been considered a him-icane?