Okay, now that I'm feeling a bit better, here's my "long road to Cabo" story, 6 years in the making. Grab a Waborita and get comfortable:


Loni and I arrive in Cabo around 12:30, as originally scheduled, to the most comfortable type of hot weather that we haven't experienced since she visited me in Saipan in '99. We get thu Customs without a hitch, meaning we got the "green light" and our bags weren't searched. We walk on thru to the next part of the airport to be besieged by what seemed like a ton of people all offering us their services. We're directed towards a desk where this guy by the name of "Luis" starts off on his sales pitch about a new "hotel" (timeshare) and about all the free things we're entitled to if we give him just 5 minutes of our time. He runs down everything we'd be getting if we attended a "lecture" at this new "hotel". When I politiely tell him to cool it, and that I know his hotel is actually a timeshare, I ask him what's in it for us to attend this lecture. He informs us that it would be roughly a $60-something round trip for transportaion from the airport to the hotel and back. He offers to refund us our entire amount if we attend the lecture. Well, getting my cash back appealed to me more than a free dinner or a trip on a glass-bottomed boat, so I took him up on it. Besides, we were also guaranteed free brunch at the timeshare where the lecture was going to be held. Hey, a refund on my shuttle fare and free food. Ya got me there, buddy! The person that arranged for the shuttles even offered me tickets for Sam's concerts in advance. I asked him how much, and he replied "$80 a piece, the cheapest in town! I'll have people waiting in line tonight " I replied "Chale'!", which is pretty much Spanish slang for "Fuck that!", and told him why should I pay $80 per ticket when I could get it for $20 just by waiting outside the club.

We grab a shuttle, and who's on the same shuttle as us? SPEC herself! Didn't recognize her at first, seeing how I've only seen a very small handful of REDheads in the past, but the fact that she had a lanyard around her neck with a laminate that said "SPEC" on it kinda helped. What was amazing was that there were abut 10 or 11 of us on this shuttle, and only 3 of us knew about Sammy playing there that weekend. Everyone else was down there on business, and once we told them why we were down there it just opened up the floodgates to more people making plans to visit the Cantina. There was one guy seated in front of me, and next to SPEC, that just talked non-stop, to anyone that would even glance his way. He got to be a bit annoying after a while. We even heard a little ad on the radio promoting the upcoming Sammy concerts at the Cantina. The view on the way down there was just great. We'd frequently drive by cliffs that had the most spectacular ocean view, and there were hotels under construction everywhere. The homes that were seated on these cliffs were just awesome.

We reach our hotel, the Mar de Cortez, and as soon as we set foot inside the lobby we're shotgunned by this woman who swears she can outdo any deal we'd been made at the hotel if we'd just "take a look" at her hotels. "Gracias, No", I tell her as we make our way to our room. A room, which, looks far better on their web site than in person, mind you. Loni's reaction was, "Next year, we're staying in a real hotel". No TV, no phone (which we already knew), but it still shocked us a bit. The mattresses on the bed we like the thickest foam rubber imaginable. The A/C, however, was arctic, and that made up for it. It did suck to be in that room first thing in the morning because as soon as the sun rose it hit our room and lit everything up. So, forget sleeping in past 0700. Even with the curtains drawn, it was still as though the sun was situated right on your balcony. I'm not a morning perosn, mind you, so this didn't sit well with me. The pool was adequate, not your typical toilet-bowl sized pool that's typical of just about any budget hotel you visit. The hotel was pretty much REDhead Central, so that kinda helped too. In a few days we got to know quite a few people. Sam's bodyguard, Big Kenny, was a resident of the hotel and a regular fixture poolside nearly everyday. Very personable guy. I like him. Looks intimidating, but he's not. Paula (Sam's webmaster) was there as well. She didn't recognize me at first, but once I reintroduced myself we threw a few punches, cleared the air, kissed and made up, and everything was cool from then on. I understand she has a job to do, and she understood that I'm just a fan who likes going after the "ultimate souvenirs".

Loni and I make our way over to the Cantina, and it was though I had just reached a point of nirvana. I stood there just looking and soaking it all in, not believing for a hot second I had actually, finally, made it. After 6 long years of reading everyone's posts on the SHML, VHML, various bulletin boards, and chat rooms, I was actually here and going to be experiencing something I've dreamt about. I took a few photos of the place, and we made our way into the Waboutique so that I could grab a few B'day Bash shirts, since I was told that these were normally a hot item and disappeared quickly. The club itself wasn't open yet, though the outdoor bar was so we sat for a bit. To be perfectly honest, I do not remember meeting any other REDheads at this point, so if I did and I left your name out, I apologize. It actually took a me a few days to remember everyone's name. I turn 36 today, so chalk it up to Alzheimer's, okay? Loni and I eventually left and started making our way around town, shopping and just checking things out. We went back to the hotel, hung out at the pool for a while, then retreated back to the room for a much needed nap because we had been up since around 0545 that morning.

We go to the Hard Rock Cafe that night for dinner, then made our way to the Cantina, and the first peron I bump into, literally, as I'm going down the steps into the bar area, is Vic Johnson. We talk for a bit, and he remembered me as the guy that gave him the Navy ballcap with his name embroidered on the back earlier this in Vegas. Took a picture with him and he signed my "N4S" CD. Thanked him, turned around and bumped right into Jesse Harms. Spoke for a bit, and he told they had worked up "Halleluiah" for the week's shows, which had me excited (but they never performed it). He signed my "N4S" CD, as did Mona when I ran into her a few minutes later. Mona's actually looking better than she did in Vegas. Whatever workout regimen she's on is clearly working, with fast results. David Lauser wasn't anywhere to be found, as was Sammy, which I kinda figured. If there's one thing I really like about Sam's band is that they make themselves so accessible. There's no air about them at all. They're all very grounded and down to earth.

Loni and I find a table, sit down, and start talking with Jan and another anonymous REDhead, Katherine. Both are very sweet. Katherine is a total fucking crackup. It may not have looked like it, Katherine, but I was having a ball watching you in action. Suddenly I hear "Viiiiiiiiiiiince!!!!!!" I turn and see Carla coming at me like a torpedo and she gives me a huge kiss and hug. I don't remember if Ray was with her or not, though I'm sure he was. I believe I also met Angie, Mona's webmaster, that night. Another sweetie. I met a few others that night, too. Damn! I knew I should've written their flippin' names down. I'm also pretty sure I ran into Phyllis that night, and Diane and Mike. I walk into the club, look around for a bit now that it's open, and just check everything out. If you haven't been there, the best way to describe it is that it's a mini-Van Halen/Sammy Hagar museum, circa 1988/89 to the present. Photos, posters, statues, etc. Same thing with the Cantina's restaurant upstairs. And, on the club's TV's are nons-top Hagar and VH concert videos, "L:RHRN", and various professionally shot live footage from solo Hagar tours past. Sam's DJ has nothing but the best rock music playing, so rap, no hip-hop, no Top 40, or anything like that. The big surprise? Hearing "Dance The Night Away" being played the last day we were there. Never thought I'd hear a Roth-era VH song being played at the club.

Met Jorge, the club's manager, and he is so fucking cool. And hilarious. I'd say just about every single crew of Sam's there is cool. You treat them with respect, they'll treat you the same way. I started feeling a bit tired, so I went back to the room, even though I knew I'd have to be back in a few hours to grab a place in line in order to purchase my tickets for the next night's show. Loni volunteered to take the first shift, and I would return at 0200 to take over. Before I left, however, it was brought to my attention that dinner reservations were being sold inside the club for the Los Tres Gusanos 10/10 show. Well, I was all over that in about a nano-second. The dinner reservations guaranteed you admission into the club without having to stand in line all night, and I like my sleep, so I shelled out the cash for that. Especially since I found out that the dinner reservations for all 3 of Sam's show had been sold out, so I jumped at this offer when it was thrown at me. Upon leaving the club, who do I run into, or actually, who runs into me? Mikey! I hear a "Vince!" Walk up to him, slap hands with him, talk for a few while they were waiting for Mona, say our goodbye's and make my way back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. For anyone wondering, no Van Halen talk ever popped up. Loni puts me to bed, and she heads back to the Cantina for some more partying with Katherine, Phyllis and to secure our place in line for that morning's ticket sale.

Like I said earlier, if I've left your name out, it's not because I wanted to. That first night was a whilrwind, and I hardly remember anyone's names, so I hope you don't take offense. I'll pick up with 10/9 later.

[ October 17, 2002, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: Vince G. ]