Off the Grid

The three Morabito brothers (Christian, Zach & Chad) surfing.

Perched above a sandy cove, 80 miles from a paved road in any direction, we set up our camp. It was a simple layout—a cord strung between two rocks for a clothesline; stones circled up for the fire ring; a tarp laid out to serve as shelter from the constant dirt and wind, and a tent to sleep in. We turned in soon after cooking a dinner of fish, rice, beans, and veggies—there’s only so much one can do after sunset without electronics, social calendars, or artificial light. “La Vida,” as my brother Chad would say each day.

Christian Morabito wearing a “We Are Ocean” hat, midway through the trip.

When I was a senior in college, I hatched the over-romanticized but under-researched idea of bicycling from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (more than 2,000 miles). I dreamed of riding along the Pacific Coast with surfboards, fishing gear, and camping equipment. Then, shortly after graduation, my youngest brother, Zachary, passed away from his second struggle with cancer, and my priorities changed. I took a job with The FruitGuys that allowed me to live close to my family so we could support each other through those two years.

Chad Morabito

But after two years, Chad and I decided it was time to put my career and Chad’s graduate school studies on hold to pursue a quest for adventure and to honor Zach’s own passionate approach to life.

We partnered with We Are Ocean, supporting the Newport Beach, CA, organization’s work to provide cancer patients and survivors with water-based adventures and inspire others to pursue their own adventures. Through generous support from Album Surfboards and Indosole footwear, we surfed, pedaled, and walked our intended path and raised more than $6,000 for the non-profit group.

Narrow shoulders on Californian and Mexican highways didn’t allow too much side-by-side riding. It was a relief to spread out a bit on the dirt road networks of California and Baja and enjoy the scenery and conversation.

In September 2013, Chad and I embarked on the three-month, 2,200-mile trip. Our off-road touring bikes would pull our surfboards, fishing tackle, and camping gear in trailers. We rode south on Highway 1, traveling through the beaches of Big Sur and staying in the warm homes of friends. By mid-October, we had crossed the border. Pavement turned to dirt roads and sand trails, many harsh and unkempt.

This coastal route proved more difficult than we had foreseen. We were constantly required to keep an open mind, but we were sustained by unexpected blessings after wheels broke, routes became impassable, and plans changed. The rewards were immeasurable: sun-filled mornings spent stretching, walking, drinking tea, meditating, and adjusting our campsite––tightening the tie-down cord of the sunshade, re-setting stakes the wind had displaced, and various other tasks. A midday swim with mask, snorkel, and spear out to the reef—conveniently located just 50 yards out-yielded our daily protein source. Sheepshead fish were abundant and great eating. We took only what we needed to survive. By afternoon, the tide would drop, and the surf would appear. We leisurely rode clear, aqua-green point-break waves.

The Morabito brothers with their bikes and equipment at a rest stop in northern Santa Barbara County.

On December 14, 2013, we arrived—exhausted, dusted, and excited—at the tip of the Baja peninsula. Our last pedal strokes propelled us right past the infamous “El Squid Roe” of Cabo San Lucas.

This journey was a leap of faith. We didn’t have all our questions answered before we left, or at any point along the way. But our objective was clear: keep an open mind to the unexpected. We stepped outside our comfort zones and into the unknown, yielding experiences we could never have imagined.

My return to the San Francisco Bay Area begins a new series of local adventures. I reflect on my integration with the sights, noises, smells, tastes, and the feel of my desert surroundings of the last few months, and strive to continue this approach amid the open spaces and resources here at home.

Christian Morabito is The FruitGuys’ former National Distribution Manager. He lives in Marin County, frequents the local beaches, mountains, and rock formations, and pursues work that enhances the local community. Christian and his brother Chad are continuing to work with We Are Ocean. Visit to learn more or see how you can get involved.

Photos courtesy of Christian Morabito

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