Baja: Tropic of Cancer – Coco’s Corner

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“You’re not a motorcyclist until you’ve been to Coco’s Corner.” We’ve picked up this Baja saying along the way, but I’m unclear as to where. It’s un-attributable, but battering the Varaderos over 40kms of washboard and gravel, snaking through canyons, and viewing western movie perfect cactus forests has proven the saying’s truth. The ride is well worth the effort. Then as we round the corner, and there is a row of dirtbikes parked in front of Coco’s.

Coco is a trip. The tradition is you stop, buy a soda or a beer (or several), take in some kindly abuse issued in a mix of Spanish and English, and then leave the cans… what every you do leave the cans. Do not crush them. We learned this from a KTM 250 two-stroke rider, Murphy, the previous evening while camping in Gonzaga. Murphy, assumedly, learnt this first hand.

A large number of the cans, primarily Pacifico beer, are used for decoration around Coco’s, and who knows what fear the hyper-energetic, blue-tongued, double-amputee, Baja dweller put into Murphy?

Whatever it was, its left an impression. How could it not?

Coco is a spectacularly unique individual, with enough presence not only to make a living in the middle of nowhere, but to get that nowhere put on most Baja and even a few World maps. That’s quite a coup for a man who lost his legs beneath the knee to diabetes, and now runs around on painter’s style knee pads, or for larger distances rips around on a quad with a stuffed Taz on the front. A more fitting mascot you can not think of.

Coco has been living at the corner for over 26 years, and reputedly given his “photographic” memory, he can tell you exactly how long at any given time. And that, we’re told, is the key to visiting Coco’s Corner. Come more than once, because once Coco has had you sign his book, he’ll astound you with another feat. No matter how long you’ve been gone, he’ll remember you and your bike, and look it up in the book to prove himself right.

Already, on the ride to rejoin Mex 1, we find ourselves hoping to put Coco’s memory to the test. Winding through the canyons, the road solidifying, the surface becoming closer to that of a logging road in BC, the gravel smoothing, it strikes me that the Baja’s dust is working its way into everything; bushings, suspension, us. This is another place that will constantly call me back.

GPS Co-ordinates: +29° 31′ 1.92″, -114° 17′ 27.84″

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One Comment Add yours

  1. dan cox says:

    Neil,

    Wow! Another great video. Now I want to ride further down the Baja! I’ve only been down as far as San Quentin (200 miles) but can see that there is so much more out there. Thanks for sharing your trip.

    Dan

    Like

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