Coco’s Corner & Bahia de Los Angeles

Coco’s Corner sits in the middle of nowhere, Baja, but at the center of every road. It’s a cartographic oddity that such a place would be so famous when it’s so far off the beaten track, but perhaps that’s why it is so famous.

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Rocks are spray painted with black lettering and a simple arrow on your way towards Coco’s along the gravel and sand road at random intervals. When you arrive you’re greeted by a fenced camp, decorated with thousands of beer cans that clink softly in the desert wind.

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Other decorations abound as well, some junk, some handpicked mementos of other travelers.

Want to watch some TV and drink beer on toilet seats?
Want to watch some TV and drink beer on toilet seats?

If you’d like to stay a while, some abandoned campers are also available to spend the night in; while there I spoke with a guy who was pedaling a three-wheeled bicycle around Baja with his two cats and three dogs.  He had been there three days, as, you can imagine, it’s not very easy to tricycle your way through sand and gravel.

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The many prosthetics of Coco, and an old dirt bike. From what I can tell he doesn’t use any of them, not even when riding his quad.

The man himself, Coco, is actually named Jorge Enrique Corral Sandez, however in Mexico it’s common for people named Enrique (Henry) to go by Coco. Coco is a man of bawdy language and no legs, and will gladly invite you into his home for a beer or two.  He’s been a staple of Baja for many years, having first opened up this place in 1990.  It’s now a required (well, pretty much) stop for all Baja racers doing their pre-running, and all travelers as well.

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When you arrive, he asks you what kind of beer you want, whips out his signature book and starts filling in the details; your name, where you’re from, a message, and a hand-drawn picture of the vehicle you arrived in.  There must be thousands of signatures in the book by now.

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While chatting with Coco, a Mexican family showed up and joined me.  You see, the inside of the restaurant/lounge area is decorated as well.

Panties, panties everywhere.  Among the myriad of dirt bike stickers, photos of racers and Coco are the underwear of many a female traveler and racer, all signed and dated of course.

I bring up the family because we all started enjoying our cervezas while Coco bantered back in forth in Spanish, and I grinned and laughed along like a silly gringo.  I understood a bit, and while Coco kept it up the matriarch and I got to talking, and pretty soon I realized she was trying to pawn her daughter off on me, the great white motorcycle adventurer.  “She loves motos,” she said.  This was to be my first (but not last) marriage offering.

Anyway, Coco eventually convinced the daughter to staple up a pair of her underwear to the ceiling of the room, much to our amusement.

La familia.
La familia.

Coco grabbed his trusty Panty Ladder and had one of the other guys help him stand it up, while the daughter proceeded to climb to the top and do the deed.

Coco supervising.
Coco supervising.
Houston we have new panties.
Houston we have new panties.

I checked my watch and decided I needed to head out, so I said goodbye to my new friends and my potential new wife (her mother told me they’d be staying at a hotel behind the market in Guerrero Negro, so of course come find them when I arrived), and headed towards Bahia de Los Angeles.

A job well done desert rider.
A job well done desert rider.

Coco let me know I would have problems finding lodging, as the Baja 200 was underway, but I was fairly certain I could find a spot.  Sadly I wouldn’t arrive until too late so I was unable to view the race.

The ride was fairly straight most of the way, though as you approached the bay and dipped through the mountains the ride got much more twisty and exciting.  There’s even a salt flat as you approach the town, but sadly I was having way too much fun riding and didn’t take too many photos.

Look Mom, more cacti.
Look Mom, more cacti.

Bahia de Los Angeles is laid out like any other beach town, with hotels and restaurants lining the street and facing the ocean, and the locals living a bit further off. I rode a bit further out and found a campground about 1 km from the town, an easy walk and easier ride if needed.

My digs.
My digs.

I pulled into a small campground, lined with palapas and a few RVs, with a house on the other end.

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There I met who I can only assume was Daggett, a larger Mexican man fast asleep on a kitchen table and his pleasant wife who took my 130 pesos and gave me a place to set up my tent.

Home sweet palapa?
Home sweet palapa?

Then I headed into town to grab a bite to eat.

Hammocka's Fish I think it was called.  Pretty tasty.
Hammocka’s Fish I think it was called. Pretty tasty.

Eventually I made it back, stared at the vast expanse that is the visible galaxy (and it truly is visible compared to most places in the U.S.) and fell asleep.

Not before attempting to use the bathroom, and high-tailing it out of there once I met the current occupant.

Oh, a black widow.  Lovely.
Oh, a black widow. Lovely.

 

  • BGVA

    Love your writing, Phil, and the photos you take! Every picture tells a story. There’s something very exciting about “hitching a ride” on your vivid descriptions and imagery.
    Safe and wonders-full riding!
    Mom