Friday, 8 January 2016

Baja Humbug

Back in the desert
After our race out of the rapidly freezing mountains to the west coast, we found our mission to get to Baja in time for Christmas was still not quite over.  Our ferry was delayed several times due to bad weather. However, San Carlos was not a bad spot to be held up! A quiet little town that offered good food and a beautiful bay. We happily hung out there until we got word that we could board the ferry in Guaymas. It was 2 days before Christmas and we had done very little research on places to go in Baja. However, we were equipped with tent and lashings of optimism! Let the Christmas adventures begin!

Shane loves his wheelies
After a thorough dog search, 10 hours crossing and a hearty breakfast of eggs and Tortilla's, we had made it to Santa Rosalia, Baja. After another lengthy dog search (where the dog actually bit into our bags on a couple of occasions!), we headed for the nearest coffee shop to see if we couldn't work out a plan! It was here we discovered how expensive Baja can be! However, unperturbed, we picked a spot on the map and headed south, first to Mulege and then to Conception Bay and our Christmas camping spot!

Camping on the beach
Baja doesn't really feel like Mexico. It feels more like the U.S and possibly has more Americans than Mexicans. The small towns are sparsely scattered along the coast and at this time of year, some of them feel like ghost towns. The best beaches though, are lined with RVs - A winter home to the affectionately named 'Snowbirds' (retired Americans) that head south when the cold weather hits up north. I took it as an opportunity to practice my 'american' before finding our own little spot on the beach where the RVs could not reach! It meant we had to risk the tide coming right up to our tent porch but the invasion of water was far preferable to people. We were feeling unsociable and we didn't care who knew it! Baja Humbug! We didn't need comfort and full size kitchens. All we needed was a pan, a stove, a pack of cards and some tin cups for our JD and Polish Wodka! Check! Now cue the peace and quiet! 
Mexican Airforce

I spent Christmas day cooking in said pot, fighting off the seagulls and photographing the pelicans (aka Mexican Airforce). Shane went riding with our neighbour (Pete on his KTM) from a little way down the beach, before we all got together around the campfire and played Black Jack. It was a wonderful Christmas day.

Plant life in Baja
Aside from the desert riding, Baja has 4 things going for it. An inordinate amount of sea life, pretty beaches, a whole new world of plant life (cacti that looks like something out of Day Of The Triffids!) and last but by no means least....Coco's Corner.

After a wonderful whale watching experience in Guererro Negro (see us getting closer than expected in this youtube video and a very relaxed New Years Eve in the run down (but friendly) town of Bahia de L.A with fellow travellers, we headed for the place on the map that marked the home of the legendary Coco. It really is marked on the map as "Coco's Corner".

Coco pulling my hair during the group shot!
Some people are just special. They are unique and for all the right reasons. They find a place in everyone's heart.  They don't come along very often but when they do, you never forget them!  Coco is one of these people. At 78, he is a rough and ready character who has been looking after weary travellers passing through for the last 27 years. He built a small wooden shack on a long dusty desert road, put a fence around to keep out the coyotes and started selling beer! He also provides water and shelter. We were even honoured with a cooked breakfast of eggs and tortillas in the morning, but the only charge was for the beer (It is optional that you leave a piece of underwear for decoration)! Coco lost a leg many years ago following an accident with his truck. He lost the other leg some time later due to infection. He still just gets on with it! He laughed and joked with (possibly sometimes at) us all the time we were there and I got the impression that he never ever complains.

Cocos collection of underwear! 
That afternoon we were joined by another traveller from Canada on his KTM and that night we all stayed with Coco.  Snuggled up in our sleeping bags we were treated with the most spectacular display of stars - a view of the sky that I have only ever seen from the desert - and serenaded by a choir of howling coyotes. It was a truly special night with truly special people.

Now Shane and I are in San Felipe. We are just a day's ride from the U.S border but here is where we will part. After two and a half months of travelling and experiencing Mexico together, Shane will head back to Australia to work (life gets in the way and forces our adventure to end), while I continue on to what feels like phase 3 of my journey.

One Woman, One Moto once more!
I have been in Latin America for exactly one year. I am on my 6th continent and 38th border crossing, yet crossing into the U.S is a little nerve racking! Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it is the culture shock I know to expect (as with Asia to Australia). Perhaps it is the cost of living that frightens me. I am certainly going to have to be at my most resourceful to make it happen. Of course there is also sadness in saying goodbye to Shane. I have loved having the company of a very special person through Mexico. It's been a real change from riding solo but it turned out to be a refreshing one from the routine. We have had many laughs, tears and even a little blood spilt between us in this short time together! It was an adventure within an adventure, and one I will remember with great fondness. Now though,  it is back to One Woman, One Moto! 
Coco's Corner

Vultures. They are all over Mexico.

Playing Black Jack by the camp fire.

Heron on Christmas Day

Pelican catches fish. 

Whale tail 

Sea birds

Sea lions

Shane gets a cactus needle in his leg...

...and on his bike.

Miles of Cacti

Coco's fence line

One of Coco's many random 'works of art'

Shane and Coco enjoying a beer on arrival

calling cards at Coco's

more random Coco stuff!

Our rooms at Coco's

Coco on his quad.

Shane playing in the sand

The NYE posse!

More Triffids

...and some trees! 

I love desert riding


  1. wow, San Felipe looks like a little bit of Paradise:)

  2. Hey Steph! Great trip report, thanks. If you plan to go up to Seattle or Tacoma Washington, please drop me a note. You'll find a great place to stay at my friend's house.

    1. Hi John. I will be in Seattle in March and would love a place to stay ! my email is Perhaps we could stay in touch? I also have a presentation in that area so I'll be there a few days.

  3. Hi looks like a stone lizared your ridding past. just wondering, what did you leave at cocos corner ?!!!!

  4. You have a place to stay if you come through Newport Beach. Just sent you an email with my coordinates. Travel safe.

  5. Hi Steph, great way to spend Christmas! , can't believe how long ago it was I waved you off from the Ace! Ride safe and have fun Steve

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