Motorcycling Mainland Mexico and Baja Peninsula

Motorcling Trip #4

10 days, 1,800 miles, Feb 2012

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Day 9 2012-02-14Day 9 page 9 of 10

Guerrero Negro to camp north of Alfonsinas

We got going just after first light. The sky was cloudy and the wind had died somewhat. We headed north on Mexico 1 and shortly passed through a rain cloud where we got some rain. We stopped for gas at a Pemex station at Villa Jesus Maria.

The following photos were taken during road stops.

Elephant Tree and fish-hook barrel.

Boojum Tree

Agave (shawii)

Baby Elephant Tree

At the junction where Mexico 12 heads east to Bahia de los Angeles, we stopped at a small tienda for snacks. We talked to the 3 or 4 locals inside, bought some empenadas and a gallon of water. Their was a pickup truck parked across the street selling gasolina, but we didn't need any so we continued on to Chapala. There we stopped in a small Mexican restaurant and had a really good Mexican breakfast of Huevos Rancheros, with coffee, chips and salsa, and soup. The soup was delicious: rice, zucchini squash, onions and fresh clams.

A small wayside restaurant in the three-house town of Chapala.

A better plate of huevos rancheros I've never tasted.

The start of the 50 mile dirt road to Alfonsinas.

From here, we turned east onto the dirt road heading northeast. We had about 50 miles of dirt road leading back to the Sea of Cortez side of Baja norte. It was slow going because the road was severely washboarded and sometimes rocky, but fortunately there was very little deep sand. We had researched this road and found that someone had called it 50 miles of "pure hell" but for us going slowly on the motorcycles, we were in heaven. Sometimes it is not about speed, it is about riding enjoyment, wide open spaces, good Baja weather, and interesting terrain and vegetation. We made many stops to take photos and enjoy the scenery. The government is gradually paving this road, so eventually it will completely change the experience of being here. The only people we met were fellow motorcyclists. And of course, Coco.

A motorcyclists from Colorado stopped to chat. He had been down here all winter and was carrying his kitesufing gear on the back of the bike.

Waving to motorcyclists. We saw many on this road today.

We came to Coco's Corner and he greeted us and invited us into his property. We all sat down with sodas in his portico, and enjoyed our time with this interesting and very famous person. Coco's picture is on every ride report of those who pass this way. He lost both of his legs below the knees to diabetes years ago, but remarkably it didn't slow him down all that much. He gets around just fine. When we first pulled up he was riding his small quad pulling a trailer. As we drove along the dirt road we had seen piles of tires marking dangerous holes in the road, and I had learned from reading various ride reports, that Coco was the person who put the tires there, to help safeguard travelers.

It is often said that "You're not a motorcyclist until you've been to Coco's Corner." This place is very famous among the off-road travelers.

Decoration under the portico.


Coco logs everyone who comes through, and remembers their names and their bikes.

Coco has a great sense of humor, and so does nearly everyone who comes to this place, including Jenny. On the other hand, I take everything seriously and am offended by nearly everything. I'm just joking but I have met people who seem to be like that.

Coco's motels. These are no joke; they have saved many travelers from spending unpleasant nights out in the open. The nights in Baja are not aways warm and still, and many people don't realize that they can be extremely cold and windy, so often don't come prepared.

I asked Coco about rattlesnakes. He said there were many, mostly sidewinders, but they haven't come out of the dens yet, but should become active at the end of February. Another vehicle pulled up and we met and sat around talking with Coco with 3 Canadians, husband, wife, and son. The Canadian fellow said he has been wanting to drive this road for years (so had I) and was looking forward to meeting this famous person (me too).

Coco has a fine sense of humor. Somehow he gets ladies to donate a pair of underwear, and I can't imagine Coco pinning them to the rafters, so I imagine the ladies must do it. Out back is a circle of defunct commodes facing a defunct tv. Over on the west side of the property are accommodations in the form of camper shells sitting on the ground. They looked pretty cozy, actually. We imagined they must be very clean, because his whole ranch is spotless. Jenny asked where his dogs were, and Coco replied that he doesn't like dogs because they poop all over the place and he doesn't like that.

Coco knows the land around here so well, and was able to tell us exactly how far to a dangerous sandy area on the road, or where the steep vados (dips in the road) north of Puertecitos. We paid him for the sodas and left him an extra large tip. (We recommend everyone who visits this region do the same, because visitor donations are the only source of income for Coco, and he provides a pleasant respite and help for travelers out here in the middle of nowhere.)

Back on the road again, we stop to look at some cactus. This one is senita, the old-man cactus (Lophocereus schottii)

Jenny reported that the spines felt somewhat furry if you don't rub them the wrong way. I declined to make such a test.

We have ocotillo where we live, but we have never seen one nearly this tall.

This was a great day for taking photos, and a fun day of riding.

A fuel stop at Alfonsinas.

We carried on, riding along the bumpy dirt road, then arrived at Alfonsinas in the late afternoon. We pulled into the small Pemex station there, but had to wait about 10 minutes for the attendant to return. Meanwhile we bought more water and juice and snacks which would become the evening's dinner, as were were planning to camp out somewhere north of here.

I have paddled through here many times, and it's great to see it from a different perspective.

Continuing to head north along the coast, in 15 more miles we reached pavement.

In the last fifteen miles we had been looking for a good place to camp, but the terrain here, close to the beach was sandy, and we dared not venture off the road and risk getting stuck. Driving along the pavement, we finally found a place to pull off on a good dirt construction road leading down to the beach. We couldn't camp just anywhere because it was very windy, and we had no tent or tarp, so we had to find a protected place out of the wind. With that done, we took off our panniers from the bikes and set them on the ground to give us a little more wind block. Then we spread our ground sheet down on the sand and set small rocks all the way around the perimeter so no wind could get underneath it. Then under our quilt we had a very pleasant night. The sky was clear and the stars were so bright and so numerous that it was hard to pick out our favorite ones.

Canping under the stars with luggage boxes lined up to help block the wind, and rocks placed around the ground sheet to keep the wind out from under it.

About 2 am I got up and went on a little moonlight hike to enjoy the ambiance. The night air was fragrant, the sea was fairly quiet, and I hiked along the coast for about a mile. I couldn't find firewood to build a fire, but eventually I found some so I built a little campfire on the beach. The people have burned up all the firewood, so that might be a problem for the coastal kayaker; better have a camping stove and fuel. At the break of day I retuned to Jenny and the motos.

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