Sep 03, 2014
It usually takes me a few minutes to load up my gear. Pannier 1 = Electronics, Pannier 2 = camping hardware, Kriega pack 30 = clothes, socks, underwear, Kriega pack 20 = large sleeping bag, travel pillow, inflatable mattress, Kriega pack 10 left = bike hardware, Kriega pack 10 right = small sleeping bag, bike cover, Small duffel = tuna, beef jerky, trail mix bars, wristbands, plus bag with tent, tarp, telescopic fishing pole, plus two Rotopax' on each pannier and a tank bank. Every time I stay overnight, most of the stuff has to come off. Chain and disc lock go on, cellphone, Delorme Inreach and GoPro/remote come off, bike cover goes over, and I go down. In the morning, it goes in reverse....anyways, no big deal. I think, I am slowly getting the hang of it :-)
Today's ride took us through some nice scenery with interesting cactus and rock formations but also straightaways. Hwy 1 is a basic 2-lane highway, paved and relatively well maintained, except a pothole here and there. Usually, when you enter a town, you encounter some nasty speed bumps (the locals call them "Tope") They could, if not taken slowly, rip the undercarriage off from underneath your seat. They are very hard to see, especially, when the sun shines right in to your eyes. In the curves, you have to be careful, just like in the States. Rocks, spilled diesel fuel or a burrow or cow could make your day miserable.
We stopped for a late lunch, but couldn't hang out for too long. We should reach Coco's Corner before sunset, we were told. Coco's Corner can be reached by leaving Hwy 1 and traveling down a 13 mile gravel road with ups and downs and sharp turns. "Traveling" is probably not the word, it's better described as "bumping and grinding". It's like riding a mechanical bull on an oversized washboard with sharp rocks thrown on top. You basically have to ride a zick-zack course in order to maintain control of the bike and not to hit one of the rocks, risking a fall of the side of the road. I used the "ride standing" method.
The place, btw, is in the middle of the desert. It's hot, it's lonely, but it's very, very quiet. And you can see the stars and the moon, like you rarely have seen before. Nice.
After about what seemed, an hour-long ride, Coco welcomed us with 3 beers. Yes, 3! Hell, I don't know how he knew the 3 of us where coming, but he had a beer for each of us. Oh, and one for himself, of course. Maybe he heard the echoes of 2 bikes carrying three bodies, like an old Indian. Who knows...who cares.
Now, I have to tell you a bit about Coco, or at least, what I gathered from his conversation with Felipe and Silvana in Spanish.
First thing you notice, he has white hair and a white goathee. His face and upper body are dark tanned from being in the hot desert sun all day. He looks younger than 76. Hmmm.
Next thing, both of his legs are amputated. He moves around on his quad or on his covered knees just fine. He told us that a water barrel fell on his left leg. So he asked the doctor to amputate it, because he didn't want to drive from Ensenada to Tijuana all the time and endure the pain. Amputation cost him US$3000 at the time. The other leg got infected, and didn't heal, because he is diabetic. So it had to be amputated as well. Doesn't seem to bother him at all.
Felipe and Silvana slept on the bed of flatbed truck, gazing at moon and stars, listing to the light desert breeze, which turned in to a midsize hurricane after midnight.
I slept in campershell that was sitting on the ground. Romantic, to say the least. Different, definitely different. Rough
Toilets yes, showers kind of, solar panels yes, ice cold beer YES. What more do you want?
156 Miles/260 KM in 3 hrs