Day Two in Baja~ February 5, 2016
During the Winter, we don't usually rise very early due to the cold temperatures and the Sun not coming up until a little bit later but, when we parked at Sur de Volcan Prieto, I made sure not to put anything in the windows, so we were sure to be woken before or by Sunrise...and it worked!
We got out of the van to a cool breeze coming off of the water and the Sun barely peeking over the big rocks around us. I made coffee & brekkie while Jamie did a video and worked out and then just as soon as we had gotten there the night before, we were down the road again.
We were enjoying the drive on Hwy 5. It was another nice, sunny day with still a lot of wind but we were inside so it didn't bother us that much. About an hour into the drive, we hit a detour (desviacion). The detour took us off of asphalt and put us on a somewhat graded/non-graded road for about 30 miles.
At first we weren't sure if the road was ever going to go back to asphalt and some parts of it were very slow due to curves and washboarding. All along the dirt road we saw many men working on these huge bridges, they are going to make this road really nice!
All of a sudden, in the middle of this spacious windy desert, we came to a place I had heard of from our friend, Ben, called Coco's Corner. I had read a little bit about it online but didn't even know how to get there, so jotted down a few notes and forgot about it.
Now here we were!
Coco's Corner is in Acapulco, Guerrero right in the middle of nowhere! I was very excited that we had stumbled upon it so made sure to get out, take some pictures and see if Coco was around. The wind made it a very miserable adventure but we got out and started taking pictures and video and then a young girl appeared behind the wooden counter. I asked (in Spanish) if Coco was here. She shook her head, No and said, "He's in Ensenada for the day." Bummer. The little bit that I read about Coco's Corner said that he loves to sit and tell you stories about his life over a beer and has a book that you can sign as well as see others that have been here from all over the world...(he has over 8 or 9 full books). I also read that stopping here really isn't about the place at all, although "Coco's Corner is one of the most frequented roadside stops on the entire peninsula." It's truly about Coco. So you can see why I was a little sad that he wasn't there that day.
|Guess who's in the little girls room! haha|
I don't think I do it the justice it deserves so I am including a link on an article that was written by Christophe Noel that describes it perfectly...and he was able to sit down and chat with Coco! http://expeditionportal.com/destinations-cocos-corner-baja-mexico/
It's a very interesting place and you don't even have to go out of your way to get here if you are driving Hwy 5 to MX Hwy 1...so go and hopefully you will get to meet Coco!!
The landscape is one we are used to, of wide open desert, but this desert is also much different than the ones we see. The flora here is beautiful in its own way, with cute little red flowers that carpet the desert floor among huge Organ Pipe Cactus and Ocotillo mixed in with Joshua Trees, Agaves, Candelabra Cactus and Boojums (my new favorite). As you look across the land, it has a definite Dr. Suess vibe to it!
We were stopped at a Military checkpoint right before entering Guerrero Negro. The military checkpoints are pretty easy; You drive up, stop, greet the young man with Buenos Dia or Buenos Tardes (depending on the time of day), he will ask you where you are coming from, where you are going and why. We were asked a couple of times at different checkpoints if they could look inside the van...of course. They open the side door, look around (not touching anything), close it and say (using their English), "Have a nice vacation!" And you drive on down the road again. We kind of liked the checkpoints because it shows that they care who and what is coming into their towns and since we don't carry anything we aren't supposed to (guns, ammo, drugs), we never have any worries.
|Entering Guerrero Negro. Those are the bones of a Grey Whale|
When we were at the Military checkpoint just before Guerrero Negro, I asked the gentleman where the whales were. Guerrero Negro is the place where the Gray whales (Ballenas Gris) come to mate every year between December and April. We had a small but nice conversation in Spanish, with me double checking that I was understanding him right (I asked again in English) and we were on our way. We drove through the town of Guerrero Negro which is pretty spread out and we thought we would just follow the directions and boom, be right at the water...haha not so much! First of all, it was very, VERY difficult to find the water. We drove in circles for about 25 minutes, getting caught in school traffic with the Elementary school just letting out. We drove through the same neighborhood 3 times, learning from a resident there are a lot of one-way streets in that neighborhood. We were able to see how these people live and get around; a lot of walkers, bicyclers and of course parents picking up their children in their Lexus' and Cadillac's, which was quite odd compared to the housing in the neighborhood, but I guess you gotta let a playa play!
|A neighborhood woman talking to her neighbor a few doors down|
|Shrines are a huge part of the Mexican culture, they are everywhere|
|The neighborhood we got to know so well!|
|These tanks hold the water for their houses|
After many circles and too much time being "wasted" we decided to nix the whales , get fuel and get on down the road. We were trying to make it to Mulege before the end of the day but at this point it didn't look like that was going to happen. We weren't sure where we would end up sleeping for the night and still had quite a lot of driving to do.
*I was told later, by a local, that you now have to pay to get anywhere near the water to see the whales these days and/or you can go by tour boat which is much more expensive.*
|A BIG military presence in Guerrero Negro. This guy waved and gave me a peace sign but I missed that picture!|
I started driving about two and half hours later, so I didn't get any more pictures of the night. We drove to and through Santa Rosalia, an industrial town that seems to be doing very well with people everywhere and a beautiful new boardwalk that was popping! The sun was starting to set and this time we had no coordinates for a place to camp, so we did what we do best and found a place about a mile off of the highway, tucked behind some big cactus on a dirt road and went to sleep for the night. At first I was a little scared to park there, because you hear so many horror stories but everything ended up being just fine along with being nice and quiet.
Another good day of driving positive miles to our first major destination.