A sunrise out of the sea is hard to come by in California. Camping on the Sea of Cortez, although mainland Mexico lies beyond, you get to see the warm sun rise straight out of the water. The salty sea clashes smoothly with the sprawling desert that surrounds, and in the early morning, with not a soul in sight, it seems like another planet.
On a rough dirt road somewhere between San Felipe and the intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. 12 lies Coco’s Corner, a legendary Baja pit stop teeming with character in the middle of nowhere. Upon approach the place looks somewhat derelict, a ramshackle shelter decorated with empty cans in the middle of the desert and few, if anyone, around. Pulling in, you hear the sounds of the welcoming, thousands of empty cans singing in the warm Baja wind.
A boat, a hanging dirt bike, two out-houses, a circle of abandoned toilets focused on prime time broken television, hundreds of photos of off-roaders and dirt bikers, panties upon panties dangling from the rafters, and finally, a call from your host, Coco, an older fellow with good cheer and humor that warrants at the very least a beer worth of visiting. Coco is missing the bottoms of both legs but is quite spry none the less; he loves visitors and talking about the area he lives in, as well as a shooter or two from his plastic jug of brandy from behind the counter. In the end, Coco’s Corner is a place that holds magic and the true essence of the lesser traveled desert Baja.
Last Christmas we spent five days exploring the roads of Northern Baja California, Mexico. Sometimes a place isn’t what you expect it’s going to be, and you keep driving until you find at least a hint of what it was you thought you were looking for. It’s at that point that your vacation becomes a true adventure and a rigorous journey, and you run with what you’re given.