Johnny Dakar and The Tamale Kid Head South: The Trip to The Tip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Johnny Dakar, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Salida, coloRADo
    :ddog
  2. Johnny Dakar

    Johnny Dakar Fuckin' Smartass

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,636
    Location:
    Just 3 Short Miles North of Baja
    MAGICAL SEA CREATURES​

    Just off the Guerrero Negro Exit on Hwy1, you'll find this place:

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    Looks family run...thought we'd just stop for a coke and to get out of the wind for a bit.

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    Sort of happens right before you enter town.

    Good-sized place. Looks like you could have a pretty good sized fiesta in here. Coke Light and chips & salsa.

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    Then a guy walks up, think it's the owner, asks us if we want to try his scallops. No charge.

    "Well sure, man. Gracias."

    He comes back five minutes later with two plates of scallops, kind of butterflied - if you can butterfly a scallop.

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    Well I'll be goddamned if they weren't the best fucking scallops I ever had...and I'm a scallop maniac. Fresh, garlicy, limey, perfect. Just amazing.

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    Fate smiles upon us yet again.

    Next stop, a regresso to L.A. Bay, via el dirto.
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    Still not a big fan of the loose stuff...I struggled...but I made it.

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    Back to Costa del Sol. They had only one room available: El Cuarto Grande.
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    I think it was like, $30. Shared the hotel with a few other bikers that night.

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    That night we wandered the main drag of L.A. Bay, looking for something to eat. The only thing we found was a General Store with a diner-style lunch counter out front. No one was eating, and the only person behind the counter was a girl, maybe nineteen, breastfeeding a baby and watching TV.

    I gently approached, got her attention, and quietly asked, "Hay comidas?" She looked mildly annoyed and shouted, "RAUL!!!" A ten year old kid came running out of the back room. She handed off the baby and opened a cooler under the counter as he ran off, pulling out a pair of whitefish. She slapped them onto a cutting board, and within five minutes, both Clay and I had brimming plates of the best fish tacos we'd ever had.

    Surprised by amazing seafood, twice in one day.

    Baja, man.

    We had no idea what to expect the following day...when we went to visit Coco.
  3. noshoes

    noshoes soñando con México

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    On the road in USA.
    It's occured to me that I may never read the end of this RR.
    Don't know if I'll live that long....





    :lurk
    Nixels likes this.
  4. yaw

    yaw lost

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
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    Location:
    Republic of PDX Oregon
    Johnny Dakar writes one great report. Soaking it up since I'm headed down in less than two weeks for my first virgin Baja trip. Really looking forward to some sun and drying out. Well, not actually drying out- cerveza will be drunk in quantity.
  5. Johnny Dakar

    Johnny Dakar Fuckin' Smartass

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,636
    Location:
    Just 3 Short Miles North of Baja
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    Day 10 - Bahía de Los Ángeles to Bahía San Luis Gonzaga via Coco's Corner - 95 Miles - Tuesday, March 27th

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    EMBRACE THE ASPHALT
    There is nothing quite like waking up to the silence of L.A. Bay, getting a cup of coffee, wandering around the parking lot in the chilly dawn air looking at bikes, greeting the few people you meet with a sincere smile and a "Buenos
    días."

    Breakfast at Costa del Sol. Chilaquiles, eggs and beans. Chatted with a couple of paddleboarders who said they'd paddled up to Mulegé from Santa Rosalía. That's forty three miles! Jesus.

    Leisurely breakfast, last to leave, picked up some water, and Clay tells me he wants to check out some ruins he was reading about, up the road, at a little turnoff at Punta Prieta. We'd done Misíon San Borja, much deeper into the desert already, and despite my discomfort on the dirt, I thought sure, why not? It's mostly in my head anyway.

    Except it wasn't dirt. It was sand. And fuck sand.

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    I realized that the only way to ride sand effectively was to ride it fast...but I was just as uncomfortable riding it fast. Especially on a six foot wide trail lined with cacti.

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    Yeah, I didn't really care that much about the ruins. I told Clay I was heading back, and I'd intercept him at the other end of the trail. I'd just go around on the tarmac. A small part of me thought I might have been wussing out.

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    I told that small part of me to shut the hell up after I dropped my bike on the way back to the asphalt.

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    Ah yes, asphalt. Sweet, sweet asphalt. For better and for worse, this was the last we'd see for a while.

    Turns out, I'd made the right decision.

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    The extent of Clay's "Ruins."

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    Pretty fucking ruined, alright.

    Back on Mexico 1, we flew north towards the turnoff for Coco's.
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  6. borscht zanetti

    borscht zanetti Pura Vida ! ... eh?

    Joined:
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    :jkam

    :*sip*

    I first read this 8 years ago. Been at least Four since I read it last. Especially, since it has taken me 8 years to plan my first trip.
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  7. Johnny Dakar

    Johnny Dakar Fuckin' Smartass

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,636
    Location:
    Just 3 Short Miles North of Baja
    THE ROAD TO COCO'S
    About thirty miles north of the ruins on the 1, we turned right on Mex 5--don't let the name fool you...it was just a slightly better maintained gravel road than the stuff we'd been on. And it had been freshly graveled. Deep, large, loose gravel was the only surface available as we climbed over the mountains just northeast of Laguna Chapala. Clay yelled for me to keep my speed up to stay on top of it, but given the twisty, ascending roads--and my inexperience--fast was not too much of an option. And going slow was next to impossible. My front wheel kept digging in, and when I'd put my foot down as the bike went over, nothing was under it. It just slowed the inevitable ascent down.

    I was struggling today. It was hot, I felt weak, and I caught myself more than once wondering if there was a better route. There wasn't. So, hot and weak or not, we weren't stopping, and we weren't going back.

    Fortunately, it was only for a few miles, and once I started getting the hang of it, it--of course--was over, and more conventional Baja road stretched out before us.

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    Somewhere at the end of that straight was a left turn immortalized in Dana Brown's 2005 documentary, Dust to Glory.


    A ONE-LEGGED MAN WINNING AN ASS-KICKING CONTEST
    Rolling up at Coco's Corner was like stepping through the screen and into the movie.

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    Before we even got off our bikes, we saw a pair of legs (one prosthetic, one attached) appear below the barrier above...the next thing I saw was Coco's forehead, peaking around it. We laughed, and he stepped out, beckoning us in and immediately offering us something cold. Of course, pictures with the owner were the next order of business.
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    Thanks for mentioning my Helmet Head, Clay. Thanks so much.

    Then it was time to soak up some shade, re-hydrate, and simply absorb everything in this unique man's gallery/museum/monument to overland travel and the travelers who passed through. It's a shrine to visitors. So we visited.

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    Steekers.

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    Quite an honor, being the newest addition to Señor Coco's ever-expanding new wing.

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    In the company of legends.

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  8. Johnny Dakar

    Johnny Dakar Fuckin' Smartass

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,636
    Location:
    Just 3 Short Miles North of Baja

    PINCHE GRINGOS

    After a few minutes of perusing and lounging in the shade, consumed by the sheer volume of swag stapled to the walls and ceiling, Coco and his friend Rick started muttering to each other in Spanish, while Coco occasionally glanced our way and muttered, "Pinche gringos" faux disdain. After a minute or two of this, Coco looked at me and said, "Hey meester, I think maybe we need your help. You move some trucks for us." He wasn't asking.

    Clay and I looked at each other, and we looked at the two ramshackle tractor-trailer rigs sitting on the property, and we looked back at Coco.

    "Uh, I don't have any idea how to drive a truck."

    "Eet's ok. Eet's easy. C'mon."

    "Ok," Clay said, and got up. I followed everyone out to the Corner, coming up with excuse after excuse as to why we couldn't do it. I'm fairly certain he didn't hear a word I said.

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    They were going to haul the rigs around with Rick's diesel Ram 250...while we steered.

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    What the fuck were we doing out here?

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    Great success! Then it was my turn.

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    Only I was going to go backwards...

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    Rick told me plenty of Mexican truckers drove rigs that were in a lot worse shape than this one.

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    I'd keep that in mind the next time I saw a Mexican truck in my rearview mirror.

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    Señor Coco told me what to do. It was his place, so I did it.

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    Once we got it backed out and clear of the camper shell, we could move forward to the other side of the yard.

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    Result.

    The sun was sinking, and we still needed to get to Alfonsina's. 25 miles away. In the dirt.
    Clay was excited.
    I was apprehensive.
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