The Trip - El Rosario, El Marmol, Coco's Corner
I stayed the night at Mama Espinsosa's en El Rosario which turned out to be a great place to stay. Lots of the Baja racers go through there and they are famous for their Lobster dinner which I had.
In the morning I hit the boring Mex 1 and planned to make my first stop at El Marmol. El Marmol is the site of an old onyx mining site which has since been abandoned. I read that it was a good short ride over dirt roads leading to a building made of onyx which might have been a schoolhouse or jailhouse (is there a difference?).
Mex 1 goes straight through the desert.
It's boring, straight (in some places), filled with lots of potholes (in others), and otherwise the only game in town for long stretches - Mex 1, what more can be said for this road.
Supposedly the road to El Marmol - NOT!
This was a fun and simple side trip. I thought that I was careful to look at the maps and the GPS marking my way as I went. I asked some locals where El Marmol was and they pointed me down a dirt road behind their refreshment stand. I passed the well which was marked on my map and was feeling kind of good at this point.
Confidence was starting to build. The road got sandier and rockier eventually leading for some 18 km to a bulldozer and a half-standing building with a graveyard. Was this El Marmol? The building was made from stone but it wasn't black (as I had heard El Marmol was). I looked at the GPS and I was further north from my entry point - hmmm, El Marmol was supposed to be further south.
Should I backtrack and try to find the right turnoff. That would take a lot of time and might not be the right decision. Or, should I try to find a trail that goes south from the point that I was at. I appeared to be far enough east along the lines of El Marmol so finding a path shouldn't be a problem. I decided to push on.
About .5km from my first stopping point all signs of trails disappeared except for one which lead up some steep rises and was filled with sand. I figured, just get some speed, climb the hill, then over the top you'll see El Marmol to the South. Or, for a brief second the thought was forget about it, it's not important, turn around and go back.
Insanity prevailed over reason at this point and I proceeded to run the bike up the hill to the point where I bogged in the deep sand (still too heavy). I had quite a hard bit of work extricating myself. At about 1:30 in the afternoon with the sun at full blast, I had to unpack the top bags and get the bike turned around. I was in no mood to want to find El Marmol if it took this much work so I decided to go back to the highway.
Again, here I was a few days in and the directions from the locals combined with my "go forward" determination had thrown me for a loop. I would later learn that it would be better to wait for the right signs before turning off the road for side trips or to better ask for directions using many markers.
The bike repacked after the falling in the sand near El Marmol
After getting back on the highway from my mistake trying to find El Marmol I continued on south. With no real gas stations between my location and intended destination of Bahia de Los Angeles I filled up using one of the many "local" stations (i.e. 55 gallon drums at lunch stops, etc.).
This particular one was at the turn-off to Coco's and is the road that leads from Mex 1 across the desert to the East and Puerticitos. If you're going across and are not fully tanked up, I recommend getting gas at this turn-off as they are very friendly and don't charge exorbitant fees.
Getting gas on the way to Coco's
The road to Coco's was a loose gravel road with not any really tricky sections. They only deal here was that as the day gets longer you are more tired and are more susceptible to making mistakes. Going to Coco's I was fairly conservative, coming back to Mex 1 I was able to go much faster as I was sure that the road didn't have any really problem spots.
(warning - at about 50 mph dropping into a vado can be hazardous to your health, along the way to Coco's from Mex 1 there are several vados which have been filled in with loose stone, so be careful and keep the speed down lest you bottom out and endo out of the vado!).
Coco at Coco's Corner
Coco is a really special guy who lives in the middle of nowhere. He runs an oasis which is between Puerticitos and the crossing to Mex 1. If you are in this area stop in and see him. Having a beer is obligatory as is signing the visitors book.
Many people camp at Coco's for the night and his stories are very entertaining. He gave me great advice as to which road where passable and recommended that I definitely take the trip to Punta San Franciscquito by way of Bahia de Los Angeles.
He rates his people that come to visit him in his book and draws pictures over the ones that he doesn't like. I brought him a toy motorcycle from myself and Doc Wong who let me know that he promised to bring Coco one of these.
Stopping by Coco's was great and my visit was only too short as I needed to get on to Bahia de Los Angeles. I'm planning to return soon though as sitting around drinking beer with Coco was very fun.
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