“You talk to much,” Coco yelled to me as I dismounted my Pogo and pulled my riding gear off. It was 5pm. The sun still as hot as noon. We left Bahia Cristina neearly 8 hours ago and traveled only 80 miles.
“You stay here tonight,” Coco mumbled in English with a string of Spanish profanity. I spotted cats everywhere. Strung around the entrance of this desolte and isolated chunk of sand that Coco’s has squatted on since 1990. Sacha put it best, “it’s like some whacked scene out of a Mad Max movie,”
“It’s free, what you worried about,” Coco belted out. “You hungry. You want a sandwich.” I declined but minutes later he shows up with a glass of water. Now what do they tell you about the water in Mexico? “Drink. Drink, come on you hot.” He wandered back into his hut, a corrugated metal roof supported by an eclictic mix of wood, bamboo and other materials. Women’s panties, perhaps more than 100 of them hung from the ceiling. Coco is very proud of these. Woman come miles around the world – his favorite blue pair from a Czech girl – to give Coco panties.
Several vehicles are abandoned around the corner of his fenced in 4 or 5 acre plot of sand and safe. Mexican citizens can claim there own chunk of this desert if they stay and live there for 3 straight months – uninterrruped. And that’s what Coco did in 1990. He’s been there before in 1987 while watching the Baja 1000 from a check point just up the road that beat the crap out of Sacha and I.
Coco lost his leg while working when a large barrel of water or something fell off a truck and crushed it. His other leg isn’t looking too good either. “Doctor says bad circulation and wants to operate. I ain’t going to let him.” Every night Coco sleeps outside his motorhome shell in a bed caged in by chicken wire. He takes off his prosthetic leg which attaches just below the knee and settles in under the stars. “I have the cage because I don’t like the bats, they bother me.”
Coco knows the desert and his property like no other. I barely hear the distant hum of a jet plane, “it’s 9:00,” Coco says confidentally, “that’s the plane from La Paz.”
As the sunset and awashed the desert in a golden glow we pulled three plastic chairs and set in the middle of his encampment. Coco doesn’t drink, but he guided us to the cooler and allowed us to help ourselves to cans of Pacifico. “My refridgerator is broken.”
<– click to see a movie of coco
“You want to watch TV?” Coco asked pointing to 4 or 5 televisions resting on platforms on high posts through out his property. None of the TV’s work, of course, but they guide your eyes to the sky and we watched an amazing array of stars slowly appear. It was peaceful, silent and a serene scene you could only find in a remote desest. We watched shooting stars as Coco made us cups of soup – ramen. And it tasted so damn good.
Sacha and I debated for a half an hour on whether to make camps at Coco’s or press on to get closer to Guerro Negro where I knew I could find a phone and get working on a replacement shock and my own discovery on how to get something shipped into Mexico and where. Coco laughed as we painfully weighted the options. Sacha leaned to taking off, and it made sense. But not knowing what the road would be like for the next 20 miles to Route 1 and my bike not at all fun to ride, I leaned to staying so we could leave the next morning afresh and new.
The next morning we woke to the throaty yell of Coco echoing off the mountains adjacent to his corner. Coffee and animal crackers and a few scribbles in his travelers notebook and we were off. By the time we arrived to Route 1 Sacha and I agreed that had we left the evening before we would have painfully regretted the decision. The evening with Coco was grand.