Epic Adventure Starts Here

Coco: RIP amigo

  • Coco: RIP amigo

    Posted by CRF450R on August 31, 2022 at 8:07 am

    Anyone who ever rode along the hot and dusty Mx5 before it was paved will tell you how much we all came to appreciate the opportunity to stop and see Coco, share a cold beer, some laughs and genuine Mexican hospitality. He was always a sight for sore eyes and always knew how to make you laugh. Stopping at Coco’s Corner became a tradition and Coco became a legend.

    Ron wrote a great farewell to this Baja icon over on Talk Baja. Everyone should read it.

    https://web.facebook.com/groups/606976129316997/posts/6178910485456839

    brad21 replied 1 month, 1 week ago 14 Members · 26 Replies
  • 26 Replies
  • amandae

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 8:15 am

    I am so sorry, sounds like Coco was an amazing guy.

  • blitzer

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 8:18 am

    Oh man, we were just there with Coco a few weeks ago. Really sad news. QEPD Coco, we’ll see you on the other side.

  • JuanSoler

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 9:10 am

    For those of you who don’t do Facebook, here is the bio/obituary that Ron wrote yesterday:

    Coco has left us…

    I just now learned that earlier today a friend and Baja icon – Jorge Enrique Corral Sandez, better known as simply “Coco” from Coco’s Corner – was found dead at his home where he lived at his camp just off of Mex5, south of Gonzaga Bay.

    Coco was a figure larger than life, known to tens if not hundreds of thousands of Baja travelers who welcomed weary travelers from his wheelchair with a warm smile, a cold beer and friendly conversation at his desert haven along Highway 5 south of Gonzaga Bay.

    He was born in Ensenada, La Paz or Guerrero Negro, sometime around 8 decades back and based on who was asking and which day it was, he was either born in 1935, 1938 or 1940. Or maybe it was 1942?

    I’m not 100% sure either.

    Coco told me he came from humble beginnings while some people swear to me that Coco came from a wealthy, prominent family but decided to make his own life and left at a young age. I have wondered if maybe both versions aren’t true, with Coco perhaps feeling like his life began when he struck out on his own?

    Who really knows for sure but he definitely had a very rich personality.

    But that’s just a reflection of who Coco really was; a man who learned to reinvent himself with every single new day, leading a colorful life where he performed many different jobs over the years including supposedly flying a crop duster at one time or another.

    And for the last 4 decades plus, manning the helm at Coco’s Corner.

    Keeping true to his lifelong philosophy, you could never really pin him down on what happened to his legs either. He told some people it was from diabetes. Others insist that he told them it was from an accident involving a water tank that fell on him while he supposedly also claimed it happened while offloading pipe from a truck in Ensenada.

    He told me it was from poor blood circulation.

    But none of that really matters now; his upbringing, what really happened to his legs, or where/when he was born doesn’t seem all that important right now in retrospect.

    He was a strong spirited and independent soul, choosing to live life on his own terms aboard his wheelchair in the middle of Baja’s harsh desert landscape, a formidable challenge for even the best among us with two good, working legs.

    Coco made every single visitor feel special, whether they were a humble, local family passing through or a winner of the Baja 1000. Everyone was received warmly and asked to sign his guest book before getting back on the road.

    Sometimes he’d pen a caricature of a guest or their vehicle and probably what he is most famous for (if your group included an attractive female) was how he somehow could always obtain a signed, lacy undergarment as a souvenir and would convince the donor to staple the prize up to the rafters above.

    I always got the sense that each new visitor brought a surge of new life into Coco’s aging body in that wheelchair and that’s what kept him alive for so many years; much longer than doctors in Ensenada and Tijuana had predicted decades ago.

    But like all things in life, nothing lasts forever. Not even you Coco.

    Godspeed Coco, you will live on for many more years to come in the hearts and souls of so many people you touched along the road of your long lifetime.

    You’re back on your feet and running again amigo, save a place for me.

    QEPD

    • BajaGringo

      Organizer
      August 31, 2022 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Juan…

    • mx-rider

      Member
      August 31, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      That’s an awesome tribute, thank you.

    • mikel

      Member
      August 31, 2022 at 7:56 pm

      That sounds about right.

  • JuanSoler

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 9:13 am

    I am sorry I hadn’t stopped by to see him lately, last time I think was in 2017 or 2018. I will miss your bigger than life smile, warm handshake and fun conversations Coco.
    QEPD

  • CRF450R

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for sharing that @JuanSoler

  • CRF450R

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 9:20 am

    I really hope they create some kind of shrine/monument/museum to Coco there at that spot, I know it would really mean a lot to countless people he connected with over the years.

    • CRF450R

      Member
      September 1, 2022 at 9:07 am

      That would be amazing, I will start sharing the idea around different forums

  • CRF450R

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 9:22 am

    And that gets me wondering? I really hope somebody had the foresight to grab and protect all those guest books he collected over the years. The history recorded in those books is a small treasure worth keeping and remembering Coco by.

    • BajaGringo

      Organizer
      August 31, 2022 at 10:26 am

      That would be wonderful.

    • mikel

      Member
      August 31, 2022 at 7:57 pm

      Very good question. Maybe SCORE or some other off-road racing group would step up?

  • mx-rider

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    I only met Coco once back in 2017. When we retuned one day in late 2019 he wasn’t there but had plans on seeing him this coming October. Looks like that’s not going to happen, what sad news indeed. RIP Coco.

  • bajajeepers

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    Damn, what sad and terrible news. We had plans to stop by and see Coco a few years when the big storms blew in that flooded and washed out bridges / overpasses and we hightailed it home. Then COVID hit and we kept having to put off our plans until now. We were finally planning a big end of summer trip down week after next with a stop at Coco’s atop our list.

    So sorry Coco, I was so looking forward to finally meeting you and getting a chance to add my name to your guest log. Reminds me of other things in life that we put off too long, ending up finally losing the opportunity for having waited too long.

    RIP Coco, you can leave that damn wheelchair behind now.

  • mikel

    Member
    August 31, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    I met Coco a few times over the years and he was always a very friendly and welcoming host to anyone who stopped there. I remember one time we were there and a local stopped by who was obviously down on his luck. He was driving an old car that would die if left idling with tires that looked like they could blowout at the next turn. I don’t think he even owned a change of clothes, with his pants and shirt worn so thin it was a miracle they didn’t just fall apart at the seams. He stopped at Coco’s looking to buy a gallon of gas to make it home.

    Coco not only gave him the 3 gallon container full of gas, he then went out to a trailer where he pulled out a couple of big bags of clothes and gave the poor guy a couple pairs of newer looking pants, shirts, underwear and socks as well as a pair of boots that looked brand new.

    The guy broke down and cried, hugging Coco before driving off.

    My wife wasn’t crazy about his panty collection he was so proud of but we have seen lots of places with similar displays over the years with most of them up here on the north side of the border.

    Like most of us, Coco probably had his flaws but I had the opportunity to see his generous, good side as well, something to be admired considering he faced so many physical challenges and had so relatively little himself. There’s probably a lesson there for all of us.

    RIP Coco.

    • CRF450R

      Member
      September 1, 2022 at 9:10 am

      Yeah, Coco rubbed some people the wrong way, no doubt. I suppose living alone in the middle of the desert and stuck in a wheelchair will leave a guy with some rough edges but deep down he was a very good guy. Thanks for sharing that story, I have heard several others like that.

      • DB-Baja

        Member
        September 2, 2022 at 4:44 pm

        One rider in our group that he was a bit gross but the rest of us reminded him to think what he would be like living alone in a wheelchair in that desert area for 40 years. And he shut up.

  • guacamole

    Member
    September 1, 2022 at 6:22 am

    Never met him but heard stories. RIP Coco.

  • screeski

    Member
    September 1, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Did he die from natural causes?

    • boe4fun

      Member
      September 2, 2022 at 6:58 am

      Most likely it was due to his atherosclerosis condition. That is was caused his bilateral below knee amputations. Several years ago we tried to make him new prostheses -after his second amputation (then revision), but the last surgery left him with an adherent scar on his distal tibia, making it extremely difficult to wear an artificial leg.

      • mikel

        Member
        September 2, 2022 at 10:44 am

        So it wasn’t diabetes? That’s what he told me but reading through all the comments it looks like he said something different to anybody who asked.

        • boe4fun

          Member
          September 2, 2022 at 5:41 pm

          On one of our trips down to our La Paz clinic we stopped at his (old) Corner, one of our volunteers, Dr. Bob Haining (a PM&R Doc – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital In Oakland, CA) talked at length with Coco (Bob went to Medical school in Tasco and speaks Spanish like a local). He did an “off the cuff diagnosis” which, from his training and decades of experience, I believe is correct.

          • JuanSoler

            Member
            September 2, 2022 at 6:03 pm

            Diabetes is so common down here, many assume that they must have it too if it runs in the family.

  • bajatraveler

    Member
    September 4, 2022 at 7:45 am

    We drove through there in 2019 and stopped but Coco wasn’t there. Had plans to drive through there again in December but sadly I will never have the opportunity to meet him. Rest in peace Coco.

  • brad21

    Member
    October 21, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    We stopped and visited Coco this past spring, he gave me a hat, said he doesn’t wear them, we’re heading down again and will drop by his place to see what’s up and leave a token of our appreciation for his hospitality over the years. Please let us know if there is any kind of organized memorial for him around the beginning of November!

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