Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bike to Brawley

I think we were all happy to leave the hotel at Jacumba this morning. We awoke to ice on the insides of the windows, and most of our rooms had no heat overnight. Even I was cold most of the night! So, I wolfed down a bowl of eggs and potatoes and oatmeal mixed together and bundled up in my fleece, rainjacket, bicycling pants, and mittens and took off for warmer weather.

We had a 5.5 mile gradual uphill, then a fantastic 10 mile downhill on the shoulder of Interstate 8, from 3000 ft. above sea level to sea level. Along the way we were passed by 3 pickup trucks, which drove out onto the high desert, and a guy jumped out, pointed a handgun down into a gully, and yelled that he saw whoever was there and for the person to come out. These did not appear to be Border Patrol officials! Some riders ahead of me flagged down Border Patrol (they're everywhere out here along the border), and they came flying by to check out what was happening. On the downhill I took some great pictures of the mountains and the desert. Unfortunately I messed up downloading them from the camera. Drat!!
Our sag wagon was waiting for us at the bottom of the downhill, and off came the fleece, rain jacket, bicycling pants, and mittens! The sag wagon rapidly filled with clothing! Slathered on sunscreen, and headed out into the desert.

We had beautifully flat riding, and no wind after the downhill. Kept seeing these exit signs off the two-lane state road we were traveling. These exits appear to go nowhere!!
At about 38 miles we turned off our nicely paved state road onto the road from hell. Repaving it should be high on the stimulus public works list! We had 7.5 miles of badly broken pavement until we got to Seeley. From Seeley we traveled on a better road to El Centro. Had lots of traffic in El Centro, and stopped at Wendy's for a chicken sandwich.

The scenery from El Centro to Brawley wasn't that interesting. The highlight was this plant. The mark about halfway up the front tower is a "sea level" mark.
The Seeley/El Centro/Brawley area is in the Imperial Valley. For my Serial Set friends, this area was one of the multitudinous water districts created to turn the Western desert into the fertile Midwest. For miles we passed acres and acres of land planted in what appears to be grass (my guess given the phenomenal stores of straw or hay bales stacked all over creation).
Got to the Brawley Inn, and spent half an hour in the pool cooling off and stretching out. Felt good to just get off the bike and relax, and I can't remember the last time I was in an outdoor pool! Bike stats: 68.16 miles, 5 hours and 9 minutes riding time. Tomorrow is an 89-mile ride to Blythe. I'm not sure I'm ready for 89 miles - will see how the weather is in the morning and decide then whether to split sag duties with Janet (tomorrow's sag driver).

2 comments:

Horseshoe#1 said...

"...Even I was cold most of the night! So, I wolfed down a bowel of eggs and potatoes and oatmeal mixed together and bundled up in my fleece,..."

I pray you misspelled "bowl," Nancy. If not, see a physician ASAP.

Thom Kelley said...

Funny, that scenery looks a lot like what you'll see in West Texas!
You can do ANYTHING Nancy Marie Kelley! 89 miles is nothing - but remember that means Kak has to ride 8.9 miles on her bike! Just imagine the gorgeous scenery you'll encounter!
Lots of love!!!!!