Hello from 100 feet below sea level. We are in the Imperial Valley of California, in the gritty farm town of Brawley. You have to ride through about 15 miles of vegetable fields to get here.
We kind of got ourselves in a spot yesterday when we rode clear to Quartzite. It seems there is this big 65 mile stretch of nothing between Palo Verde and Brawley, California. Palo Verde is only 57 miles from Quartzite. That would be a pretty short day, and there isn't much in Palo Verde in the way of amusement.
So we rode 112 miles to Brawley. We kicked butt. We made it before dark! This is totally excessive. We've ridden 394 miles in the last four days. Since we are less than 150 miles from San Diego, we can't do this anymore. There is also this huge mountain range. I feel great. This is a great way to wind up the ride.
To accomplish this great feat, we got up extra early, and ate breakfast before dawn at the restaraunt attached to the motel. We were riding at sunrise. There is an easy 10 mile climb out of Quartzite, and then a long, easy hill down to the Colorado River. You have to ride on I-10 the whole way.
Arizona is a very bicycle-friendly state. They had the right lane of the interstate blocked off with cones for us the whole way!
The Colorado river is the state line. It is also the start of the Pacific Time Zone. This is a big deal for Jim for some reason. He had to immediately reset his watch. I don't know why he can't just be obsessed with crossing state lines like normal people.
When you get to California, there are no more saguaros. There are palm trees instead. You see some palm trees in Phoenix, but they are planted as part of landscaping. Palm trees grow naturally in California. There are farms along the Colorado river, where they can irrigate. When you go away from the river, it's very dry, and the vegetation is very sparse.
That bush in the middle is some sort of cactus. It's about 10 feet tall. We rode by a huge desert tortoise preserve, which was all fenced off for about 10 miles with razor wire on top. Probably to keep the dune buggy people from running over the tortioses.
In the middle of the 65 miles of nothing, there is a tiny town called Glamis. There are sand dunes there. On one side of the road, there is a recreation area where you can ride your off-road vehicles around the dunes. The other side is a wilderness area where you can't. The damage caused by the off-road vehicles is pretty severe. This picture is the nice side of the road.
Glamis is a big hot spot for driving off road. There was a "Poker Run" this weekend and we heard there were thousands of people there. On a poker run, there are five checkpoints out in the desert. At each checkpoint, you get a playing card. Whoever has the best hand wins. When we got to Glamis, there wasn't much there, just a country store charging double normal prices for everything, and mountains of trash.
We had lunch at a bar called The Lagoon Saloon 30 miles before this in Palo Verde, which is at the border of the farming areas and the desert. They only had hamburgers, because they were on the poker run route and they sold all their food the day before.
Where ever the off roaders go, there is tons of litter and trash. This is a dirtball sport that has no reason to exist.
After you ride over the dunes by Glamis, you go down into the Imperial Valley. The valley is below sea level, completely flat, and all farms. They grow vegetables mostly. We passed a big cattle feedlot, and even a nursery for palm trees. Brawley is half farm equipment, and half welding shops devoted to repairing dune buggies.
Here is a picture of Jim rolling into the parking lot. He looks pretty good for someone who just finished a 112 mile ride.
We walked up to a Mexican place for dinner, and it sure hit the spot.
Here is the route for today.