Jacumba Hot Sprints to Brawley California
The day started with a nice climb out of Jacumba Hot Springs, it will be the only climb of my 70 mile day. At the top, the route merges with I-8 for 14 miles, all down hill! Sounds like fun, and it was, with just a touch of cautious terror. The side-winds were very strong in places. To tell where you needed to slowdown you had to keep a close eye on canyon openings and the movement of surrounding bushes. I reached 50 mph, but most of the distance covered was at a speed around 35 mph. Good heavens this Davidson rolls like a dream.
It’s hot, about 90 plus degrees. I’m now officially in the South West California desert. The first thing I noticed is that the water in the water bottles heats up. Warm (almost hot) water is certainly better than no water, but not very satisfying in the heat. The border wall is just to the South of me and I see Border Patrol vehicles every few miles. The 19 mile stretch between Ocotillo and Seeley is horrid. The road is in such bad shape you can’t go faster than about 8 mph. Even that is pushing it. Shortly after turning onto this stretch I came up to a sign that said “Road Closed Bridge Out Ahead.” I didn’t feel like adding miles by detouring around, so I simply went around the sign. Three miles later, sure enough, the bridge was closed and barricaded. The only natural thing to do was to go around the bridge, which was easy to do, it seems that’s what all the locals do also. Bridges in the desert are conveniences to get you over a dry wash. Usually, as was the case here, there is an easy detour around the bridge, into the wash and back out again. In Seeley I got some chocolate milk. I do love that stuff when I am cycling. I don’t drink it normally, but on the road it is like Mana from Nestle.
The route doesn’t go through El Centro, but I wanted to see what the town was like so I peddled in. A homeless guy on a bike crossed in front of me at an intersection and he said “nice ride man” to me. I went into a bike shop to look for a Pletscher Double kickstand and the guy noticed my S & S couplers. It was the first time he had seen them. Small town bike shop for sure (they didn’t have the kickstand either).
I rolled down to a Starbucks to grab an iced Americano (it’s my nap time) and post to the blog. Shortly after arriving I got a call from our tour boss (Sarah) the route we were supposed to take from El Centro to Brawley was bad, no shoulder. I went back to the bike shop to warn the two riders I left there but one had already struck out, not much I can do to help her, she doesn’t own a cell phone (that’s just a little hard to believe, but true) a cell phone could easily be considered an essential tool on a cross country tour. To each her own I guess. I gave the other fellow Sarah’s warning, then decided to hang around with him. His bike gave up the ghost and he was buying a new one. It will take the shop 2 hours to get him ready to roll. I could bail-out but I decided to wait for him and ride the last 15 miles to Brawley with him. Safety in numbers and all that.
The last 15 miles to Brawley was hot, windy, and basically brutal.
Tomorrow I get into the Arizona desert.