Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I started out in Brawley this morning. I thought I was in for a fairly easy day's ride but I was caught off guard with a strong headwind that made the entire ride seem like I was going up a mountain. I went over one hill expecting to coast down the other side and I had to peddle to keep going down the hill because the wind was so strong in my face. When semitrailers went by I had to hold on tight, especially when the real tall ones carrying hay went by. The effort required to push pst the headwind really beat me up. I got totally exhausted riding. I drank six bottles of water and power drinks.
I went through such a range of scenery though. I started out in the Imperial Valley with rich farmand and flat roads. I went past a feedlot where they had big screen TV's for the cows to keep them happy! No it was really a combination feedlot and solar farm. I have never seen anything like that in the past.
Then I started to climb up out of the valley. It was an 1100 foot pass to go over but it seemed like 10,000' due to the wind. The farms disappeared and high desert plants appeared. Then I went through the Algodones Sand Dunes area. Awesome huge dunes of sand. I continued to climb up and the terrain was totally arrid with rocks and cacti but not much else. After I crested there were 25 miles of "dips" as the signs called them where the road went up and down continuously. The wind stayed in my face and made for a brutal day. The Border Patrol gave me some water at their checkpoint or I would have run out. Between working so hard in the 90 degree heat and the wind blowing on me I was going through a lot of water.
I finally made it to Palo Verde and put up my tent at the trailer park in the center of town right by the river. There was another rider there and we talked a bit about all kinds of stuff. He was like a younger version of me. We really had a lot in common. I enjoyed his company.
One thing I thought about a lot today while riding was the early pioneers coming across this same terrain with no maps, no roads, no stores, no food, and water hard to find. They had to pull their wagons through the soft sandy soil and over the rocky mountains with no idea what was on the other side. I don't know how they did it. It makes my complaining about my tough rides pretty petty by comparison. I have it easy compared to those hardy souls. I still wonder how they did it. If I was around in those days is that what I would have been doing? I wonder....