Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IT'S A LONG WAY TO..............................BRAWLEY

Does this look like a big goldmine to you? Us either!

Monday 11/22/10 A full white moon was disolving in the sky as we walked to the motel lobby in Blythe for a continental breakfast. Today we opted for biscuits & gravy rather than Raisin Bran. We had a long ride ahead of us to Brawley, Ca, with only 2 watering holes on our route, that is Hwy 78. We cycled past fields of cotton and alfalfa that received water provided by irrigation canals fed from the Colorado River. The brown Palo Verde Mountains to the west were an artistic accent to the white cotton and green alfalfa. At several canals we saw snowy egrets which we took as a good sign that we were closing in on the Pacific Ocean. After 25 miles, we stopped briefly in Palo Verde (pop 236) to top off our water bottles. We then encountered a series of climbsw for the next 20 miles. Although the climbs were short, a number of them were steep enough to conceal oncoming traffic until a vehicle suddenly popped over a hill surprising us like a Jack-in-the-box. The traffic tended to come in waves of 6-8 vehicles, mostly big trucks and RV's. Ann questioned if anyone was even making regular size vehicles anymore. We rode past the Chocolate Mountains near the Naval Reservation Aerial Gunnery Range before descending to the small settlement of Glamis: home of a very large gold mine and the North Algodones Dunes wilderness area. After a quick roadside snack, we had a long gradual climb out of Glamis. We rode near tall and wind sculpted sand dunes that stretched for 7 miles on our route. Although the map identifies the dunes as a "wilderness area", it obviously is not. Dune buggies, ATV's, and dirt bikes, that looked like toy cars next to the giant dunes, were
everywhere. We were told that over the coming weekend over 100,000 people would be here to recreate. A few miles east of Brawley, we began cycling through the Imperial Valley, an area famous for its agricultural bounty. We arrived at our motel with some daylight left, and our camelbacks and water bottles drained. It was a good day and our longest ride on the trip-87 miles.

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