Wednesday, November 24, 2010
ROUGH ROADS & TACOS
Norb cleans mud off his shoes after sacrficing himself for a cabbage picture
Ocotillo RV Park
Tuesday 11/23/10 We had a late start out of Brawley after a short shopping trip to WalMart. Ann researched the temps in some of the mountain towns and daytime highs were predicted at 49 degrees. The nights would be in the 20's and we each needed a warmer top under our jackets. Hwy 78 connected us to Hwy 86 until El Centro where we took S80 to Ocotillo. Brawley, Imperial, and El Centro all sort of run together connected by shopping centers. Behind these commercial webs are miles of fields that grow an assortment of crops that we tend to take for granted whenever we enter a grocery store. Most of the fields were plowed under but we did see green alfalfa and a cabbage patch that seemed to grow clear to the horizon. At Seely we stopped at La Pasadita, a small restaurant with beautiful bougainvillea growing outside. We ate the best fish and chicken tacos ever. The owner, Nellie, was a lot of fun but would not share her recipe, that she said was often requested. We thought about filling our bike bags with enough of Nellie's tacos to last for the rest of the trip. The pavement of S80 was rocky and riddled with large bumps and cracks. Just east of Plaster City, we had a short smooth section that ran to a turnoff for a state prison. The town is little more than a few old mobile homes and some makeshift shacks. We thought that if anyone paroled from the prison and walked through Plaster, they might turn around and beg the warden to take them back. A few miles beyond, a huge plant aroused our curiosity because it was just out there in the middle of nowhere. We walked to the surrounding fence and spoke with a plant worker who said they manufactured sheetrock from gypsum mined 25 miles away in the desert. Until the investment bankers crippled the housing market with their mortgage schemes, the plant employed 400. Today only 200 work here. We had 8 miles remaining to Ocotillo when the Wicked Witch of the West flipped a switch and surprised us with a powerful headwind. Ann used the wind app on her iphone that recorded the force as a steady 27mph with gusts up to 42mph. It took us one hour and forty minutes to bike those remaining 8 miles. We arrived at the Ocotillo RV/Mobile Home Park at 3:30 and were happy to be off the road. Our motel room was somewhat below humble but it was warm and sheltered us from the howling wind.