Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 4 of the ride across America

Today we got up at 5:30AM to get ready for our longest day thus far. We all wanted to be on the road as soon as the sun was up. We headed out at 7 AM after a hotel breakfast,quick bike check and loading our luggage in the trailer. The ride out of Brawley was great. The sun was rising and we were quickly out of the city, riding along farmland.

We made our first turn for a 22 mile distance on one road. There were sheep on one side of the road and cattle on the other. The road continued until we got to dunes. Huge, huge dunes (now these are not so unfamiliar, with the Indiana Dunes a favorite day destination for my family). At Glamis there is a park for ATV's.being a Monday, we didn't see any, but the tracks from the weekend had not yet been covered with blowing sands. One the other side of the road there was a protected area. It was amazing and behind were the Chocolate mountains. That view was very unfamiliar. Along this way we saw more and more blossoms in the dessert. The prickly pear was the most vibrant. A small purple flower gave color to the desert floor. Most of the colors are subtle variations, with light making sand shimmer like gold and the shade giving a soft khaki color. The flora adds to this with either subtle color or a bright burst, like the prickly pear.

Shortly after Glamis our Chef had stopped by a monument. Now I am on who has lived in Richmond VA and to me a monument is what you see on Monument Ave...large statues of bygone heroes from wars. This was a simple small stack of brick, or was it some type of stone, that had been cemented together...more like what I would imagine like the monuments erected by the Israelites as they had crossed the Jordan and entered into Israel. At any rate all that surrounded us was the beauty of the desert, soft colors and undulations of the sand, and the surrounding majesty of the mountains formed so long ago by volcanoes.

Our lunch was sandwiches and Five bean salad (the best I have ever had) and then after we had eaten Linda broughht out Tilapia curry salad, which was incredibly good. It was one our chef just made up to finish up the leftover fish from the first day.

After lunch I learned about rollers, swells in the land. The signs called them dips for the vehicular traffic, but in cycling lingo, they are rollers. Cycling friends had spoken about rollers, and this was the first time I had experienced them....What a blast! I was zipping down gaining as much speed as I could to get as far up the next rise (some with steep grades 10-11 percent) as far as I could, then up out of the saddle to get to the top and down again. This went on for a full 13 miles and at the end it flattened out. We had a TAILWIND through out all of great was that!!! and at points we were holding 25+ miles per hour through the rollers and then 20-22 mph on the flat . There was another SAG stop with water...thankfully, because it is so dry we were just sucking it down.

After many, many miles, we got to Palo Verde, a town with a few buildings and a little tiny a mini seven eleven. We got some pictures and talked with a few folks. My Cat in the Hat jersey was met with approval by all, and we got some water, ice cream and had a real toilet. From there it was twenty miles to the hotel, with wind at our back, we just flew. The roads were good, the traffic was minimal. We got close made a couple of turns and got into Blythe, CA. This is a larger town a few miles from the border with Arizona. Wow we had cycled 91 miles!!!! by my odometer (still need to double check that with someone who has a GPS) and the ride was fun all the way!

Dinner was in a was OK, but I am being spoiled by Linda's cooking...Tues is a day off. At first I thought this would be too soon, but in getting used to riding on sequential days I think it is well timed.

Stats:91 miles, left 7 AM arrived 2 PM with a stop for lunch, the various SAGS, and pictures. Max speed 37mph...must have been the rollers!

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