Sunday, March 7, 2010

Alpine to Jacumba, 3/06/10 (45 mountainous miles!)

We left Alpine around 8 am, and continued uphill for miles! (check out the first entry of the blog for the altitude map.)  It was 50 degrees when we left.  After 20 miles we took a break at a local diner in Pine Valley (the dip on the map).  As we left I saw this sign:
I don't think this was meant for us, however!

Tonight we are staying in the little town of Jacumba, CA. We can literally look out the window and see the fence separating the US from Mexico--it's high, red (like the Golden Gate Bridge) and goes on for as far as the eye can see. The Border Patrol is everywhere. Even as I type, lowing flying airplanes and helicopters are sweeping the area. Wish I had some night vision goggles--


As we continued toward Jacumba, it started to sprinkle!  The last 6 miles were all downhill, and I was surprised to see that I was going 35.5 mph!  That was great because we were anxious to get in before the predicted rain began.  Our group made it in before the serious rain began, but most got drenched!
When we arrived in Jacumba, I was beginning to think we had  arrived at the Bates Hotel. We were warned that we may be staying in some "no star' hotels because that is all that was available on our route. I certainly hoped this is one of them, because if it wasn't, I am afraid to even imagine what the 'no stars' look like. It's old and not terribly well maintained, but the people were friendly, the shower was hot, and the sheets were clean.  However, this is outside the window...

Things that make you go "hmmm".... Rather made one want to sleep with one eye open.....oh, did I mention our door didn't lock....... 

The restaurant at the hotel allowed us to bring in our plates to their restaurant so we did not have to eat in the rain.  Here is the group that rode together that day:

We had some interesting experiences at this hotel.  It was raining so hard, the roof started to leak all over the hotel!  Some of our group even had water dripping onto their bed!  (They got a new room.)
Most of us were lucky that the roof leaked mostly in the common areas.  I was happy we did not have to sleep in a tent, and that we had a hot shower!

PS  (We found out later the casket was a left over Halloween decoration!)

MARCH 6, 2010  JACUMBA TO BRAWLEY, CA  (67 miles)

Today when we left Jacumba, the temp was 50 degrees, the wind was blowing hard, the road was extremely steep downhill, and the rain was pouring down!  The leaders strongly suggested that we should all be transported down to the bottom of the hill (15 miles).  There were a few who rode it, but most of us didn't.  We were glad for the lift, but we had to ride the rest of the 55 miles in pouring rain, sleet, and even some snow!  (Thank you to my daughter, Shelley's husband, Shaun.  He loaned me a great rain jacket!)

Today started with an 8 mile climb with grades ranging from  4 to 14%.  In that eight miles, we climbed 1,800 feet, and there was more climbing after that--4% grade doesn't sound so bad anymore.  A lot of the ride averaged between 5 and 8%.
It was cold, but once the heavy climbing started, we warmed up quickly. About mile 5, we had to go onto Highway 8, which was more high speed traffic than we were used to.

On the exit to Hwy 8, one of our riders' family made this sign and put it on their car.  I think it may have been Kathy Kirby's family ? ) Photo: Sue Hersman

Anyway, we had 7 miles of extremely rough looked like the road cracked and buckled every 10 feet!

We arrived tonight (3/7) at a very nice hotel in Brawley, however.  I can hardly wait for Linda's stroganaff  dinner!

Our ride from Brawley to Blythe tomorrow will be 89 miles.