Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blythe - a rest day 3/9/10

The Capital Suites Hotel is really nice.  Last night after a hot shower, a dinner at the Sizzler down the street, and an hour in a wonderful hot tub, we all slept like rocks!  I slept in (well, 6:30 am) and joined the yoga group in the conference room.  One of our riders, Lynn Kalifelz from Marathon, Florida, held a yoga session to get us stretched out.  At this point in the ride, we really needed it!

Then came our bicycle cleaning class in the parking lot.  Carol used my bike as an example, so I got off easy.  My gears and chain were just filthy after our rainy day and the next with dust, so it really needed to get it done.  There was red clay/dirt on everything!  Like Carol says, riding in the rain is not so bad, but it makes a mess of the chain, gears and cogs!

We are going into the next town of Salome, AZ tomorrow.  There will be no internet there, so it will be two days before I can make any entries.

Brawley to Blythe 3/8/10 - 91 miles

Today was our longest day so far.  We traveled across the Imperial Valley for 91 miles. 

Because we were in the middle of nowhere, and no place to stop for lunch, our chef, Linda, set up a wonderful buffet lunch.

When they said there were no services, the only rest facility was squatting down behind a scrub brush! We all learn to adapt!

After lunch, there were some rolling hills for 13 miles, which was great for riding!  The only problem was when we were on the down side, the many 18-wheelers could not see us when they came over the hill, the shoulder was non-existent!  We all wore our brightest jerseys.  (Our group leader, Carol, asked us, "If an 18-wheeler leaves from San Diego at 8 am, and another leaves from Phoenix at 10 pm, where will they meet??  Right where YOU are on your bike!)  I can't tell you how many times that happened!!  When I could see that was going to happen, I quickly stopped and walked off into the dirt with my bike.  Better safe than sorry!

In the afternoon, the road became less hilly and more agricultural...lots of green fields, watered by irrigation canals diverting Colorado River water.  It was amazingly clear water!
We saw acre after acre of hay being grown, and down the road we could see why!  There must have been tens of thousands of cattle being fed and readied for transport.  I have never seen that many before, even in Colorado!

The Imperial Sand Dunes were amazing.  Fortunately, all the week- end warriors were restricted to one side of the road, leaving the north side in a natural state. The people that come here are usually from San Diego or LA area, those than can afford the toys and the RV's.  Today the bicycling conditions were ideal, which after the day of cold and rain yesterday, was really nice.

There were miles of the Imperial Valley San Dunes,and I can see why they used this setting to film the original Star Wars movie.  In the picture above, I could just see R2-D2 and 3-CPO walking over the sand!

About 20 miles from our destination for the day, Sue Hersman and I stopped at a small convenience store.  We saw this sign and had to show you!  It was so perfect in that Red Neck part of the country, no doubt directed at the "boys" on the San Dunes!
On those last 20 miles, as we came into Blythe, the wind was mostly at our backs, so Sue and I flew in at 18-20 mph...a far cry from my 5 mph on the hills!  It was good to see the Capital Suites Hotel after 91 miles!