San Francisco to Indio – 2015

Pine Valley to Ocotillo

Thunderstorms woke me a few times during the night but all was clear when I finally got up. No sign of rain on the ground, but the temperature was nice and cool to begin the day for a change. I had a good breakfast at the diner just down the street from my motel and headed off as quick as I could to try and beat the impending heat.
The first hill was straight out of the village; relatively short though up to about 4070 ft.

First Climb out of Pine Valley

First Climb out of Pine Valley

Where I crossed the I8 to get onto Old Highway 80 again. Then down for a few miles, back up to about 3600 ft. where the road undulated for a good distance. This was in the area of the Cleveland National Forest
The temperature and hills were being kinder to me today – lower grades and cooler temps sure help!
The next blip on map was Live Oak Springs, which required riding up to over 4100 ft. before I could cruise down to the village. Nothing much there other than a small market and restaurant.

Highest Yet

Highest Yet

Further down the hill in a few kms. was the next blip of Boulevard – not much there either, just a small market and guy across the road selling VHS videotapes out of his, very, old motorhome – even at five for a buck I didn’t see anyone rushing to buy!
Out of Boulevard is another short climb, then a fairly long downhill to Jacumba Hot Springs. A bit more there with two restaurants and a market. One restaurant was “Southern Soul Food” and staffed appropriately so. Great place, but seemed out of character with a small desert town where one usually sees mostly Mexican food joints. Before reaching Jacumba I was riding very close to the Mexican border and the ominous border fence that stretches for miles. Border patrols were everywhere today and even had a road block complete with spike belt on my route.

Border Fence - Mexico

Border Fence – Mexico

So last climb was out of Jacumba and I was glad that it was the last one as the thermometer had been rising steadily and it was decidedly hot again.

Repaved Section of 80 out of Jacumba

Repaved Section of 80 out of Jacumba

About 10 kms out of Jacumba I was allowed to join the freeway as there is no other choice, this was at about 3000 ft. from which I had about 20 kms downhill on the freeway shoulder to Ocotillo at about 400 ft.

Start of the Long Downhill

Start of the Long Downhill

For most of the ride down I had mountain formations that seemed to be all loose rock, amazing to see this for miles and miles. Check out the extra photos at the link below.
Ocotillo – another one horse town, nowhere near as nice as Pine Valley. My motel is well-worn and I won’t say much more than that! Definitely back in the desert now and I doubt that I’ll have a cool morning tomorrow.
I was lucky though, as a thunderstorm just passed through here about an hour after I arrived…

Stormy Weather in Ocotillo

Stormy Weather in Ocotillo

Hope that it finishes rumbling around before morning?

More photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (Finally I can stop this pushing nonsense!) Basil.

Ocotillo to Brawley

An uncomfortable room, thunderstorms and noisy air conditioner all accounted for a restless night without some good quality sleep. There were still some remnants of storm clouds when I looked out at first light and that inspired my dash to Seeley this morning, not wanting to stay another minute in Ocotillo.

Storm Clouds this Morning

Storm Clouds this Morning

To try to beat some of the heat, I had a light breakfast out of my supplies figuring that, according to my bike map, there was a restaurant in Seeley for a full breakfast. Seeley was only 30 kms east on a flat road, so an easy ride. Unable to cycle on I8 again, my road was the Evan Hewes Hwy. part of 80 again.
For the first 10 kms this road was so badly broken by large cracks and potholes that it was like riding a paved single-track;I had to zigzag like crazy to keep something like level. Then for the next 5 kms, fresh pavement, but that ended and back to the rough road. I rode through Plaster City, nothing there other than a huge plasterboard/drywall manufacturing plant.
Luckily, there was virtually no traffic early in the day, so I could wander between smoother portions all the way to Seeley. Another one-horse blip on the map – a small market/gas station and the restaurant that I hoped for was just a taco stand! Another 10 kms to El Centro then for me to get my elusive breakfast. At least the road and shoulder were good from Seeley to El Centro.

One of the Better Sections of Road

One of the Better Sections of Road

El Centro, 40 ft. below sea level, is a fairly large city with lots of choices for my long-awaited breakfast. I dawdled a bit there enjoying the air conditioning and free WiFi to catch up on my emails etc. and to have a bit of a rest. When I got outside again, the heat had ramped up considerably so I picked up some more drinks and scurried off north on Highway 86,which had a decent shoulder for most of the way to my destination of Brawley. On the way I rode through the city of Imperial which really just seemed like an extension of El Centro!

Sugar Plant - Notice Sea Level Mark on the Silo

Sugar Plant – Notice Sea Level Mark on the Silo

I arrived in Brawley bloody hot and quite early so I found another air-conditioned place and had an early lunch while I waited for my motel check in time to arrive.
This motel, although budget, is like the Hilton compared to last night’s excuse!

Not much for scenery today, but that’s desert riding for you. I did pass miles and miles of haystacks from Seeley to El Centro, which makes me think that area supplies much of the hay for a very large region.

Miles of Hayfields & Haystacks

Miles of Hayfields & Haystacks

A few more photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (Shave my fur off, please!) Basil.

Continued on Page 7…

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