Brawley to Blythe
*note: I have pics to upload, but they are getting hung up on the wifi – will add in when I can! I miss my high speed internet!!
This morning we were up and out early. Breakfast at six with the desire to start out at 630 to beat the heat. But due to the time change it was a bit darker than we hoped for so we hung around before we got the all clear to roll out. The parking lot was littered with the group waiting impatiently for the sun to rise just that little bit. And when it did, it was right in our eyes, as we are heading due east. It was a beautiful sunrise over the agricultural area as we rode out of Brawley. I am not very good at my agricultural identification skills, but I will go with Alfalfa. Could be a total lie. If someone wants to google it let me know what you find.
The sun rose and the temp started to tick up rising quickly from 52 to mid 70’s and then on up to 88 at the high point. The winds which had battered us the first few days subsided greatly and we were treated to light winds which were perfect for keeping the heat manageable and to offer up a cooling breeze, and did not gunk up our bikes and gears too much with sand. We rode beyond Brawley and onto the desert, which offered a beautiful view of mountains in the distance and the desert landscape went for miles, and miles and miles.
Today the ride was long, but offered up a wide variety of terrain changes and views. We rode through the Imperial Sand Dunes. Which answered the question what do people do out here? They ride 4 x4’s and dune buggies though the rolling sand dunes. It was quite impressive. Not too much activity as it was Monday, and early, but you can imagine how this place must be hopping on a weekend. Looked like it would be a blast- right out of the Dunes scene for one of the Star Wars movies.
In this place I had my first, “this is frigging awesome!” moment. It was so beautiful, and so stark that you just had to stop and look around at it all. And just soak it all up. I had a big smile on my face as I stopped to look at the dunes/desert. I was glad it was not windy so that I did not have too much sand in my teeth when I smiled! So different from home. Pretty cool. The pictures will likely not do it justice, but it was great.
We rolled past Brawley and onto the desert. Which offered beautiful view of hills in the back and tons of low bushes and scrub. Population wise the entire ride was very low. At some points only the occasional car passing by was the only sign of inhabitance. Limited resources required that we have a lunch stop about 35 miles out. A great lunch on the side of the road was just what I needed to refuel and refresh. The SAG drivers, chef and guide have been great, personable, professional and so helpful. Great job.
Next up for terrain were a series of rolling hills that are aptly named “rollers” for about 12 miles. I LOVE THESE! Once you figure out your gearing, and your ability to determine how steep they are on the uphill, you can plummet yourself down pedaling as hard as you possible can (up 30 mph) and you propel yourself up the other side. Mostly this works, sometimes your swift second calculations don’t work and you have to pedal a bit to get to the other side. Pedaling hard down is always something I prefer over pedaling hard going up! The only downside, or caution was that there was little or no shoulder so you were out in the lane with the cars and trucks as they whizzed by and enjoying the rollers as well. This caused a moment or two where you wished you could use the same magic that Harry Potter did in one of the movies, where he was able to “shrink” himself to get in between traffic. Only once, when a large tanker truck blew by that I could feel myself pull in my shoulders to try and make myself small. It was great.
The final 20 miles into Brawley were on smooth pavement (finally and thankfully) and were were back to agricultural land with fields of crops, hay balers, and large tractors going about their business. I could identify a field of lettuce – that one I could figure out.
Long day in the saddle, but a very enjoyable one. I felt free of the anxiety of the first few days, and it was great.
As our chef prepared lunch for us, we went out on the town at the Sizzler to whoop it up! After a day of riding, every meal is a good one.
Rest day tomorrow! Will work on getting pictures up – but it takes forever!
I can hear and feel the excitement, relief and satisfaction through your words Karen. SO glad it was a great day for you and the team…you’ve definitely earned it! Enjoy the rest and congratulations on your progress so far!
One more note…last night Riley and I read your Day 3 blog together, with her reading it aloud to me. She was captivated and relieved by your decision to take the bump and be safe. She also honed right in on Canaan’s picture and was really interested to understand his experience with Make-A-Wish and how you’re supporting the organization in Canaan’s memory. It was a wonderful teaching/connecting moment with her – thank you for inspiring it!! She asked me to please send you a note from her, so here it is…”Yo-yo-yo Coffey… Miss you – you’re awesome – GREAT JOB! xoxo love, Riley”
It is no surprise to me that your children would be kind, compassionate and loving. There is a post card on the way for the girls! Thx for your love, support and cheerleading. You Rock!
Hi Karen– I decided to follow your blog because I could relate to your nerves on days 1-3., having done the ride last year. Today I actually scrolled down to the bottom of your blog and discovered we must be “neighbors.” I live in York, ME and got my bike from the lovely folks at Pappas also. I wonder if I wander in will they know there is another crazy local woman doing the ride this year. Have fun in Blythe.
Glad to hear you had a good day in the desert. I was not a big fan of the desert when I was at 29 Palms for almost a year. It does offer some beautiful scenery though. Enjoy your day off! It is well deserved.
Oh the good old Dunes…yes a great place for the desert dwellers as I liked calling us when we lived out in Nevada 🙂 It is a really fun place to go if you own a razor, Rhino or four wheeler. People go there for days on end…
Back to you though, you are sounding like it was a great ride day 4 except for the lack of extra pavement. Hope Day 5 is safe and on the cool side for you. Pedal on Karen…
Just loving your blog, Karen! So glad to hear the anxiety has disappeared! Enjoy!
I am enjoying following all of the blogs. I hope to do the Southern Tier soon. I hope you have tailwinds!
Your photo of the awesome place is awesome! Your writer is coming out – adrenalin and endorphins! Keep it up ❤