Day 4: Brawley to Blythe

Started: Sep 21, 2010 7:11:49
Ride Time: 7:15:59
Stopped Time: 1:25:10
Distance: 99.91 miles
Average: 13.75 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 0.00 miles/h
Climb: 15399 feet
Calories: 5828

This was a really hard day. My GPS definitely had a prolonged freakout—there’s no way I climbed 15000’—and I suspect the distance is overstated by about 10 miles. But I’m also convinced the official signage showing the distance between Brawley and Palo Verde is low: I think it’s 70 miles, not the putative 63.

The weather today was hot. Really freaking hot. Hot hot hot. I also learned it was 80% humidity.

I stayed yesterday at the home of my first Warm Showers host, Jim, whose hospitality is much appreciated. Got rolling around 7. Should have tried to start a little earlier to avoid as much of the day’s heat as possible.

The road out of Brawley was rough for the first 10 or so miles, but there was an ample shoulder. After that, the pavement became quite good, and stayed that way until mile 36. For the rest of the way into Palo Verde, the shoulder was negligible and occasionally washed out entirely. The lack of shoulder, coupled with short steep rollers that limit sightlines and a lot of big trucks creates a potentially dangerous situation. I didn’t see any close calls though.

Around mile 40, the wind and grade both changed in my favor. I dropped into a big gear and cranked into Palo Verde. On the edge of town, I saw a guy riding a Vespa the other way. Judging from all the crap he had lashed to it, it was immediately obvious he was riding the transam the other way.

At about 1:15, in town, I happened to meet up with the same group of riders I had met in Seeley. The had set out from Brawley at 3:00 am. I couldn’t imagine riding in the dark, especially on those roads. They were done for the day. I forged ahead.

The road to Blythe is easy riding, and zigzagged between tailwinds and crosswinds, so I made good time on the last leg.

I’m currently at another Warm Showers host, a combination bait shop/mobile-home park/social club. I am totally beat, and there’s no way I could make up for all the calories I burned today. Tomorrow I’m going to cross into Arizona and probably spend the night in Salome

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