Sunday, December 6, 2009

Algodones Dunes to Blythe, CA

A cotton picking tractor in a cotton field. Below those mountains in the distance is the Colorado River.

Once the hopper on the tractor is filled with cotton it empties it into the machine in the background. That machine is like a huge trash compactor. It smashes the cotton into huge rectangle shaped bales.

Real sand dunes

Dani is following the first rule of sand dune safety, always stay hydrated.

You can see that we trudged deep into the wilderness for our campsite.

This is looking the opposite direction from the wilderness sign. That is a irrigation canal.

A good view of the dunes

This is part of the off road area, those lines in the back are vehicle tracks in the dunes

Checking out the dunes

Wilderness campsite with unruly hair do: free, Cup of coffee: some work to boil water, but pretty cheap, Mexican pastry: too expensive for the quality, The combined experience: priceless

Algodones Dunes to Blythe, CA
Day 51 75 miles

We woke up in our wilderness area in the dunes and enjoyed a nice sunrise. We were up and active before most of our motorized vehicle riding compadres, so we were able to enjoy some silence with our breakfast. Once the sun got a bit higher, the RV doors started opening, and the sound of motors starting surrounded us. We were ready to get on our way and leave this very strange, but oddly beautiful place. We ate some jelly rolled Mexican pastry for breakfast that we bought from the market yesterday. It wasn't particularly good but we had to eat it all. The name was so long that we just started referring to the slices as "Mexicans" It sounded pretty hilarious to a couple of road weary bicyclists when Dani said, "Greggy finish eating your Mexicans."

We loaded up the bikes and headed out. Yesterday we were below sea level, so from here it was a steady but gentle climb to about 1,000 feet through sand dunes and the Chocolate mountains (named for their dark brown color). About 15 miles into the day we reached the top of the divide and took a short break. The wind was picking up, but it was from our back. When we took off again, we realized that with a very slight down hill matched with a tail wind we could easily ride at 20 miles per hour. The riding here was super fun! Not only were we riding at 20-25 miles per hour with normal effort, but there were nice rolling hills that we would power up, and then coast at even higher speeds, up to 30 mph, down the other side. The hills also broke up the long straight-aways into more interesting terrain. We were planning on stopping for the day at Palo Verde, about 50 miles from our starting point, but we reached that town at a little after 1:00 pm. Not only was it early, but this town was not much to look at and we couldn't even find any food.

We decided to ride on without having much of a plan. We figured we would figure it out as we rode. After Palo Verde, the riding was no longer down hill, just flat. The tail wind was still a bit help, but instead of coming from directly behind us, it was just quartering at our backs. Still, much more preferable than a head wind. We quickly realized that we could keep riding for a good while. Blythe, the next town, was twenty miles away. We rode some nice low traffic roads through agricultural fields. Oddly, many of the fields in this area were being harvested, and the crop was cotton. We rode into Blythe on nice deserted agricultural roads. We reached the middle of town by not much after 3:00pm. We stopped for groceries, but realized there were no campgrounds in Blythe, only hotels. We really didn't want to stay at another hotel, so we found a KOA on the California/Arizona border, right on the Colorado river, only 5 miles away. We decided after such a long day in the saddle we would find a good place to eat a late lunch. We stopped at a decent looking Chinese place and found that the meals were less than $7. We ordered up and got big sized portions. Almost as soon as we finished eating my stomach started to hurt. I asked Dani if she noticed anything on the menu about MSG, and she said that they disclosed that they did use it. I wish I would have known. By the time we reached the campground, I had bad stomach cramps. They dissipated and we went to get in the campground's Jacuzzi and relax. My stomach cramps went away, but I still did not feel right for the rest of the night. Despite the MSG, we both thoroughly enjoyed the Jacuzzi and nice warm showers at the campground, if you can really call that camping. It is supposed to rain tomorrow (for the first time in six months) so we will see what happens.


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