Day 4: Brawley, CA to Blythe, CA

We left Brawley this morning at 7:30 a.m. to get a good head start on a long day — we planned 87 miles. It didn’t look too bad on the map; just one big 1300-foot climb in the middle. It’s a good thing we got an early start. I started feeling a little fatigued way, way too early — achy, hips hurt, feet hurt. I thought I was just out of shape and my body wasn’t adjusting to riding every day and not resting. Later I figured out that I had some sort of virus or something (unless you can work yourself physically hard enough to get a fever). But at the time, I just thought, hey, suck it up, buddy.

At the top of our big climb, at which time I was already wasted and ready to quit, we realized there was no going down — it was rolling hills for miles, to a border patrol station in the middle of nowhere (where the Border Patrol guys chatted with us and voted on my choice of baggy shorts: 1 for, 1 against). We were on top of a ridge in the Chocolate Mountains, a high desert in between two fertile farming valleys. I told Tony at one time I almost puked because I was in so much pain. At mile 65, we stopped in an all-but-deserted bar in Palo Verde to eat some fried food and watch car chases on the TV. I improved a little bit on the last 20 miles, which took us in between farm fields growing spinach, broccoli, and a bunch of other green vegetables. At this point, the Colorado River, which carved the Grand Canyon, is nothing but a collection of irrigation canals — which Chris McCandless found out when he tried to kayak down the Colorado to the Pacific Ocean in Into The Wild.

When we got to Blythe, we checked into the Hampton Inn, where Shaunte gave us a discount because of our mission (inner-city kids!), and I collapsed into a down comforter for 11.5 hours, shivering, then sweating. Tomorrow, Arizona!

While some of us vacation on bicycles, these guys are working in the fields. I think that's spinach?

Tony's panoramic shot of me cruising by a cattle farm yelling, "It's okay, I'm a vegetarian!"

And as the fields gave way to desert, we started to see signs like this. If you're interested in what it's like to step off the pavement, but don't want to actually do it, here's a documentary about some guys who do:

And then these signs, near the Imperial Sand Dunes. I think the guys in ATVs and dune buggies were looking at us wondering why we were going so slow, and we were looking at them, wondering the same thing.

"Sand Toy Capitol of the World."

I am a dot on the road near the horizon.

When you are ready to puke and you can't believe you have to pedal up yet another hill,

it helps that your buddy is standing there taking photos,

capturing all your pain,

for the enjoyment of dozens.

Hours later, here's Tony, south of Ripley, CA, almost home for the night.


3 responses to “Day 4: Brawley, CA to Blythe, CA

  1. awesome pics! keep it rolling east!

  2. I once went to a rock show in Blythe… the kind with geodes and crystals. A strange place.

  3. I just watched the link you posted to the video of the guys who pick up the military scraps for cash……crazy shit!

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