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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 44 (39 riding): Total overall distance: 2915.64mi Total distance today: 57.02mi Total time: 5.09.19 Avg speed: 11.0mph Top speed: 24.5mph

Random thoughts of the day:
-Oh great, I love waking up to a flat tire...especially on the rear wheel...especially after I already loaded up the bike
-At what point do phrases switch from yesterday to last? Example: yesterday afternoon but not yesterday evening, last evening and last night but not last afternoon
-My thoughts are complicated today
-Best shirt ever: "When I die, bury me at WalMart so my wife will visit me everyday
-Exploding tubes are fun
-This road might as well be made of nails
-I can officially say I've been called a drug baby...the guy's reasoning was that only drug babies would ride bicycles through the desert today
-I wish I had Sonic the Hedgehog with me so he could make a tunnel through the mountain by rolling
-It feels like I'm riding through an oven
-I sweated off at least 5 pounds today
-This has been the hardest/worst day of the whole trip
-Abandoned buildings are creepy to sleep in
-Thank goodness for the shade!

Today started off bad and just got worse as the riding went on. I loaded up my bike before doing the morning ritual of checking the tire pressure. Then I checked it and realized my back tire was flat. I had a pin-head sized hole in the tube from a tiny piece of wire that took 10 minutes to find and remove from the tire. The whole process took about 30 minutes. Then we set off on a path through the Yuha desert that consisted only of sand, small prickly shrubs, and 20 miles of the worst road in the country. It was literally like riding over railroad tracks the cracks in the pavement were so high. It was so frustrating! To top that off, about 5 miles before Plaster City, which was just a large factory of some sort in the middle of the desert, Ricky got a flat tire. As he was fixing his flat, I laid my bike on its side about 20 fet away and was talking to Paul right near it. Then all of a sudden we all hear a loud and sudden burst of a hiss come from my front tire. My tube literally exploded in the tire. The bad news was that the tube obviously isn't salvageable and I had to fix the flat. The good news is that I wasn't riding it when it happened and we were already stopped to fix a flat. I actually fixed mine just before Ricky was done with his since he had to patch his tube and I had a newly patched one ready to go. But boy was it hot while we did this. It was 86 degrees and in the desert on a black felt like 110. Anyway we finally made it the 40 miles from our hotel to the city of Octillo at the base of the mountain we had to climb and stopped for lunch. After a decent lunch, both in terms of food and time, we set off onto Interstate 8 to climb yet another mountain. Then the day got worse...but this time for Paul. After only a couple miles, he realized his gears weren't working properly and Ricky noticed that his frame was 2 places. No more riding on that thing. So Paul and Ricky turned around and coasted back down to the city in search of some welding tools so Ricky could try to fix the frame. Nadine and I continued up the mountain to go to the town of Jacumba Springs, CA hoping we wouldn't need to find help there but ready to ask around if needed. Paul and Ricky ended up finding a nice group of people that fed them burgers and Ricky was able to fix the frame! Good thing he caught up to us!

Nadine and I proceeded to climb 3200 feet in 13 miles at a constant grade of 6%. For those of you not familiar with grades of roads...that is steep. Climbing a mountain like that is hard but in the desert with the sun beating down on brutal! Luckily after the first 1200 feet, the sun dipped below the mountain and we climbed in the shade...otherwise we may have melted! I drank more water today than ever before and probably sweated it all out. Finally we reached the top of today's climb at 3200 feet and then coasted down about 300 feet to the town of Jacumba where there was supposed to be a nice hot springs resort and spa that allowed tent camping...key words: supposed to be. It turns out that that building went into foreclosure and was abandoned about 6 months ago...but after talking to the sheriff, we decided to camp there anyway. He said the owners were in Chicago and as long as we didn't cause a ruckus, we'd be fine. So after some searching and door pulling...we went from putting up our tents in the sleeping on the carpeted floor of room 103. It clearly has no electricity or water...but it's inside with a lock on the door. Perfect. After shopping for dinner and talking with a border patrol agent (the fence is 40 yards away from us), we found out that the locals here drilled a pipeline into the hot springs underground and have a constant flow running into a hot tub down a dirt path just off the side of the road. Sounded creepy but after our day, we decided to go for it. It was the perfect way to end a day like today. The water flowed into a legitimate hot tub in one corner and the tub was angled so it flowed out the other corner and is just always running since it's essentially coming from a stream, just a very hot one. So we spent about an hour sitting in the hot tub under the stars...fantastic.


  1. What's with the stick people down in the ravine? Looks like there's a story there somewhere

  2. There probably is, but I don't know it