Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 3 - Ocotillo, CA to Brawley, CA

Still in Brawley, ready to bring you the highlights from Day 3.

We started off fairly early, with Jay bidding Mr. Jackson farewell at about 7:40 a.m. Todd had left a little earlier so that he could talk with the firemen on duty at the Imperial County Fire Services, which maintains a 24-hour duty station in Ocotillo. They are a very bicyclist-friendly station, FYI.

As you know, we are following the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier maps. They publish addenda to the maps, and the most recent addendum stated that road conditions were bad on the main route, Evan Hewes Highway. Robert Sigal (who had just ridden that road a week earlier) warned us of the same thing, but when he saw that we are riding Long Haul Truckers with 1.5 inch tires, he advised us to just go with Evan Hewes. He said that it's really only rough from Ocotillo to Plaster City, and that our wheels and tires could handle it. John Jackson from the RV Park agreed. They saved us a 9-mile detour on a road with lots of high-speed traffic. Evan Hewes Hwy was pretty rough on and off for about 5 miles, but some patches were not so bad. Once we got to Plaster City, it improved substantially. We were passed by maybe 10 vehicles in that entire stretch. We took it easy on the rough patches, and were glad we took that route.

A few words about Plaster City: if you are wondering where drywall comes from, we found the place.

After Plaster City (which consists of just the USG plant), the terrain changed from desert to agricultural, and by the time we were in Seeley, we were in green farmland. We stopped for breakfast in Seeley and wolfed down some delicious breakfast burritos. After a few more miles, we saw the first traffic light we had seen since leaving Alpine the previous morning. Just before the light, we passed some other self-contained cyclists, but they were on a mission, and probably not as talkative as we are. (We kind of doubt that anyone is.)

We left Evan Hewes Highway and skirted outside El Centro and headed to Brawley. We spent about 14 miles parallel to a canal as we rode through more farmland. One truck that passed us was loaded with boxes labeled "Desert Vegetables." Indeed.

We got onto a busy road for a few miles that brought us into Brawley, and after double-checking our directions, were at our destination quickly. We opted for a hotel tonight (not realizing that we would not be camping either of the first two nights) and thus have yet to set up our tents - - that'll come tomorrow!

After settling in for a bit, we found lunch at a local Jack-in-the-Box restaurant. Todd was enchanted with the little Jack ornament things, and before we knew it, we had two personalized Jack mascots! Group photo posted on Facebook.

Wrapping it up for tonight - - we have a long day ahead tomorrow. Awesome conditions thus far - we are very grateful.

Click here to see the Garmin data for today, then push play:
Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Day 3 Ocotillo to Brawley


  1. You guys are doing awesome!! Thanks so much for the blog & FB postings as it's allowing me to live vicariously (which really is the only way I'm interested in crossing the US on bike!!).

    Stay strong, stay safe, and have a blast!!

  2. Jay and Todd,

    Love reading your posts and as Jim said, I feel like I am riding with you--but without the pain I'd be feeling in my legs and rear end!

    You are an inspiration. Stay safe and keep enjoying the scenery. Anyone at the places you've stopped for lunch interested in what you two are doing? Any comments from them?


  3. I spoke with Bob Pfohl today and he tells me you guys are already in Palo Verde! Your making good time. Im sure you enjoyed the spectacular scenery between Glamis and PV. I will be on the road to Alamo Lake Arizona tomorrow. Are you still planning on staying in Blythe or will you be continuing on towards Quartzsite? Ill give you guys a ring and definitly stop to chat as I pass. maybe Ill even bring you an Ice Cream, or if your lucky a cold beer! I figure ill be in Blythe by about 1600 hrs. Thats a 3.5 hour drive from Descanso if I average 70 mph. You guys are amazing! Glad im burning diesel and not my legs!