Monday, December 5, 2011

Homestay in Brawley, CA

The concrete building did a fairly good job, last night. I could feel some warm coming off it during the night. More than enough to make up for the smell. I waited a bit too long to pack up, it turned out. After I'd already woken up half a dozen time and decided it wasn't quite warm enough yet, the wind decided to pick up. When I say 'the wind picked up', I mean sudden out-of-nowhere with no warning whatsoever 35mph sustained winds. Packing my tent up required some creativity. I did have to chase my tarp barefoot across the sand, but nothing fragile blew away at least.

Ocotillo Wells, flat and sandy.

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but apparently I missed 'town'. There really isn't a town, I guess, but there is a ranger station and some facilities, including water. My supply is a bit low right now, and I could use some juice for my phone. Trying to look ahead on google maps ate up most of my Kindle's battery, but revealed that there might be one more RV park east of Ocotillo Wells. I say maybe, because the official California highway map is pretty useless and I rarely know exactly where I am. This time, I lucked out. A few miles east I found the Blu-in RV Park and Cafe. The Store/Cafe was closed, but there where some power outlets outside. No water, but I had enough to last if I avoid using it to cook or wash. As I went to plug in, though, the door opened and the owner came out to greet a man who arrived right behind me. She invited me in to fill up on filtered water, and offered me a breakfast on the house! Bacon and french toast, nice and thick and sweet. Thanks so much, Marylene :)

Yesterday's damage

When I left the Cafe, the wind had alligned itself with my back and I glided along effortlessly for the next 10 miles or so. I came across a border checkpoint stopping traffic in the opposite direction. They seemed pretty serious - dogs where paces along the line of cars, looking more like highly focused machines than animals. Wonder if there is anything in my gear I need to discard before I run across another one of these... Soon after the checkpoint, I pulled off the road to call the warmshowers host in Brawley and ask if I could show up a day early. He called me a few hours later with an affirmative, but by then I'd slowed down and was expecting to camp in the BLM land before Westmoorland. Jim, the warmshowers host, offered to pick me up in Westmoorland, and I was spared the long expanse of big-agriculture land. Thanks, man :)

It turned out that there was a Walmart in Brawley that carried some cheapo brake cables, so I was spared the trip into El Centro. I picked up some food for the next leg, Jim and I shared a meal of stir fry veggies and rice, and talked about all the crazy touring cyclists that funnel through Brawley.

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