Ocotillo, CA

wet ground
The fog from last night turned into a drizzle that wet everything. It was still drizzling when I went out to breakfast at the diner next door. The locals as well as myself agreed that overcast weather is a blessing for cyclists in the desert.  I left Pine Valley at 8:37
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The first two climbs were in drizzle and fog. I had turned on my rear flasher light just in case. But soon, the road dried out. It was still cold. I kept my jacket on all day, even in the desert.
PCT hiker Soren
At Boulder Oaks Campground, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Southern Tier Route. I was taking a picture of the landmark location when Soren walked by. He started his hike 2 days ago, and has gone 26 miles. Our encounter was brief, because we both had to make miles.
puddle
At one of the early summits, there was this puddle. At the diner, they told me that it was raining in Ocotillo, my destination for the day. Apparently, I was chasing the storm. I hoped it would outrun me.
Tecate divide
Taken with the self-timer. Yes, there is some altitude, here.  Still overcast, and the road is dry.
Boulevard store
I stopped at this grocery store in Boulevard just before noon, and had a microwave burrito for lunch. Wished they had hot chocolate or something, as the day was cold, but no. Nice hand-painted lettering on their signs, whoever did it.
angels watching over me
I had this image in my head of an angel on a bike going before me, pointing out the hazards in the bike lane.
border fence
That brown line to the right is the border fence. Beyond it is Mexico. The fence seems be quite tall. Along the road in this section, I noticed one, small, not very fresh onion on the ground. Wonder who dropped it? There are the kinds of things I can contemplate when navigation isn’t demanding all my time.

There was a 3-mile, 6% descent, then another 6-mile, 6% descent down Interstate 8 into the valley. The shoulders were wide and clean. But the wind was fierce in places.

main street Ocotillo
It only took about half an hour to get to Ocotillo after entering Highway 8. Rather small town, and it really feels like the desert.
Ocotillo motel
I didn’t see the Motel right away. It was just a few rooms, combined with an RV park. I saw Ed working on the sign, outside, and asked if there was room for one cyclist. At first, he thought I was a different cylist who had made a reservation.

Just then, a woman on a fully loaded touring bike pulled up. It was the other cyclist.

Louise and Mike
Louise (L), who was traveling with her friend, Mike McGhee (R). They are not a couple, Louise has a partner back in Quebec, and Mike’s wife is in Georgia. Louise retired from a government job in Canada, and Mike is a retired veterinarian.

Ed told us that we could get settled into our rooms, and his sister would be back to check us in. And also that the only grocery store / cafe closed at 3 pm, and it was 2:15, so we went over to get supplies. Louise found out that there was the Lazy Lizard Bar next door, that stayed open until 9 pm, and served pizza. So it wasn’t necessary to buy dinner.

When Ed’s sister, Margaret, checked us in, it was just a matter of charging our credit cards. $50 for my room. She didn’t even ask us to fill out a form or anything.

Mike's rig
Mike rides a recumbent. He’s making the perimeter tour of the entire USA. His blog is at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/18866 I’m pretty sure his bike costed more than our car.
guy circling the US with a guitar
Mike carries a guitar and set of harmonicas on his bike. He’s riding to raise awareness for the Fender Music Foundation, which helps get instruments and materials for kids in need.

Mike, Louise, and I walked to the bar after everyone had a shower. Louise had red wine, Mike would normally have a beer, but had stomach trouble, and I had a Gatorade. Mike and Louise were the second and third person to advise me to take the Yuha alternate rather than the main route, so that’s what I’ll do tomorrow. They recommended the Townhouse Inn and Suites in Brawley, where they had been the day before, and which was my destination for tomorrow. They also told me about sandstorms ahead.

There was a very pleasant breeze blowing in the evening.

desert rabbit
Saw a lot of these while riding today. This one was right outside the motel room.
2 prong receptacle
My room had 2-pin outlets. Ha! I was ready with a 3-to-2 pin adapter for my laptop charger.
foil on windows
I also noticed that the west-facing windows of my room were covered in foil. This is the desert, after all.

The quaint Ocotillo Motel has no wi-fi as far as I can tell.  Louise went to the Red Feather market to get her wi-fi connection.  I waited until Brawley to do this posting.

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  1. Great picture of the bunny! I miss seeing the rabbits in our backyard. There were two squirrels chasing each other in our backyard a few days ago.

    1. There were so many rabbits just darting across the road, or sitting by the wayside, that it should have been possible to get a picture, except that I would have to stop and get out the camera. I’m not seeing as many animals now, as I have entered the desert. The wildlife is probably there, just hiding in the shade during the day.

    1. I asked the people at Palo Verde whether there were any coyotes, raccoons, or other animals to be worried about, since I was going to sleep with my tent wide open. They said just rattlesnakes and scorpions. But I’m not concerned, as they’re the kind of animal that is not going to intentionally come in and try to attack me.

      1. Just the same, be careful about rattlesnakes, spiders, and scorpions. Especially if you camp. They won’t look for you but you might accidentally find them. When we visited relatives on their farm near Austin, one of the first things they asked was “what kind of gun do you have?”. I said we didn’t have one, I got a puzzled look followed by “well, what do you do then when you see a rattlesnake?”

        1. I haven’t seen ANY live snakes, yet, but a few dried-up husks on the road. If a rattlesnake crawled into my tent while I was sleeping, I think it would be a re-enactment of the final scene of Alien. Lucky star… lucky star… that is, after I wet my pants, of course.

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