Posted by: Christopher | June 26, 2007

The Heat is On

Ok. Tuesday the 26th now. Alicia and I are in El Centro, California. It’s getting hotter as we move East toward Arizona, but that’s no surprise. It’s already hotter than all hell here though. People we talk to say it’s been worse than usual- supposedly it was 119 yesterday.

We stayed at the Viejas Indian Reservation after our library stop in Alpine- the climb was just too intense to continue that day. The campground there was very nice, as were the people. The valley that the reservation is in is incredibly beautiful, hidden in the rocky brown hills, with green pastures and trees. We stayed there two nights simply because it was so pretty, and we really needed another break to recuperate.

 So we climbed out of Viejas, and climbed yet some more. Then we stopped to camp in Live Oak Springs. Couldn’t wait to get out of that place. Talk about a big change from our previous experience. Here the place was ugly, unclean, and totally unkempt. The people sported an underlying rudeness and dislike despite running a facility that depends on strangers passing through. Did I mention that the “campground” was in the middle of a trailer park? Yeah. Nice. We got out of there as fast as we could.

 So we rode out of the pit of Live Oak Springs, climbed a bit more, passed through some small towns, and tasted some damn good Mexican food on the way. Had an accident in Jacumba- no serious injuries though. Alicia has a scrape on her leg and I have a few bumps and bruises. Apparently Alicia had decided to stop to take a picture, but I was too busy enjoying the view to take note and ran into the back of her bike. I think I flipped clear over her but I’m not sure…

Thankfully the injuries were minor and no damage to equipment was sustained.

But the trek continues, slow though it may be. Coming out of the mountains after our intense hill climb out of San Diego, we traversed the dizzying 3000 ft decline of In Koh Pa Pass down to the Yuha Desert floor. That was painful for an entirely different reason from the climbing. Pulling your brakes like mad for minutes at a time really wears on the ol’ arm muscles.

Our destination yesterday was Ocotillo. The last mile was hell- the sun beating down on us, rough pavement, uphill, with a 50 mph headwind. Not fun. Thankfully John at the Jackson’s Hideaway RV Park was more than kind and set us up in his own rec room with full amenities (including AC) for the night- for free! We really can’t thank him enough for that. It was well needed before hitting the desert full on

So, today, as I said, we’re in El Centro. We got out early and beat the heat, covering the 28 miles across the first half of this desert before 11:00 and before it got REALLY hot. Experiencing this sweltering heat first hand, we have decided to get out before dawn and cycle only in the morning from now on- with perhaps some more in the evening if needed.

That said, we also need to start putting some miles behind us. We’re WAY behinid schedule right now due to terrain difficulties. We’ve gotten about 125 miles from San Diego so far- not as much as we hoped, but also what I think is a considerable amount for having to climb up so many miles of hill. With any luck we’ll be in Palo Verde tomorrow when we stop.



  1. Hi Guys,

    I hear you’re in Texas now. Just about there. I love the pictures, minus the ones with that beige cat. I don’t even feel like I need to travel the Southwest anymore. I am living vicariously through you guys. Keep on trekking!


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