U.S. 360 Tour II – Day 28 from Palo Verde CA to Brawley CA (Sand Dunes and Semi’s)

Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.

68 miles (109 km) – Total so far: 1,428 miles (2,298 km)

A good run today. The day started before sunrise as it was imperative to hit the road before the sun and winds made their presence felt. It was going to be an arduous journey across the southern California desert with almost no services. Our host, Nancy, was up earlier than us to make an absolutely outstanding breakfast, most notably seaweed miso soup. I know what you’re thinking, but it was the best breakfast I’ve had on the trip. We left as the sun was just peaking over the mountains, and made our way down a mile-long dirt road before finding the familiar pavement. Jim kept his eye out for the indigenous tarantulas while I dodged burro poop.

The first 30 miles were a constant up and down, with more up than down. As has been the case over the last few days, we were surrounded by mountains. About 30 miles in, we were greeted by the most stunning scenery of the trip, the Algodones Sand Dunes near Glamis California. Living in Texas, I have seen plenty of sand and plenty of dunes, but I have never seen them quite this spectacular. These dunes dominate the landscape, and they apparently attract off-road vehicles of all types from all over the world. The sand is ubiquitous, even overtaking the roads narrow shoulders. As striking as this area was, we were forced to keep close vigil on the traffic, which was somewhat intense. Because of the amount of truck traffic and RV traffic on the two-lane road, Jim got his money’s worth from his helmet mirror. Jim generally provided me with two warnings, alerting me to upcoming “trucks” and “big-ass trucks”. I got the message.

After 15 miles of sand dunes, the landscape changed again to agricultural, with green fields made that way due to the network of irrigation canals. We arrived in Brwley feeling pretty good, but famished. We demolished sandwiches at the first place we saw, and later made our way to our Warmshowers hosts in Brawley, Bill and Theresa. The couple are lovely and generous, and are both cyclists, which make it even better.

Tomorrow will be the toughest day of the trip: tough roads, high mileage, net 4000 foot elevation gain, and no services. Sound like fun? It is if you’re nuts!

It’s All Good

Consistent backdrop on the first 30 miles.
Consistent backdrop on the first 30 miles.
Surly Pearl and her friend taking a much-needed rest.
Surly Pearl and her friend taking a much-needed rest.
Given the desert conditions, we went through water like nobody's business.
Given the desert conditions, we went through water like nobody’s business.
The only sign (of life) in Glamis.
The only sign (of life) in Glamis.
Jim and the dunes!
Jim and the dunes!
A mountain bike would have been nice.
A mountain bike would have been nice.
Surly Pearl dreaming of one day becoming a 29er.
Surly Pearl dreaming of one day becoming a 29er.
Not sure why, but I just felt like doing this!
Not sure why, but I just felt like doing this!

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