Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

El Centro (Seeley) to Brawley, California. (And back) February 7

Feb. 7, 2014..... 55.02 miles in 4:14.....I can honestly say that today is the first 50 miler that I've ever done that was entirely below sea level. The Imperial Valley, is basically 30-50 ft. below sea level. Near the Rio Bend RV Resort , where we are staying, my GPS read that I was 7 ft. above sea level, but I soon descended to the negative numbers, and didn't come up for air for over 50 miles. We decided to stay here for three nights, because the third night is free, so I rode north, like the ACA maps direct, if your following the Southern Tier map. I wanted to check out the town of Brawley, because our next destination is Yuma, Arizona, which is southeast. I rode about eight miles east into El Centro, and was pleasantly surprised to find nicely surfaced roads with well marked bike lanes. Generally speaking, the roads around here are terrible, as bad as any place in the country. It was explained to me that the conditions are because of all the small earthquakes, as we are on several fault lines, including the San Andreas fault.
After touring El Centro, I headed north on Cali Rt. 86, thru Imperial, and into major agricultural country. Broccoli, cabbage, leaf lettuce of many different varieties, and alfalfa filled the fields, and the canals and irrigation systems were extensive. Anyone who is following the ACA Southern Tier may want to consider riding this path to Brawley, instead of the recommended Austin Rd. This road gets you into El Centro, and around some stores and businesses, but the traffic and shoulders were very manageable. Austin Rd, which is the way I returned to Seeley,  was shoulderless and absolutely butt kicking. The gaps in the asphalt are relentless, and every nut on your bike and body are rattled loose. It is also more rural, with no supply stops available. The condition of the road does not slow the traffic down , and it has a broken yellow line the entire length of the road, so cars pass in both directions, and it can be quite harrowing to a biker that has no shoulder. I actually got off the road, and rode on the dirt roads that were for working on the canals and in the fields. The dirt was much more forgiving than the split asphalt, and safer too.
When I arrived in Brawley, I rode through some residential areas before heading back, and I noticed that all the street signs had the name of the street, and the words 'Home of the Cattle Call'. So, of course, when I saw Cattle Call Drive I went out there to see what was famous enough to be on every street sign. What I found was a little rodeo arena, down in a gully. They must put on quite a show when it's their season. 
Like I said, the ride home was bone jarring and dusty, but at least the weather was perfect. Sunny with a wispy cloud cover at times, and a high of 78. It was a nice, calm wind, and a nice day to ride. Pam, lounged at the pool, and enjoyed the view of mountains, lakes, and desert. ( which seems a little contradictory, but there are plenty of mountain runoff  lakes, as well as cactus and palm trees.)

Our home in the desert!  At Rio Bend RV Resort

A desert cemetery!  No headstones!

Billboards in Spanish

Sea level is marked on the silo in Imperial Valley

Red lettuce stripes the green lettuce
Home of the Cattle Call!

Cattle Call arena in Brawley, CA

Cabbage anyone?

Canals are everywhere

Dirt roads made for better riding that the asphalt

A little snowbird humor at the 55 and over campground!

And a little more snowbird humor that our family and friends may or may not appreciate!!!

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