Miles traveled: 350
Location: KOA campground in San Diego
Today started out with me hugging this gigantic cactus and ended up on the front porch of a cabin in San Diego. We did 350 miles through almost every kind of vista the southwest had to offer. Drove on I-10 till I-8 peeled off about Phoenix and then headed on I-8 to San Diego. Could not help but try some shlock and the cactus was just too good and opportunity to pass. The top half of the plant was a deep rich green. However, the bottom half looked as if someone used it for target practice two or three times a year. Have no idea how the top of the cactus stays as green and healthy as it does. You can see our bikes on the highway in the background.
If you click on the photo, it will or should blow up to a really big picture and you will see a mirage on the highway in front of the bikes. This will give you an idea how hot it was. My own guess is that this was the hottest day on the road. It has been more than a couple of decades since I have seen such a mirage on the highway. Before I realized it was a mirage, I thought we going into a small lake created by the rain storm from yesterday.
I suppose the single biggest eye opener of the day was the magnitude of agribusiness in the deserts around Phoenix, Yuma and the Imperial Valley of California. This is big and don’t know how else to say it is just plain bigger than anything I could have imagined. I have traveled across the country at least half a dozen times by car and it just never got my attention like it did today. It was like someone drew a line in the desert sand and said on one side would be sand and the other a rich growth of whose knows what. Just could not imagine the mechanics of growing in the desert they way they are doing it.
Not long after we crossed the Arizona state line that the scenery changed drastically for a short period of time. It was rocks, rocks and more rocks. There were chain link fences on the side of the road to keep falling rocks from the roadway. Where as falling rocks were a problem for cars and trucks, hitting them with a motorcycle is instant road kill. This is the best rock photo and it does not do justice to them.
What you see here is an aqueduct of sorts. It starts from who knows where in the north and brings water down to fuel Los Angeles and ends up fueling the Imperial Valley agribusiness. Where as this is a photo of the tail end of the aqueduct, the engineering of the whole thing that has effectively harnessed the dynamics of mother nature with minimal interference of man’s machine is amazing or amazing to me at the least. This has got to be at least a couple of thousands of miles and the evaporation rate over that distance must be in the millions of gallons. Wonder who pays for the water lost. This is what it takes to keep the agribusiness of the imperial valley alive.
This marks the start of the climb out of the Imperial Valley. It was long and steep. There was a sign on the left side of the road that said: Turn off your
A/C for the next ten miles to keep your engine from over heating. Along with this were the first call boxes I remember seeing since I left Florida. A final touch was the periodic location of radiator watering points on the climb. Steep and hard it was but the bikes handled it with grace and elegance. However, my right leg could feel the heat from the pipes and engine. It was awesome.
As we closed in on the top of the mountains on the west side of the Imperial valley, there was a sign that said: Caution, high winds. Then just to add some emphasis was a whole string of Wind Turbines. Now, these things are big and intimidating. I could not fathom the amount of energy it would take to move those blades. Then got a sense of the wind in a blast as I started on the decent.
The trip down was fast. I guess the best visualization would be that my ears only popped once on the climb but popped four times on the way down. However, as fast as the decent was, about half way down, we ran into a boarder patrol check point. We screwed up and got in a line where there were a lot of passports that had to be checked. As we got to the bottom it became painfully apparent we had hit San Diego in the rush hour and the style of riding had to be radically altered.
And now the truth comes out. KC is announcing his safe arrival to the San Diego area. It was a long way from the morning shot by the cactus tree in New Mexico. In fact, it was over 350 miles of some of the hardest riding I have ever done. Can say that I am glad it is for the history books and so totally understand why we never saw more than 4 or 5 other rides each day. Could say a lot more but my batteries are dying and there is a bed waiting. Know I do wish each and everyone well. Do good and take care.