David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
02/07  How I spent my weekend
02/08  Three States and a River
02/11  Welcome to the Desert
02/12  A Cold, Hot, Dry Day
02/13  29 Palms
02/17  Joshua Tree National Park kicked my butt
02/18  Canyons, Farms, and more Desert
02/19  See, this is why I gave up on the van
02/20  It snowed
02/25  Temecula to Oxnard
02/26  Not nearly tough enough
02/27  Solvang and Buellton
03/06  (pictures)
03/12  (pictures)
03/13  (pictures)
03/14  (pictures)
03/19  From Solvang to Lompok
03/20  Nothing to Report
03/22  (pictures)
03/23  (pictures)
03/25  Technical difficulties
03/26  Pleasantly Not Soaked
03/27  Another Shortcut
03/28  (pictures)
03/30  (pictures)
04/01  (pictures)
04/04  (pictures)
04/05  (pictures)
04/08  Toxic Orchards
04/09  Los Gatos Road
04/10  Summits
04/12  CalTrain
04/15  San Francisco
04/16  Almost Car Sick
04/17  Pinnipeds
04/19  (pictures)
04/22  (pictures)
04/22  Terrorists Stole My Jelly
04/23  A Little More Peddling
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

A Cold, Hot, Dry Day

2011-02-12

tl;dr: The land is dry. The slopes are sneaky. But there is plenty to see in the desert.

Morning in the desert is cold. At least it's a dry cold. I was up long before dawn and had hit the road just as it was light enough to see. Still, until the sun was good and up I chose to get way off the road when a vehicle approached.

I have never bicycled an entire day without coming across services (or even a house) before. Much like yesterday I spent my time on tremendous straightaways bordered by ever-slowly-changing desert landscapes. Unlike yesterday I didn't have a tailwind. That makes a difference.

Highway 68 carried much less traffic than Highway 95, and most of it was bound in the opposite direction. But when people passed, they passed fast.

For a long stretch Highway 68 is paralleled by an aqueduct and a railroad. The aqueduct was basically dry, and I never saw a train on the railroad. The railroad bed itself, however, was target of miles upon miles of an innovative rock graffiti. Apparently people just stop and make their mark.

A very few abandoned structures could be found along the way. Some novelties could also be found, including the "shoe fence", a very informative sign post, and some sort of FAA station.

By late morning it was warm enough that I was stripped down to shorts and t-shirt. I probably should have carried more water. Like maybe twice as much at least. According to the lady whose wallet I had found I had some karma coming, so I figured I'd not worry about it. Eventually I came across three large trucks loaded down with dune buggies in a pullout. They were fixing something. I decided to be bold and ask if I could top off my water bottles. It turns out they were headed home from a rally. They proceeded to drag water and sports drinks out of their coolers and pile them at my feet. I had no idea how I would carry it all, but I easily downed three Gatorades right then and there. I was more thirsty than I thought.

There are no hills in the desert. But there are plenty of slopes. And they are very sneaky. It took me a while to figure out I was going uphill, because at first I just assumed I was a wimp for using granny gears on flat terrain.

About 2 PM I decided I was done for the day. Actually, the daunting presence of another miles-long slope climb decided I was done for the day. My self from the previous July would have easily kept going and made it to 29 Palms before sunset. My self from today was faced with more humble realizations. So I set my tent up behind some giant jumbles of rock and attempted to nap the afternoon away. Thanks to the efforts of birds (several kinds including hummingbirds), bugs and these whistling rodent-things I was mostly unsuccessful.

Night is little better with large insects smacking into my tent and mice try to climb up it.

I managed only about 50 miles today.

FAA station with handy outhouse


graffiti


more graffiti


prime real estate




shoe fence because the shoe tree was burned down




snow? probably not


it's a wash




topping off


about the most middle-of-nowhere I've ever camped

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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