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
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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

See, this is why I gave up on the van

2011-02-19

tl;dr: Another day of climbing. In the rain. Against the wind. With traffic. At high elevation. It's cold.

I didn't sleep very well last night. Cars drove by a lot. It rained continuously. Coyotes yipped a bit. And once I was awoken by a strange noise and I swear I felt the ground trembling.

I can't be sure, but things looked a lot greener this morning.

Rain had eased just as it was getting light out. There is nothing quite so daunting as stumbling out of a semi-warm tent to climb 3000 foot of steep mountain in a cold rain. So I decided early on to change my plans for that day. My bicycle wasn't properly geared to climb out of Borrego Springs via the Montezuma-Borrego Highway. Also, I could peer up into the mountains and see that my originally-planned route would bring me through snow. I turned back toward town to follow a longer, less steep route.

Nothing opens early in Borrego Springs, so no coffee again. That's okay. My headaches have become more bearable. Oddly enough, there were nightcrawlers on the road.

A few miles out of town it started raining again. I put on my poncho. It actually works well.

I biked up-slope for 10 miles, topping out at 1750 feet at the Yaqui Pass, before quickly dropping down to Highway 78. Highway 78 also went up, but had the additional properties of being narrow, curvy, and very busy. It snaked up through the mountains where I was often accosted by RVs and strong winds. Somewhere past 2300 feet I was able to turn off onto Highway S2. Had I not turned I would have climbed another 2000 feet at least before the next intersection.

Highway S2 is nice and wide. But it pushed me head-long into rain and cold 20 mph winds. I quickly determined I need a break. I set up my tent and sealed myself inside to enjoy brief periods of sunshine that warmed it though it did little to dry me out. After a couple of hours when it looked like the rain might ease up I hit the road again.

It immediately started raining. The rest of the day if it wasn't raining it was because it was sleeting.

The road kept climbing upwards in spurts. After a bit I realized I was breathing even harder than usual. I was probably past 3000 feet at that point, and I'm just not used to that elevation.

I also never found a place to top off my water bottles. Fortunately my poncho would actually capture rain water between my arms. Occasionally I would stop and drink it. I wasn't truly worried about dehydrating because I'm sure I was absorbing water through my skin.

I stopped a lot. A couple of times I actually walked my bike up steeper-than-average slopes.

So I'm tired, physically wore out and thirsty. All day long I've been bicycling up hill, against the wind, with some nasty traffic at times, in increasingly frigid rain and sleet, and the air was getting thinner. And I needed to find a place to camp.

Well, I found Ronnie's. It is a bar near the intersection of Highways S2 and S22 near Ranchita. It's not anyplace you'd expect someplace to be. But it was open and Ronnie served up a monster cheeseburger. After a few questions by me about finding a place to camp, he unlocked "the cabin", moved some stuff out of the way to clear a space on the floor, and provided me with a space heater. He then closed the bar and headed off to Julian with his buddies to "watch the fight."

The cabin is little more than a storage shed that at one time might have been lived in. Like the rest of Ronnie's, it is decorated in random posters, captioned photos, and various marketing materials. Unlike the main bar, I didn't see any posters chastising President Obama, so I again suspect it has been unused for a few years.

If I had been in my van I would have never stopped here.

out my tent door


snow up high






metal money eaters






cacti








The Cabin


inside the cabin

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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