Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The reports of Palo Verde's technological deficiencies were somewhat overstated - we have cell phone and internet access here after all. Today was a short day, but had a number of highlights. First of all, we entered California, our 15th state! And we got a proper welcome sign announcing it. We came across the border between Ehrenberg, AZ and Blythe, CA, crossing the Colorado River (the real Colorado River, not the one they called Colorado in Texas). We also saw 2 Big Horn Sheep! Right by the side of the road! One of them stayed still long enough for me to get a picture, the other one turned tail and ran off just as I was trying to catch him. But I think the pictures came out ok. We also had 2 flats today, both on the front tire and in the same place, near the valve stem. We can't figure out why they happened; it looked like they both had a small explosion, on the rim side of the tube at that. We ended up using a patched tube instead of another new one and so far it seems to be holding up ok.
We left Quartzsite after breakfast at 7:40. Our waitress was telling us that it's always very quiet there in the summer, but it's crowded during the winter when the 'snow birds' come down from Montana and Washington to escape the cold. She said there are tons of vendors who set up tables and little shops, mostly around the RV parks, of which there are many here. They sell rocks, gems, Indian jewelry and crafts and similar items. We passed by some shops in town as we left that looked like they catered to that kind of tourist business. Once we were back on I-10, we passed several mountains on either side, including the Dome Rock Mountains. The mountains were all very impressive. The area looks like ATV heaven - there are dirt trails all over along the side of the road. We passed through the Colorado River Indian Reservation briefly; that's where we saw the sheep.
Just before we reached the CA border, the terrain flattened out, the mountains receded to the background. We crossed the Colorado River on a pedestrian bridge so we could take pictures without worrying about traffic. Shortly after that we entered the town of Blythe. We're getting closer to the border of Mexico again, too, and began to see Border Patrol cars again. We also passed by a CA Agricultural Inspection station on the west-bound side and a truck weigh station on the east-bound side, with trucks backed up a long way. Blythe was a fair-sized town and we stopped in some convenience stores to stock up on food for tomorrow, since we'll have a long stretch with few resources along it. Then we headed south on CA 78, passing farm fields and irrigation ditches and canals all the rest of the way to Palo Verde. Just after we had our first flat - luckily, it happened near a big tree that provided us shade to work under - we pulled into the little town of Ripley which also had a convenience store. The owner was very friendly and helpful to us - he asked all about our trip and had his wife turn on a little misting system they had out on the front of the store to cool us off. We got some cold drinks and were about to leave when the front tire popped again. This time we fixed it in the shade of their portico with cool fine mist spraying around us.
We arrived in Palo Verde at 2:45, after 42.5 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes of bike time. It had been mostly flat or downhill all day, and even though it was hot (in the low to mid 90's), the breeze we generated on the bike kept us cool enough while we were moving. The wind was very calm all day. Palo Verde is another very small town where each building serves many functions. We first came across a liquor/convenience store. Our motel had a bar/restaurant associated with it (we registered for the room at the pickup window of the restaurant), and further down the road was a gas station/food mart. That was it, except for a few houses. When we had dinner in the restaurant, it looked like half the town was there too, drinking at the bar and playing pool. Our room was unusual - it had a very small bathroom but a nice-sized kitchen as well as a big bedroom with a double bed and 2 single beds! I guess they get a lot of families. There were only 5 rooms to the whole motel. It was nice to get here early. Tomorrow will be a long, hot day so we're glad to be able to turn in early.