Friday, February 5, 2010


Today started off with a private showing from the Navy's Blue Angels.
They flew in close formation close overhead for about half an hour as
we rode.

My goal for the day was to get to El Centro and find the bike shop. My
tires were literally falling apart, and it's a miracle they got me off
the mountain in one piece.

The bike shop in El Centro had a great mechanic named Brian.
Unfortunately, the selection was rather poor and I now have temporary
cheap tires that should last till we get to Yuma.

All day long we traveled on nearly flat ground, surrounded by barren
mountains. Towards sunset, we climbed into the dunes of Imperial
Sand Dunes recreation area.

The map we are using indicated ther was camping at the Imperial Dunes
Recreation Area. So as the lush, irrigated land gave way to scrubby
dunes in a sharp line, we started pushing a little harder in
anticipation of running water and showers.

Imperial Dunes is an incredible place to camp - if your idea of
camping is driving your huge truck, towing your huge trailer with your
fleet of dune buggies and atvs to race around the desert. When we
asked at the ranger station about camping we were told that there is
no water, no showers, not even any picnic tables. We could camp
anywhere we pleased, but "be careful where you camp, because there's a
lot of this orv-ing. You know."

He didn't mention the wilderness area right across the road where the
only thing allowed is hiking and camping. We figured that out
ourselves through the clever reading of the ranger's map.

So now we are on a high dune, having climbed more than 1000 feet from
El Centro, which lies about 100 feet below sea level. It shields our campsite from the road and from the top of it, I can see all of
the towns we came through today, and the distant lights of Mexicali on
the horizon.

Right across the road from us is the main meeting area of the off-
roading crew. They have
everything you could
need in the middle of the desert. No water, flushing toilets, or
tables. But they had nitrogen service, carnival food, giant tires and firewood for sale (no fire allowed in wildness area, sorry).
Currently we are discussing our route, possibly trying to go through
Dateland, which comes highly reccomended. Anybody heard of Dateland?

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