|Southern Tour 2008 Page One|
|Home Page | Recent and Future Rides | Contact Page | Jefferson State Outback Tour - 2005 | Jefferson State Outback Tour - 2005 Con't | Jefferson Stae Outback Tour -2005 Con't | Tour de Climbs - 2006 | Tour de Climbs - 2006 Con't | itinerary & map | Southern Tour 2008 | Southern Tour Page 2 | Southern Tour Page 3 | Southern Tour Page 4 | Southern Tour Page 5 | Southern Tour Page 6 -- March 24- | Southern Tour Page 7 -- March 29- | Florida Finale | Favorite Links Page | California Trips Photos | Oregon Coast Trip 9/2001 | Cross Country Trip 2002 | Photos-- First 2 weeks | Cross Country Trip con't 2002 | Finale Photos | Pacific Coast Trip - 9/2003 | Pacific Coast Trip - 2003 Con't | Photo Page -- 3rd & 4th weeks | photoalbum.html | Zoom page | WHAT'S NEW PAGE | TOUR OF WASHINGTON - 2009 | Tour of Washington Con't Pg 2 | Tour of Washington Con't Pg 3 | Tour of Washington Photo Page 1 | Tour of Washington Photo Page 2 | Sierra - Cascades Tour 2011 - Weeks 1 & 2 | Pictures Week 1 & 2 | SIerra Cascades Tour - Weeks 3 -5 | Pictures - Weeks 3 & 4 | Pictures - Week 4 | Pictures - Week 5 - South Lake Tahoe -Lee Vining | Lee Vining - Tioga Pass - Yosemite | Yosemite National Park and the Home Stretch|
Southern Tour 2008 Feb 28 - April 8 COMPLETED
Southern Tour 2008
Feb 28 - April 8
The Bikeboys left Olympia in fog and drizzle, driving to Redding to pick up Bill Parr on our way to Costa Mesa. Bill's wife, Francie, hosted us for the night and treated us to great food and limoncella, an Italian liqueur. Bill watched "American Idol" one last evening, knowing there would not be much TV ahead.
Next evening we arrived in Costa Mesa at the home of John Brazelton (an accompished Ironman triathlete and John Edward's nephew), his wife Karen and kids Jillian and Kirsten. The Bikeboys took over for two nights, sleeping in the living room and in a bedroom upstairs,
Start of the ride -- Santa Ana Winds ahead!
On Sunday March 1, John Brazelton led us on a cross-town ride to Huntington Beach where we could begin our continental ride at the very Pacific Ocean. Bruce gathered vials of sand and salt water to carry with him.
We set out on the Santa Ana River Bike trail in gorgeous weather, heading gradually uphill. About 15 miles eastward, a woman on a tandem going the opposite way stopped to breathlessly tell us that there were ferocious Santa Ana winds ahead, gusting to 50 and 60 miles per hour. Soon we were indeed buffeted by a steadily growing headwind, with gusts that whipped in unpredictable directions, sometimes strong enough to knock us off the trail. John, sagging in the van, met us at the end of the trail, and over lunch we reconnoitered. Our goal for the day was Moreno Valley, another 30 miles east. But the wind not only was slowing us to six miles an hour at times, it was making riding in traffic an exceedingly dangerous thing. We struggled on to Riverside, about 10 miles further, and then got motel rooms, opting for discretion over valor.
33* 54' 15" N -117* 28' 32" W
Huntington Beach and the Pacific Ocean
John Brazelton, Paul, John, Bruce and Bill look eastward.
Spectacular sunshine with no sign of the dreaded Santa Ana winds -- yet. John, Bruce and Paul pedaled through suburban Riverside and its school zones, trying to reach 18 mph, only to stop at red light after red light. Each intersection have us the chance to interact with bystanders -- school kids oohing and ahhing over the recumbents ("caliente!" one girl exclaimed) -- and adults asking how
Now came the climbs into the dry inland desert, often on highways with heavy truck traffic, as the wind continued blasting. As the pace dropped below 10 mph, we realized 29 Palms, still 50 miles away, was a dim prospect for this day, so we checked with locals and learned there the Morongo Indian Reservation had a casino/spa -- pretty much the last motel for 40 miles. Bill, sagging, drove ahead to snare two of last remaining rooms. The casino would not allow us to take our bikes to our rooms on the 6th floor so we valet-parked them, to the great amusement of the valet staff. Then we strode through the cavernous casino, our garish bike clothes catching the stares of boozy, smoking gamblers.
33* 55' 18" N -116* 47' 58" W
After the valets delivered our bikes, we set off on Highway 10, then exited to 62, heading north through great fields of white, three-bladed windmills. Few were turning this morning -- a calm day, at last. We left the Palm Springs area behind, the snow-tipped San Jacinto Mountains slowing dwindling behind us.
We crossed several dry ridges -- the highest at 3224 feet in elevation-- then slipped into Yucca Valley, where Bruce in the van had stopped at a Big 5 and inquired about local's favorite lunch spots. Santana's Mexican Restaurant was the choice.
At last -- easy riding
Twenty-one miles to 29 Palms, the highway sign said. The road looked long and flat but we soon found ourselves coasting at 22 mph, nearly the entire way. By 2 pm we were in 29 Palms, a sparsely-settled desert community near a Marines base. We did not count all 29 of the palms -- the local vegetation seemed mostly a lot of scrub and small cacti with a few Joshua trees thrown in.
Next stop would be Parker, Arizona. A chaplain with the 29 Palms fire department stopped to chat -- he was an avid bike tourer as well -- and advised us Parker would be a good 120 miles away, with no services in between. So we got a motel and planned an early start across a rolling vista of sand and rock ridges.
34* 8' 4" N -116* 5' 42" W