Colin's Journal

11 January 2006
61 miles
El Centro --> Rt. 78/86, near Plaster City open lands
12 miles run, 49 biked

More on last night's RV park (since I was feeling a little too sick to write much): called "Desert Trails RV park", and it had a 9 hole golf course. Mostly old people lived there during the winter. Corey played bingo with them and won $9, getting BINGO twice. We woke at 6am, which felt like 7am, and the sun was already rising.

In the bathroom, a hobo with a beard down to his waist was finishing a beer and lighting up a smoke. What a life. At 6:30 we each had two pop-tarts and hit the road. I (we?) feel pretty bad about it, but we didn't pay for our stay: we were there from 5:30pm-7:30am, and the office is open from 9am-5pm, so we never saw anyone to pay. We left El Centro loaded with Corey's $9 of nickel winnings, with Bill doing a 7mile workout on a nice, well paved road (Ross Rd., maybe?).

Next Stephen put in a good 10miler, getting us to the trails we planned to use to get to Borrego Springs (or at least part of the way). I ran a little bit on some sandy trails, and they just kept getting worse (worse=sandier). After Grant scouted ahead and saw only more of the same, we were faced with a choice:
1) walk the loaded bikes through the deep sands (these are the "Plaster City Open Lands"), which would be about 25miles in the blazing sun
2) go back around the Open Lands on the roads, which would mean backtracking 12miles, then ending up well over 25miles from where we would have gotten by hiking. We estimated it would be about twice the distance to go by roads as by hiking.

We voted and decided on option (2), three votes to two. Grant didn't let Rogo vote, because it might've caused a deadlock. I like that sort of democracy. So I put in the next 12 miles on Ethan Hewes Highway, getting us to the corner of Forrester road. Corey had already started running here, leaving me, Stephen, and Bill to ride after him.

On my run I did an oscillarian, which felt too hard aerobically, but great on my legs, so I didn't do another. I did gradually pick up the pace, and then did 5 striders with a mile left. Apparently while I was running, the others ran into a semi-elite cyclist who rode with them and talked about our trip. Upon leaving he said "One day, I hope to be a champion". Words to live by.

Bill, Stephen and I got a paceline going, passed the future champion cyclist (who freaked me out by inviting us behind a barn to see where the colonists had slaughtered some indians. see, I hadn't seen this guy before, and he was very tan, and it seemed like such an obvious trap...) and caught Corey just as he finished his 7miler. Bill and Stephen had a little snack and then rode on to catch Grant (who was on a 6 mile run) while Corey, Rogo and I had some tortillas and cheese/ and honey. Us three then rode on, catching Bill at the start of his second run of the day, a three miler.

We accompanied Bill through Westmoreland proper, and Corey and Rogo stopped at Town Hall to use a restroom. I waited with Grant for them on the corner of Forrester and Rt 78, while Bill rode on to catch Stephen. Rogo had discovered in the meanwhile that Westmoreland was 60miles from Borrego Springs, so after Stephen put in 6 miles, Bill ran three more and Grant put in another couple to get us to a pseudo campsite on private land near Rt. 78 across a canal ditch from a farm. The otherside of Rt. 78 is either a US Government (Navy or Air Force) proving ground, or BLM land. We were more willing to gamble with a landowner than with the Air Force.

We had a good dinner of Mac and cheese with sauteed summer sausage that really hit the spot, and a usual chocolate bar for dessert.

Line of the day:
Colin, apparently with the desert crazies: "I've had a waltz playing in my head for the past two days."

Day 12 Journal
Day 12