Today was 67 miles of relatively flat ground. We were blessed today as we timed the storms perfectly other than some light sprinkles pretty much staying dry. We were told by others that went before us and came in after us that they got caught in heavy rains. We were supposed to do 85 miles and stay in another campground tonight but the campground was flooded out so we stayed in a hotel and cut the day to a 67 mile day. Perfect. They had to double us up at the Hotel so we shared the room with Lee and Vickie another tandem bike couple. Lee had taught me how to clean our bikes the night before so it was great to share the room with them. Turns out the room had two bedrooms so we really only had to take turns in the bathroom. We spent the evening in the hotel laundry washing and drying all of our bedding and clothing. It was great to have everything clean and dry.
Coming in the last 5 miles the roads were flooded and cars and trucks were driving through them spraying water ten to fifteen feet in spots. We found an ally way about a half block away that paralleled the road so we were able to avoid the worst of it. That and then riding up on the sidewalk kept us relatively dry. The best thing I did to the bike to prepare for the trip was to have a front fender installed. It has paid huge dividends with all this wet riding.
Rained all night in Dateland making the campground into a literal lake. Luckily as long as no cars drove through the lake that was the road in front of our tent washing muddy water into it we stayed semi dry except when we had to wade through it to get to the bathroom and breakfast. Once out of camp and on the road it was 70 miles of fairly uneventful highway. Good weather not hot, breaks at good times, a few stops along the way to refuel. All was good.
The event of the day was in the evening at Gila Bend. We stayed in a nice updated KOA campground that was Shangra La compared to Dateland. After an hour cleaning the bike of all the mud and grunge we went to dinner. After Dinner during our meeting Richard showed up. What a welcome sight to see my favorite oldest brother. He asked what we needed so we gave him a list, mostly bike cleaning supplies, and he stayed and mingled with the folks we were riding with. It was great to see Richard as it always is.
The real event of this day was the night. We were in tents and the weather got intense. Thunder and lightning with heavy rain all night. We laughed at our predicament and held each other tight all night. I got up about 2 AM because I couldn’t hold it any longer if you know what I mean, there was a river running through our camp about 6 inches deep and fifteen feet wide two tents away that I had to wade through to get to the clubhouse bathroom. Some of the tents were moved and those people finished the night in the clubhouse. The water got about an inch high around our tent which had everything touching the floor wet. Storm was gone by morning thank goodness.
Yuma to Dateland. Started in the rain but the day cleared up after a while so not too bad. Weaving through farm land with some muddy flooded roads and then onto the I-8 freeway most of the day. Bumpy roads today too. Had lunch at a roadside burger joint that was the highlight of the day. Other than that a lot of farm land and desert. Dateland’s big thing is a Date Shake at the one convenience store truck stop. They also had a cactus shake so we had both. They were both good mainly because we were starving. The cactus was close to a weak cherry flavor and the Date shake was like a weak chocolate flavor. Maybe because one was pink and the other brown. On to Gila Bend tomorrow.
47.8 miles. Total 89.8 miles. Grateful for the opportunity to take on this bucket list!
After dipping the back wheel in the pacific ocean and then getting our group picture we were off! Suddenly, we were doing the bucket list item we had prepared for many months. It seemed a bit surreal as we started off! The first miles were recognizable places cycling through as we had visited Natalie many times in the San Diego area. Many of the first miles were on trails and it was just so fun! Our first SAG stop was at a beautiful rest stop in the mountains a bit. I needed to go to the restroom and one of the other ladies in the group offered her elbow. At that moment I knew we were going to be just fine! We stopped for lunch at an amazing Taco place. Steve had a shrimp burrito and I had a chicken taco. Amazing! We arrived at Alpine, CA to our beautiful hotel. I needed some new sunglasses so we walked over to the CVS. As we were walking over there Kendall called to tell us the Utah State Aggies had won the basketball tournament. Yay this really was a great day!! Dinner / bed time and back on the bike in the morning!