After leaving the mega-farm country of Westmoreland (free night camping in a wildlife refuge near huge cattle and cabbage farms – stunk like a skunk!) we peddled east to the sand dunes of Imperial, CA. On the way, we stopped at a Starbucks in Brawley (only place with free wifi). They were super nice and the clerk came over to hear our stories! If you are ever in Brawley, Starbucks is the place to go.
We are headed to Imperial, CA and the Starbucks clerk gave us the story of how the town got its name. Back when the West was being settled, the developers wanted to attract people to this God-forsaken desert. They named it Imperial so people would think this was land for royalty and upper crust people. So people came…and as it turned out, west of here (Brawley) the land was quite fertile and became very good farm country.
Speaking of farm country, water from the Colorado River is used to irrigate much of the Southwest! As we found out later, there were many more mega farms as we closed in on the Arizona border.
Westmoreland/Brawely Camp Site
30 miles later, we pulled into BLM headquarters at the Imperial Dunes BLM Recreation Area. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management and it governs all National Parks (NP), National Wildlife,(NWR) National Forest (NF), National Monuments(NM) and other governmental land. West of the Mississippi, there is a lot of free and low cost camping on these lands.
We set up camp in the desert about 5 miles east of the BLM headquarters (east side of the railroad tracks – west side cost $40 a week. East is free). Definitely desert…but much different than the desert back near Julian, no cacti can be found.
Imperial Camp Site – near dunes
Corey had the first of 2 flat tires. We stayed an extra day just outside of Ehrenberg, AZ. to fix the issue. Flats are huge nemesis to bikers. I am still hoping to be in Phoenix for the weekend. We will see.
“ Scenario from CITY SLICKER movie”. Mitch (Bily Crystal) questioned the meaning of life. I can relate 😊. A trip like this will do that. It’s tough biking 30 plus miles a day especially in the desert. Temps are around 75 and a little head wind. I was able to park and ride about 8 miles. We will camp here two nights to re-adjust and let sore muscles and joints have a break. I will get more riding in as we rest (there are trails throughout the desert. Just don’t want to get lost). We also have to figure out how to keep things charged up – yesterday, Corey’s GPS died. Our phones went low on power. And we have laptops to keep charged. I have been able to stay on top of my phone and laptop with car chargers but we have to figure out Corey’s situation. If we plan, we can do most of it while I drive.
Not sure if this Bonnie & Clyde’s car (see bullet holes) or Jimmy Hoffa’s car. The desert is a big place, full of surprises!
Nice spot for us to do some bonding. We brought plenty of food but water is at a premium. Trying to conserve but there are several places that have water for sale ($2.00 a bottle). The things we take for granted in Maine! Lack of facilities and water make it tough to get cleaned up… I am in hopes the Colorado River offers us some relief in a day or two. If not, sounds like a motel stay 🌴
Here is a question for my Rumford Elementary School friends. We came across a large saltwater lake here in southeastern California, the Salton Sea. How do you suppose a saltwater lake formed here? Here is another question that will take some research (your teachers will have to help you.) If this is mostly desert country, how can they have large tracks of farmland in places? Hint: The Colorado River is not very far away.
Here is a picture of my leg with the Barrel Cactus. The Cactus is still standing. The leg has multiple holes 🙂
Our plans are changed slightly. We got to the Colorado River Tuesday (not Monday). Our next overnight after that will be east of Quartzsite, AZ. .Yea, we made it to Arizona. Stay tuned, Hope to be in Phoenix soon! 🐫
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