15 miles (24 km) – Total so far: 143 miles (230 km)
Today our check out was at noon, and we were out by 12:30. El Centro is bigger than I had thought, and we are 3 or 4 miles from the ACA actual route. We didn’t get to the Fairfield Inn last night until almost full dark. This morning, Brian googled a bicycle route from our hotel to Brawley and it was a straight, 15-mile shot parallel to Austin Road — the ACA road. It was a smooth asphalt road without a shoulder, but on a Sunday afternoon there wasn’t any traffic, so we were fine. It felt so good to ride fast with no wind or hills to climb. We flew! We would have made it in an hour if Brian hadn’t seen a sign saying “Get rid of Obama and Brown.” So we stopped (some of our dismounts were more graceful than others, ahem, Brian. Think about that guy on the tricycle from the old “Laugh In” show).
Tonight we are in a pretty run-down motel in small-town America, but the weather is perfect. Beth had a leftover taco that I ate for lunch at 2 p.m. Brian and Tim skipped lunch (???) but I’m eating and drinking all the time. Brian and I went to Von’s Super Market for snacks, water, and beer, and around 4 p.m. we went outside on our fancy veranda at this 5-star palace for a little picnic. Tim, Brian, Beth and I had some wine and cheese (Cracker Barrel and 2 six-packs) before we head to a steakhouse in about 30 minutes.
My knee feels better today, but it was pretty sore after all that wind and climbing. I lowered my seat a few millimeters and took lots of Advil and iced it before and after the ride today. Tomorrow we have an 89-mile ride with about 1500 feet of climbing. We are actually below sea level here in the Imperial Valley. We plan to eat breakfast in our rooms and be on the road by 7:15 a.m. We need to carry everything we need because there are no WaWas where we are going. Services will be limited to non-existent.
We found an authentic outside eating area Mexican diner. It was great, filling bicycle fuel.