89 miles (143 km) – Total so far: 232 miles (373 km)
I have to be honest, Beth was right. Last night’s motel was lousy. The ACA maps don’t list the brand new Best Western in Brawley, but if you are riding The Southern Tier and need a place to stay, go there. You’ve been warned.
We knew that today’s ride would be a long one and we left Brawley at 7:05 a.m. It was cold for the first hour but we warmed up quickly. From Brawley to Blythe, the road is flat, through farmland on both sides of Rt. 78 for the first 20 miles or so. Then the road goes through the dunes and up and over the Chocolate Mountains. The last 30 miles are flat again with agriculture on both side of the road. It was amazing how similar the scenery was on both ends of the ride; flat green fields with mountains on all horizons. The big difference was the road surface. When you leave Imperial County and enter Riverside County, the road becomes beautiful new asphalt. The road for the most part today was fine. For long stretches, the main highway had a chip seal surface, but there was about a two-foot strip at the side of the shoulder of older, smoother asphalt that we rode on. At times when the shoulder was absent, we rode on the white highway line to try for a less bumpy ride.
We stopped every 10 to 15 miles for short breaks; it seemed to help our stamina. We did not have a sit-down lunch today, there literally was nothing open until we reached Blythe. Glamis was closed. Palo Verde was closed. Ripely, believe it or not, was closed!
Beth stayed in Brawley until check out and then drove until she spotted us. She refilled our water/Gatorade bottles and provided Cliff bars, bananas and such. The temp today reached 84 and for most of the ride, the wind wasn’t a factor. We did have a bit of wind climbing the Chocolate Mountains, but not too bad.
We reached Blythe around 3:30 p.m. and went to the address for the Comfort Suite Inn listed on the ACA maps only to find out that the motel is now in a new location. What’s a day without a little detour? I should have verified the address on Google.
Tomorrow we cross the Colorado and enter Arizona.