Monday, March 9, 2015

Now we're below sea level and right on the border.

Monday March 9. Live Oak Springs to Calexico, CA

49 feet to be exact (below sea level). And you can guess that to descend to that from 4300 feet within 60 miles meant for some fast downhills. Actually most of the descent came after mile 20. We entered Interstate 8 and made a screaming descent for 10 miles! I kept applying my brakes to keep it down to under 25 mph. The scenery was stupendous but I didn't spend much time looking at it because I kept my eye on the road surface to be sure I avoided debris.
Bubba and his crew actually went out in the early morning to make sure there was no major debris so the shoulders were remarkably clear. The only place I encountered a hazard was near a truck runaway emergency stop and some of the gravel spilled out on the shoulder, so there must have been a truck that had to use it today. I was able to slow up dramatically and dodge the stones. Love those new disc brakes!
No pictures, sorry. I wasn't about to stop for a photo. This was one time I would have loved a GoPro (helmet mounted camera).
After we descended we were suddenly in the desert and much warmer. Sand, sand and more sand. It was in the high 80's and the sun was intense. No shade breaks behind canyon walls today. The SAG stops were very welcome with the canopy, snacks and cold drinks.
Early in the day there was some climbing. My legs felt like mush after the last two days. But it didn't last long and at mile 10 we saw the border fence for the first time.

The fence is behind us.
What isn't in the picture is the number of jugs of water that were behind every bush. One of our riders actually grew up in Calexico and said that civic groups and churches leave water for people who are attempting to cross the border because they used to find them dying of dehydration.

This is right at the end of the 10 mile descent. 
Ocatillo in bloom.
Bubba arranged for a geology professor to come and speak to us within the next few days. I'll be interested to know how this landscape developed.
This was at our third SAG stop. It looks like a moonscape. Lots of ORV'S come here as the area is a big trail system. Just as glad to not encounter them as they would kick up a lot of dust.
Our home for the night. We are staying at a 7th Day Adventist school which is across the street from the border fence. Many of the students come from Mexicalli, Mexico. Some are American citizens, some come over on vIsas. Calexico is a town of about 36,000. Mexicalli is a city of about 6 million.
The 11th graders cooked dinner (and tomorrow, breakfast) for us. The money they earn goes towards a trip to Greece next year.
The totes in the middle are piles of dirty laundry sorted by color and type. Bubba's staff will do laundry for us tomorrow.

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