|Distance||76.48 kms||47.22 miles|
|Climbed||1,055 meters||3,461 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||5.43||-|
|Avg speed||8.7 kph||-|
|Distance||24,285.47 kms||15,090.00 miles|
|Climbed||257,238 meters||843,957 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||1,731.32||-|
Friday, March 28th, 2014
A simple breakfast of peanut butter tacos and I’m off to fight the wind. It’s a flat ride into a town called Mecca, along the way the desert has been turned into huge plantations of lemons, grapes, palm trees, and a bunch of other stuff. In Mecca I find that the library is closed but their WiFi is on and unprotected. The speed is ridiculously fast, it sucks up 5meg photos like they were nothing. I had to come to Mecca, CA to get the fastest internet of the trip! I only have limited battery life so I rush through what I have to do then go to a taquería for a breakfast burrito and some free charging of my electronics. I buy a couple of days’ worth of food at the local supermarket then head up Box Canyon Road towards Joshua Tree Park. I’ve made a 65 degree turn towards the east but the wind is still in my face! Sometimes I think it’s out to get me… This canyon road is beautiful, a pretty much uninterrupted low-grade climb through cool rock formations until the road crosses I10. Shortly thereafter I enter Joshua Tree Park on a steep incline. I’m tired from the wind and climbing so I decide to head for Cottonwood Springs campground. The visitor center is closed, they shut at 4pm, so I escape the park fee for now.
At the campground the host tells me that all the spots are full in all of the campgrounds in the park, but she offers to let me pitch my tent on her site behind her RV. It’s free and it would be too demoralizing to go back down out of the park into BLM land so I gratefully accept. I’m sharing my picnic table with the “swap” items… I make a dinner of burritos and am wondering what to do next since it’s early when a guy stops by to ask me about my trip. He invites me over to his campsite where he and two friends of his from L.A, all in their early to mid-40's, are having a fire and cooking hotdogs. I have 2 dogs, some roasted peppers, plus 4 toasted marshmallows to top off my burritos.
We spend the evening talking about travel and life around the campfire. One of the guys doesn't last long because he was well drunk before I even got there, apparently he started working on his buzz at breakfast. Another quit his job last winter and just finished training to start a new career, and the last one hates his job but has a wife and kids so he is hanging in there with it. Three strategies for middle-age: drink it away, make a change, or hang tough. Four strategies if you count me who left everything and went on a long journey. It's good to socialize for a while. It's going to be an earplug night with all the activity going on in this campground.