David Freeze: Biggest adventure day coming next

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2021

I have decided that California isn’t my favorite state, not even close.

I started out from Pine Valley this morning. I will admit to spending an almost sleepless night. I listened to the weather late and discovered that serious heat was just ahead, much of it from the same system that is gripping the Northwest. I had a plan, sort of, but not good enough to sleep on it.

I had some more climbing to do and hit two peaks above 4,100 feet. I am writing this early because I took a break to do it while cooling off in Seeley, a little farming community. I am going to submit the story and ride at least another 20 miles. I have a room in Brawley tonight and it will take 2 1/2 more hours to get there with water stops, if I can find them. I have to make Brawley because it starts possibly the biggest adventure day of my life tomorrow. I’m keeping it secret until I do it.

Other towns visited today so far were Boulevard, Jacumba Hot Springs, Ocotillo and I am about to hit El Centroi with hopes to sleep in Brawley. Nothing special about any of them to this point. Lots of hay has been harvested near Seeley, which is amazing to me because I haven’t seen anything green all day.

I did see the border wall, one of goals for the trip. It is very substantial and well guarded at least in this area.

I cycled over a live snake racing across the road and thought about picking up the rattlers from a dead rattlesnake.

I met Mary from Tucson and her sister Ruth from Portsmouth, Virginia. Mary had done my same trip years earlier and plans to follow along.

I had my first law enforcement encounter just a short while ago. All cyclists, and I haven’t seen another long distance one yet, were told to exit I-8 and take a frontage road called Ethan Howes Highway. The road has not been paved in years and is in sad shape. After a half mile, I found it blocked with barricades that said “Road Closed.” I turned around and went back onto the interstate to the objections of a convention store owner who said, “They will write you a ticket.”

I had that encounter with a California Highway Patrol officer an hour later and he told me that he was about to take me in. I told him that without the other road passable, I had to be allowed a way to keep going. He told me I was making matters worse and should have called 911. I said, “It wasn’t an emergency, obviously to your state, which doesn’t put a priority on fixing roads.” There is more the story but I’ll save it for later.

Send those prayers for tomorrow. And keep following along, this trip certainly has the makings of something special. The amount of emails and texts has been amazing so far.

Can’t wait to see how this ride develops. Thanks to all the readers!


Topping out at 3,999 feet and celebrating with a pineapple milkshake

I awoke very early on Tuesday morning in El Cajon, California, at the Motel 6. The previous night, the front desk gave out a second key to my room, and of course mine stopped working. We both went to the office at the same time and got it squared away.
I’m still on Eastern time and got up very early, beating the sunrise. Starting at about 300 feet in elevation, Alexa told me that the route was very challenging on the way to about 4,000 feet.
The whole day was about the climbing amid desert scenery. The first significant town was Alpine, almost exactly half way to the top. The initial 2,000 feet went well during cool and mostly cloudy conditions. I saw the first California sun on this trip late morning and steeper roads. A few scenic views, mostly of the California desert, highlighted the morning.
Enough water and supply points kept me in food and snacks. At 3,000 feet, the sign posted nearby as I rode Interstate 8 briefly, I met a man and woman from Yuma, Arizona, who told me I was crazy to do this ride. We talked at a scenic overlook as he and the woman smoked. They did give me a couple waters.
With elbows dripping sweat, I topped out at 3,999 feet at the little village of Guatay just after 1 p.m.  My celebration with the convenience store owner included only an ice cream sandwich.
A short mostly downhill 4-mile ride ended in Pine Valley, my home for the evening. It was another short mileage ride of 31 miles. I did celebrate correctly with a pineapple milkshake here in town.
Tomorrow’s likely route takes me to the Mexican border at Jacumba Hot Springs after some serious up and down climbing in the early morning, then a long downhill into California’s primary agricultural area. I have bigger mileage in mind now for tomorrow.
Traffic was light all day. Gas in Pine Valley is $4.99 per gallon and a 24 pack of water is $8.99. Food is higher but not ridiculously so. Day 3 will have good supply points but they will disappear as the heat rises as I continue east.
I missed Accelerate Therapy and Performance on the sponsor list earlier. Thanks again to Delaine Fowler for her continued contribution.
To the readers, some of the days ahead will be extremely challenging for various reasons. All the messages and your prayers are much appreciated!