This morning I woke up on Ray’s living room floor. I was warm. I was glad to be warm. We said our goodbyes and I got back on the road. It was 37 degrees. I seriously underestimated how cold Southern California would be. No one plays volleyball on the beach and sips mojitos poolside in January. I second guess my preparedness for this weather for the majority of the morning until the weather warms up a bit. I still feel like I’m moving too slower than normal on my bike. I think that’s just because I haven’t had to lug 70+ pounds of equipment the past two months. Hopefully that’s all it is.
Halfway through the ride I thought about getting some electrical tape to make repairs and such. I looked down at the ground soon after. There on the shoulder was a roll of electrical tape. I put it in my bag. I then think about Tina Fey. No luck.
For lunch I stop off at a produce market. I’ve become a sucker for persimmons. Biting into one is like a combination of cinnamon, peaches, and figuring out how to properly masturbate. For 45 cents, I eat like a king.
Further down the road things start to look familiar. It dawns on me that I have taken this route before, except that time it was in a car. Yaris, Ramona, Alex, and myself all visited Joshua tree National Park and the Intergratron. The massive windmills and miles of endless mountains were a dead giveaway. I laugh out loud when I realize it has taken me two days to reach a destination that took us two hours by automobile a month ago. A month ago I was sitting in the backseat of a comfortable car moving 70mph with a girl resting her head on my lap. Now a month later on that same road I’m riding my bicycle, belting out Animal Collective lyrics at the top of my lungs, and trying to figure out if my toes are frozen or just asleep. It’s a tough call surmising which scenario is better.
Eventually I reach Palm Springs with 30 minutes of daylight to spare. My riding time is so much more limited when the sun goes down at 5 instead of 8pm. After scoping out the town I asses that the best sleeping option for me is a Baptist Church parking lot. It looks secluded and there are two trees to set my hammock up in. I opt not to inform the authorities of my plan out of fear that they’ll decline and I’ll have to leave town. I’ll just hope I’m incognito enough not to be spotted.
In the meantime, I am sitting in a Jack in the box typing this blog post. I am reluctant to patronize establishments like this, but the sun went down and they have heat. A Hispanic family behind me is praying for their food. The fact that they are giving thanks for cheeseburgers with virtually zero nutrients seems bizarre to me, but I’m seeking refuge from the cold in a sub-par fast food chain, so who am I to judge. Also, Dr. Dog is playing over the P.A. so that’s a few bonus points. I will hang out in here for as long as possible to avoid prolonged exposure to the unforgiving bitter cold. This is one of those times where I ask aloud to myself and the lady mopping the floor “What am I doing with my life?” She asks me the exact same thing.
Tomorrow leaves me with a difficult predicament. I can Take Interstate 10 for the shortest route to Phoenix, but risk getting kicked off by police and missing scenic views. On the other hand, I can take 111 South to 78 East and meet back up with I 10 in Blythe. That would be a much longer trip (at least 2 extra days) but I’ll pass the Salton Sea and will encounter fewer cars. That route is much more mountainous and as a result the temperature will be much lower. I think I’ll just flip a coin when I reach that fork in the road.
Total Ascent: 2392 ft.