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4/10/99 - Day Seven Posting - Blythe, California!!!

Reporting from Blythe, California! Weather is GREAT!

Today was our longest to date for Young At Heart. Many left our motel at approximately 7:00 ... The two "Red Hot Mammas" - Jan and myself (see picture) pulled away at 7:30 a.m. Others didn't leave until 8:00 a.m. But we knew it was going to be a big day, so we wanted to get an early start.

The motel served a very nice continental breakfast (where I also filled my water bottle with fresh orange juice!) ..I enjoyed a half of a bagel and a banana. Others enjoyed croissants, dry cereal, coffee, tea or juice. It was quite nice.

Direction-wise it was an easy day. We never left route 78. However, not far out of Brawley we ran into head winds. We were told that the head winds we encountered yesterday were 20 miles an hour! Most of us today decided we fared about the same today ... maybe not as consistent as yesterday, but we certainly had head winds most of the day today.

The scenery along the way was particularly interesting. The many forms of cactus. The picture I am sending shows a particular desert plant that usually has one red flower at the top of the plant. When a rain comes, the little green leaves seem to come alive and the plant becomes spectacular. Thank God we had no rain, but we did find more than one red flower on most of the bushes we saw. One would need a book on California desert plants to mention all we saw... and such a variety!

We stopped at the Sand Dunes and took a picture. We could see the dunes for miles before we actually came upon them. All day yesterday and the day before, we saw so many trucks and trailers carrying motorcycles and Dune buggies. Not until this morning did it finally dawn on us that most of the people who passed us in their pick-up trucks, cars and various trailers, were going to the Sand Dunes. The area was so large, it was difficult to imagine how many buggies were riding in the sand.... from all the cars, trucks and trailers parked in the area, we could say that there were a LOT of dune buggies there ... we decided that there must have been lots and lots of sand dune buggies. One of the riders told us that at least 3,000 people were there over the Easter Holidays...

The store there charges .50 a person to use the facilities! We did use the facilities and many of us ate a snack here, too. The bikers we met were all interested in our trip and were very friendly.

We did see one young man roll over twice..... we called this fact to the attention of a number sitting around at the "restaurant/store" and they went to his aid. They reported that they were pretty sure he had not injured himself; just got the wind knocked out of him.

In a way that's what happened to us ... got the wind knocked out of us! It did blow! Then, as we left the Sand Dunes, our fearless (one-handed) leader told us that after the Sand Dunes, we would come to something Al fondly called "moguls" because of the quick succession of up and down hills. We were also led to believe that after the moguls, the wind would die down..... We pressed on ... and on.... and on .... the first few were fun.... up and down and up and down. In fact, the downhill coast was enough to propel us up and to the top of the next hill. This went on "for awhile" ... and then the moguls got higher and steeper and they lasted forever and a day!!!! And the momentum for a downhill did not last to the top (or even middle) of the next steep hill!

We passed through a Check Point (boarder guards, I think) where the very nice guards allowed all of us the use of their facilities (there had been very few opportunities to use a service today). We asked the guards how much longer we had to "ride" the moguls. They indicated that they were steep and lasted awhile yet.......

Al really does a GREAT job of explaining the course ... no doubt many "real" riders would truly enjoy all the moguls .... my thought is that had the wind been kinder, we would have enjoyed them more. We did enjoy the challenge they presented, but if truth were told, we were glad to see them end.

We were glad to see Palo Verde ... and experience a lessening of the head winds! Some of our group had gathered outside a local store. We all trouped in and asked the clerk there if we might use the facilities (even though we didn't purchase anything from her). Her response to us was so heartwarming! The two women in that store were so welcoming, that we decided to take a picture and to tell anyone on the Web that Toni and Patty, from Brewers Bait and Tackle 30 & Over Club, know how to treat people right! They wanted a picture of us, and here we are.

Resting before the "Brewers Bait and Tackle 30 & Over Club" are YAH riders Bob W., James, Jan, Sharon, Audrey, me, Beulah, Helen and Al! In addition, they told us about their barbecue which was just about to begin.... most every Young At Heart Rider stayed for barbecue.

Here's a picture of the group and Toni and Patty.

I had pretty much set my heart on completing this day's ride, so I thanked them, and headed out on the last 20 miles of the day's journey.

Several other riders did the same, and after I bathed and washed clothes, I headed over to a nearby restaurant and ordered halibut (no oil), baked potato (no butter or sour cream) and a very large fresh salad. I really licked my platter clean! When I returned, the barbecue fans had just returned and looked pleasantly full!

This evening's email brought me a note from an Internet friend who traveled some of our route when he did a X-country solo several years ago. Thanks, Fred! Among other things he told us where the dogs chased him... I had one chase me tonight.... thank God I carry my whistle! I yelled and whistled and they stopped running!

It was another day of wonders ... the rocks, the outcroppings, the various cacti, the hills, the blue, blue sky..... even the winds..... just made us glad to be alive, and grateful for the opportunity to see America in slow motion!!!!

Love to All!!!


To read about Day Eight click here.
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