At Borrego Springs: Montezuma Valley - Looking Back With 2020 Vision, Part I - CycleBlaze

January 7, 2020

At Borrego Springs: Montezuma Valley

We leave for Death Valley in about an hour.  In a moment of wisdom or weakness (you be the judge), I decided to get a good night’s sleep before the long seven hour drive ahead rather than put the time into today’s post.  Sorry.  At least I got the photos uploaded, and Rachael completed her video.

And, this may be all you get for awhile.  We’ll be in Death Valley for the next five nights, and if there is any WiFi at all I imagine it’s deathly slow.  I’m expecting we’ll wear ourselves out on the roads during the day and spend our evenings taking notes and then reading a good book or two, unable to broadcast our little news or find out if we’re in World War III yet.

So, I suggest you look elsewhere for your entertainment for a few days.  Maybe watch a good oldie.  Maybe Doctor Strangelove.

Heading north from Borrego Springs. Our plan for the day is to climb Montezuma Pass Road, but first we’re going serpent hunting.
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The north end of the basin is the only spot where any significant agriculture occurs. It’s surprising to see orange groves in the heart of this desert.
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Not a serpent, but an encouraging sign. Bill Shaneyfelt has been after me to find some desert reptiles for him to identify. What do you think, Bill? Giant desert tortoise?
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice! Not sure they are natives though... :-)
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7 months ago
Aah, now here’s a snake. Not dead or alive, so I can’t update either of those tallies, but I can claim the lead on the bronzed snake count. Take that, Bruce!
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Bill ShaneyfeltFamous sculptures.

https://www.desertusa.com/borrego/bs-art.html
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7 months ago
Jen GrumbyI wonder what it would be like to come across this sculpture riding in extreme heat, maybe a little dehydrated and just a bit delirious ...
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7 months ago
Bruce LellmanIf I had been counting these things I'd be well over a thousand. They are all over Thailand. Nagas is what they are. Every temple has many. Take that, Scott!
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7 months ago
Ron SuchanekYou're close enough to scratch his belly! (That's the best way to determine whether a snake is friendly or not.)
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6 months ago
A nice bike stand to find in the middle of the desert. They should put one of these in front of my favorite coffee shops. Looks like I’d need to carry about a 20 foot cable with me to lock up the bike with though.
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On Montezuma Valley Road, the spectacular entryway to Borrego Springs from the west that we saw driving in. We’re lucky - it’s totally calm this morning.
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That’s our road, that scar angling upward across the slope.
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It’s a steady climb, and steadily fascinating as it twists, turns, cuts through gaps. The view is ever changing and ever more spectacular as we climb.
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Ocotillo is everywhere, but we’re starting to see a few red spiked barrel cacti too.
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About two thousand feet above the floor of the basin, the view is vast. You can see the Salton Sea way off to the east.
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About three miles from the summit, I see Rachael coming back at me. I’ve been keeping a pretty good pace, so I’m surprised she’s that far ahead. She turned around early though, when the road started feeling too narrow and unsafe. Time for lunch!
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While we’re eating, a car pulls off onto the shoulder with us. The driver tells Rachael that we should look up the slopes above us at the big horned sheep grazing nearby, if we’re interested. We are.
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Jen GrumbyThat collar looks a little small and uncomfortable.
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7 months ago
Ron SuchanekHave you tried bighorn sheep bacon with delicious canned chicken in a rice-and-lentil stew? If you do, let me know how it is.
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6 months ago
An awesome seven mile descent, with this breathtaking view in your face the whole way. It would be even more fun if my rear brake wasn’t failing again. We’d better stop in at a bike shop on our way to Death Valley. If I don’t fly over the edge on the way down here, that is.
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Jen GrumbyI think Mo should give you a refund.
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7 months ago
My favorite shot of the day. Look at all those angles!
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Where’s Rachael? I know, too easy. She should be better camouflaged, like that roadrunner back on the San Luis Rey River Trail.
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Jen GrumbyCenter frame!

And I think there might be a couple snakes in there, too.
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7 months ago
Nearing the bottom. Town will come into view just around the corner.
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Well, maybe I spoke too soon. There are still a few corners left before the town comes into view. And maybe THIS one is really my favorite photo of the day. Such colorful country.
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Video sound track: Gravity, by Jesse Cook

Pit stop, before the final leg of the ride. A good opportunity to take a photo of Rachael’s bike for a change, against the lovely grey bole of this palm tree.
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We cut the ascent of Montezuma Valley Road short, so we’ve still got time and legs for a bit more. We’re off to climb up Yaqui Pass Road, the southern approach to town. On the way, we pass through this fine ocotillo forest. Some of these plants are over twenty feet high, I’d say.
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Also, we’re seeing a lot of cholla in here. I know what this variety is of course, but there’s not time to look it up and confirm my thoughts.
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Bill ShaneyfeltCylindropuntia bigelovii

Just be careful not to cuddle even though it looks soft!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylindropuntia_bigelovii
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltAww. Just a big teddy bear!
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7 months ago
Borrego Springs is the strangest place, with these bronze creatures standing our in the middle of the desert. You see a bit of everything - Elephants, dinosaurs, dueling stallions.
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Yaqui Pass is less dramatic than Montezuma Valley and an easier climb. Fantastic enough though. We stop about a half mile shy of the summit as we run out of time, and coast back down for about six miles.
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In its own way, it’s as thrilling a descent as the one down Montezuma Valley, watching the mountains loom larger, watching the sliver of the Salton Sea disappear behind a ridge as you drop below it. In that gap to the northwest we can see the top of some snowy peak, maybe San Gorgonio Mountain.
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Ride stats today: 49 miles, 4,100’; for the tour: 763 miles, 35,200’

Today's ride: 49 miles (79 km)
Total: 763 miles (1,228 km)

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Scott AndersonMo has definitely been unfriended. More to come.
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7 months ago