Coyote Canyon - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

February 15, 2021 to February 16, 2021

Coyote Canyon

Yesterday

Another long drive, from Ajo to Borrego Springs.  Not too interesting, no good anecdotes, just a drive.  We arrived about one, too early to check in to our room, so I grabbed an outdoor table for a bite of lunch while Rachael took a hike up Palm Canyon.  I’d like to have gone with her, but it feels too soon to test my foot with a hike.  I’ll wait for tomorrow, when we’re planning to go out with the bikes.

When Rachael returns 10 miles later she raves about what a great hike it was, and especially the fact that she saw seven (!) big horn sheep.  She leafs through the photos on her phone as evidence, making me jealous.  Let’s look at a few.

On the Palm Canyon trail.
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On the Palm Canyon Trail.
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Sheep! I hadn’t been aware before this that there are big horn sheep in the mountains rising above Borrego Springs. The Sheep Count is an annual event here, when folks roam the hills conducting a survey.
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Kathleen ClassenSo well camouflaged. Mother Nature really is amazing.
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1 week ago
Mom and kids, on the Palm Canyon Trail.
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Today

This was meant to be an easy ride, a shortish and unchallenging loop through the heart of the basin looking for dinosaurs, serpents, and other monsters.  I wanted to test out how my foot felt cycling without ever getting too far from the room in case it felt like I’m doing this too soon.  At the end, Rachael expected she’d add on some miles to end up with a respectable ride by her exacting standards.

Some notes on the ride:

  • We’re both surprised anew by how dramatically beautiful this place is.  This is our third time here, and you’d think we’d remember.  It’s great to be back.
  • We’d also forgotten how cycle-friendly Borrego Springs is.  There are plenty of cyclists about, and all of the major roads have an abundant shoulder with signs instructing cars not to park in the bike lane.
  • We found some monsters, as we knew we would.  Metal sculptures by Richard Braceda populate the desert landscape surrounding the town - 130 of them at last counting.  They’re hard to miss, and even if you’re not too observant you can get assistance by tourist maps that identify their location.  Some of the more impressive ones are even marked on Google Maps.
  • The ride really would have been easy if it weren’t for the 20 mph wind today, with gusts to 40.  Depending on direction we were either flying effortlessly down the road or struggling to keep a 6-7 mph pace on a flat profile.  At the end of the loop, Rocky was perfectly satisfied with her 30 miles and didn’t feel the need to pad the account.
  • The toe seems perfectly fine.  It’s still discolored, but less so every day.  I’m ready for more.

At the end of the day we find ourselves at an outdoor table at the Red Ocotillo, enjoying a nice meal while plastered to the leeward side of the building to avoid the wind.  Our enjoyment is enhanced by the appearance of a bunny a few yards from the table.  

Over dinner, we discuss the pros and cons of staying here for ten days and dropping Death Valley from this year’s plans.  Finding more pros than cons, we change our reservations when we get back to the room.  Plenty to do here, and we’ll have no problem filling the days.

Leaving our motel, heading north and into the wind toward Christmas Circle, the navigational center of town.
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Hunting monsters, on Big Horn Road.
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Found a few.
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Bandanas are good for more than just virus protection - they filter out the sand and dust on a windy day.
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Our favorite, the enormous sea serpent.
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The view west on Henderson Canyon Road.
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Northbound toward Coyote Canyon on dead-ended Di Giorgio Road.
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Through the orange groves, Di Giorgio Road.
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The pavement ends just on the other side of Rachael, but a pair of dirt/sand roads continue on across the desert. We experimented with one briefly but quickly decided that the sand was more than we wanted to deal with.
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Patrick O'HaraThat doesn't look like much fun to ride.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraIt might have been OK for awhile, if I didn’t mind riding alone.
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1 week ago
Eastbound and flying with the wind, on Henderson Canyon Road.
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This part of the Anza-Borrego desert is austere - sand, scattered creosote bushes, not much else.
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Slow going, westbound now on Borrego Springs Road. The flags tell the tale.
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Just three miles like this. Three long, slow miles.
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Table bunny.
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Video sound track: The Craftsman, by Eric Tingstad

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Ride stats today: 30 miles, 1,200’; for the tour: 2,760 miles, 104,300’; for the year:  34 riding days, 1,497 miles, 47,300’, and 2 flat tires

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 2,761 miles (4,443 km)

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