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The last thing I expected to worry about so early in this tour was heat but the forecast called for 88 degrees today. I put on lots of sunscreen and took off around 8:30 with the GPS plotting a 42 mile route to Palm Springs. My first stop was 10 miles along at Beaumont. The route felt like it was a gentle 1-2% uphill most of the way. Beaumont is a newly developed town with big wide empty streets and lots of homes for sale. This town appeared to be a casualty of the financial collapse but I loved the freshly paved roads and bike lanes everywhere. The developments looked to be well cared for. I pulled into Stater Bros grocery to use the bathroom and get some fruit. Suddenly the GPS recalculated to a 84 mile route. What? I decided to break the route up into smaller chunks and had it find a route to Cabazon which was only 11 miles further on. I made my way out of town and on to Banning which is an old town that caters to Hwy 10 traffic with lots of fast food restaurants. Then the GPS did another weird thing. It insisted on routing me through the Morongo Indian reservation. I rode up a big hill to the gated entrance and was promptly refused admittance. The reservation guard was less than helpful and left me riding away feeling like I couldn't make it to Palm Springs from here. Back down the hill I asked someone if I could ride on Hwy 10. No problem. Highways are loud but usually have a very large shoulder. I rarely feel unsafe on a highway. If there is a lot of traffic I'll get off at the ramps instead of risking crossing the lane. I did this today only to find a sign at the on ramp prohibiting bicycles. There was a guy selling stuff and he told me I could take another frontage road into Cabazon. Easy. This road was, as my aunt would say, 'lousy' with outlets and discount shopping. Any store you could think of had an outlet at this mall. It was huge. A little further I found what I was looking for. The dinosaurs. Someone following my blog had said to stop at the giant concrete dinosaurs on the south side of town. Well, the dinosaurs were enormous. I had lunch at a picnic table underneath the biggest one and later went inside the belly of the beast to check out the gift shop. The stairs up to the store were in the tail. I guess these dinosaurs were used in a Pee Wee Herman movie as well. There were electrical outlets all over and I plugged in while eating lunch.
From here I wasn't really sure how to get into Palm Springs. I had another 17 miles to go and consulted googlemaps. The Hwy 10 frontage road I was on, Seminole Rd, appeared to continue on and I could see a way into town. There was a fantastic 2% downhill for a few miles with views of a thousand wind turbines. Then the road ended. There was a metal gate blocking a dirt road that went through the Morongo Indian Reservation. There were cones and yellow tape blocking the way as well as a couple of big, threatening signs prohibiting entry. I noticed that Myrtle could fit right under the gate. It was either go 2 miles on this dirt road or turn around, climb a pass, cross the freeway and hope the road on the other side was paved. I was up for an adventure and went for it rolling under the gate. Here I am, an old lady riding a tricycle - what would the Indians do to me? I started riding and everything went well for over a mile until I hit a sandy patch. I made the mistake of trying to motor through the sand when the rear chain snapped. O boy - I've never had a chain break before and had no idea how to fix it. I looked around and there was nothing but desert. Then I picked the chain off the ground, put it in a bag and started pushing Myrtle. I looked at the GPS and gratefully saw it was only a 1/2 mile to pavement. Lucky for me the road went slightly downhill too. I was on my way to Palm Springs today to visit with friends and gave them a call to see about a ride in. No problem - they were around and available. They also have a van that is plenty big enough for Myrtle. I gave Joan directions for the 12 mile drive and continued pushing. I got very lucky at the other end of the dirt road when the gate was just barely tall enough for Myrtle to fit under. With the heat I was getting really tired but totally relieved to be back on pavement and off the reservation.
Then I had some more luck when the road to the freeway continued downhill and I could roll over a mile and almost all the way to the on ramp. Joan and I arrived there at the same time. Boy was she a welcome sight. We hugged and quickly got Myrtle and all my gear loaded up. What a godsend these friends are and it was fantastic to see them again. It was only another 12 miles to their place and not much longer that I was in the pool cooling off. Palm Springs in January - what a life!
I'll be here for another 6 days visiting with girlfriends who are flying in from Santa Fe and Chicago for vacation time in the California desert sun. Woohoo!
Welcome to Palm Springs!
Calimesa to Palm Springs
Myrtle with the Dinosaur giftshop
After pushing Myrtle 1/2 mile off the reservation
Lots of wind turbines