Day Four: 

Ocotillo to Vallecitos  

 Wednesday, April 9, 2003: 32 miles






Morning at Ocotillo


The unseasonably fine weather at Ocotillo continued the next morning where a fine sunrise greeted early risers.



Some spent the night in the garage, some in tents in the bush, and some in tents in the yard to the right of the bikes.


After a quick ride down to the Community Center for breakfast, it was back to the RV camp and final preparations for the day.
And then the morning ritual of the mass start of the peloton.


How did all these kids get into the Adult RV Park?

Ocotillo to the County Line



Down the dirt road from the RV Park back towards the booming metropolis of Ocotillo, we cut left (north) to catch S2 as it heads out of town.
If this is blacktop and not dirt, it must be S2 heading Northwest up the valley out of Ocotillo.


Ocotillo Community Park.  
Be glad you live in San Diego.



Three and a quarter days after beginning, we finally make San Diego County.  This is our morning snack stop.
"This is the desert.  There's nothing out here. Nothing."  Tony takes a picture of Nothing.


Keith and Brad were here.
Not only is this the county line, but it is also the beginning of Anza Borrego State Park, and some spectacular scenery lies ahead....

Anzo Borrego Badlands



Brad looks at the photographer on his left and misses the rugged beauty of the Badlands on his right.
Kevin just concentrates on what's ahead: this is downhill and you can pick up a lot of speed.


The downhill continues, gently at first...
...before the big sweeping S turn and serious altitude loss.  Alumni are posted along the route to urge riders to keep their speed down.



Here Inessa starts down the second half of the S curve, were it drops precipitously.


Casey makes his way down.

Somebody reaches the bottom of the S curves.

Another shot with the zoom off (can you spot the biker?) shows just how big these curves are.

Lunch at Agua Caliente



After the big drop the ride is a mundane affair, grinding out miles of valley until reaching Agua Caliente.  It's lunch and shower time.
Some took showers the first night at Gold Rock Ranch.  Many took a hose shower the second evening at Magnolia School.  A few pampered souls got a hotel last night in Ocotillo and bathed.  But for the true 5th grader, this was the first opportunity to shower since Sunday morning.


Tom of Arabia works the grill with help from Cinematographer Steven.
Shade is a precious commodity.


With a short ride from Agua to our camp site for the night, lunch lasted several hours.  One of the best (i.e. coolest, shadiest) places to relax was at the general store near the park's entrance.
Fueling up for the afternoon's ride.


After the novelty of the hot springs wore off, the general store, with its ready supply of ice cream and shade, was the place to kick back and relax.
All too soon, however, it was time to saddle up again and leave Agua Caliente.


With the photographer's bike down in the background, here's Lauren merging back on to the Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, otherwise known as S2.
With the pleasant shade of the general store to the left, riders leave behind Agua Caliente to continue Northwest to...

Vallecito Stage Station



...the more primitive (i.e. no general store) Vallecito County Park.
Inessa and her mom arrive.


Amanda arrives, but where has she left her mother?
Finally Mr. Bueker arrives, in his official capacity as "Sweeper," last.


We were met and fed for the final time by the Imperial Valley 4-H.
The meal they fed us (out in the open with the shadows growing long as the sun set in the west) was the best, most pleasant meal yet.  A short lived honor that would be wrested away the next morning...


That night we had a wonderful campfire with the lone seasonal occupant of the campsite, the Parks and Recreation ranger.





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