The last few days, Anne and I have been busting our butts, hustlin’ our way to Palm Desert, which is where we rested our heads last night. Here’s some recap…
The eve before our first day, we got haircuts. I got my head buzzed for the first time (#5!) by a lovely, vivacious woman who called me sweetheart and encouraged my future modeling career. She said, “When you are in magazines, remember me!” Getting my head buzzed was interesting–it was like my head was a lawn that was being aggressively mowed.
The morning we left, Ryan took some lovely send-off photos as we rode into the hills of San Diego county. Climbed and climbed and climbed! We hit the quaint town of Ramona in the early afternoon, ate pastries, and had coffee. But by 6 pm we were wiped! And in RANCH COUNTRY. Where every piece of land is parceled off by fences and owned. Anne rode ahead to a “grove of trees” while I sat on the side of the road resting and rehydrating.
15 minutes went by and Anne hadn’t showed up.
I call. I text. I call again. I ride my bike up the hill and then realize that the uphill does end, and it dips into a few miles of downhill. “Did Anne just bike down this whole thing??” I didn’t want to ride down, just in case she had met a rancher who would let us camp in their yard. So I call again and then flag down a car, explain the situation, and ask them to keep an eye out for Anne and tell her to call me. Then I check my phone, realize that she did call, and finally get in touch with her. She had apparently found a firehouse with friendly Calfire-fighters who were letting us camp on their meadow! Perfect situation.
So I rode down the hill, found some camels and Anne. After I freaked out with anxiety and confusion about why she hadn’t been in touch for half an hour, we made a new rule: No separating after 5:30 pm, when it’s nearing night fall. We then pitched our tent, ate dinner, and went to bed at 8 pm.
Our second day, we climbed and climbed and climbed some more! Into the mountains of Julian, a pie-loving town with apple orchards and vineyards. We explored our apple pie options and then devoured three slices of pie and a donut between the two of us (no joke).
After Julian, we descended about 20 miles into the desert of Anza-Borrega State Park. It was beautiful, vast, desert with lots of life and mountains in the distance. We got off the main road and did a few miles uphill across a mountain pass, and then continued to descend into Borrega Springs. A local explained that a former navy officer bought off huge stretches of land in this town and created giant sculptures of elephants, horses playing, dinosaurs dying and carrying their young, and sea serpents. We found ourselves a dinosaur and pitched our tent behind it to block the wind.
In the morning, we rode a quick 30 miles to the town of Salton City. With a population of 3000-ish, the city sits on the Salton Sea–a toxic lake created by human stupidity in the early 1900’s. When it was accidentally formed, it became an artificial freshwater lake. Real estate developers bought off huge swaths, created spas, sold plots to the rich and famous, and created resorts alongside its shores. Twenty years later, the Salton Sea started to dry up and become saturated with toxic agricultural runoff, making the lake into a body of water that is now saltier than the ocean. Lots of people left so there is now infrastructure for cities alongside the sea shores, with no one living there. It has been said that when the sea does totally dry up, the toxic dust will spray across all of southern California and poison everyone. Something to look forward to!
We continued to push ourselves to Palm Desert, which we reached last night. Today we are resting here with Anne’s old friend, and my new friend, Zach, in his home. We will be attempting some desert adventures on this glorious day!