This morning then, I left to finally go eastwards. Through the Anza-Borrego Desert to the Salton Sea. At first it was green hills and nice curves. Still a bit chilly and cloudy. The area reminded me a bit of Montana. I stopped for a coffee and a snack in Julian, a nice little Western town. And then eventually, I was in the desert. No more or very few and tiny clouds and it got hotter by the minute. And the view. A long stretch of road ahead, all the way to the horizon, mountains left and right,
That's what I was thinking of when I thought of this trip. Heat, highways, nothing between me and the horizon. Except a lot of miles. I stopped on the side of the road to shed off some layers and open a few vents. Eventually I arrived at Calipatria, a small town by the Salton Sea. I guess this used to be a resort, once there was still more water. So I unpacked, rested a bit and two hours before sunset I rode to Bombay Beach, 25 miles up the lake, to get some dinner and watch the sunset afterwards.
I ended up at an interesting place, the Ski Inn. Seeing the sign, that included a pair of waterskis, and looking at the smooth surface of that huge lake, made me want to wakeboard in the setting sun. But well, I guess the lake is not exactly in shape for water sports right now. But I truly hope that I will have the opportunity to go at least once while I'm on the road.
And I walked into this old place that must have been around for centuries. If only it could talk. Well, but it kind of did talk. All over the walls, on the ceiling and plastered over shelves and lamps and fans were $1 bills. Each one of them had one or more name, some text or drawing or painting on them. Some were really beautiful and elaborate. Not sure how many but there must have been hundreds or even thousands. The bartender told me that many people kept coming back to visit their "Bargeld" and add new ones. And after having spent a couple of hours there (eating liver and drinking Bud Light ;-)), talking to some regulars and the bartender, I can understand why they come back.
Granted, my story and the dented badass bike parked outside makes it easy for people to approach me and talk to me. But there is something about that place that makes you feel welcome immediately, whether you come every day or for the first time. And it was kind of hard to leave. It has certainly set a high bar for any other bar on this trip. And of course, the sunset was beautiful.
Not as beautiful as I hoped it would be was the ride back. What was I thinking? There was water close by and fields everywhere. I found myself in my first bug shower. I could see tons of them in my headlight, like rain drops. And I felt them hit me everywhere and tried to keep at least a part of my visor clear to be able to see where I was going. Well, it was straight on, mostly and I just hoped that all the bunny rabbits and squirrels I had seen earlier were asleep or hiding from the mosquitos and not going to cross the road right in front of me. They didn't. Only when I turned into my hotel's parking lot, did I see two little bunnies running away from me and was glad they'd stayed safely at home.