I’ve never enjoyed a trip to the desert as much as the three days in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps it was the biking that slowed us down, but by the time we’d reached the refuge, we had already passed through three other distinct ecosystems and had started seeing.
Chances are if you are eating lettuce in January, it comes for the pesticide-laden land of the Imperial Valley. A hotbed of immigration trouble, poverty-ridden, and with one of the highest rates of endangered and threatened-species in the country, it’s not a place that ranks high on a tourist’s must-see list of America.
State Road 2 runs north-south for 52 miles following an old stage route. It’s marked as the Southern Emigrant Trail of 1849 which was a clever marketing scheme of some of the local Chamber of Commerce men.
At exactly half-way, the geothermal springs of Agua Caliente lie in a fissure along the edge of the mountains beckoning to the weary cyclist to stop for a soak.
With my new olive-based shaving cream, milky face cleanser and some a shampoo that came with a shower cap which reads “Vixen Hot Mama Bella Donna Goddess Botticelli Muse” and would make an excellent saddle cover, I am off for a seven day ride and nearly two week trip across the blasted deserts of Southern California.