BS from Borrego



Borrego Springs sits by itself in the desert.  You must be on your way there or you would never know of it.  Off the beaten path is a phrase the Chamber of Commerce would be smart to use to describe their little town.  It sits alone by itself and that is it’s charm, really.  That and he has no street lights and so the stars are spectacular.

The biggest employer in BS must be the state of California because there exists here a state park.

The reason I write about it, dear reader, is that this is where we have been for the past week.  And the reason we are here is because our friends, Al and Charlie (Charlie is a she), live here.  And the reason they live here is because this is a great place to winter.  Spring and fall are okay too.  And they love riding their bicycles here.  But don’t be here in the summer.  Too darn hot.  It is desert.  Low desert and it gets hotter than a dickens.

But I digress.  Al and Charlie weren’t here because Al’s dad died and they had to go to Tucson before we got to see them.  However, our other friends, Jake and K.C. (K.C. is a she) were here with their 5th wheel to ride their bikes.  And many other friends of theirs were her riding their bikes too.  Not us.  We are too wimpy.  Way too wimpy.

We met the most interesting people.  Practically super-human.  There was Elizabeth.  She and her daughters rode their bikes from Chicago to Marin, CA.  She and her husband rode their bikes from Canada to Mexico following the Pacific ridge trail.  See a mountain, climb a mountain.  No problemo.

I interject some spanish because while they were all out riding, I was studying spanish on Rosetta Stone.  Bicicleta is spanish for bicycle.  FYI.

But I digress.

I also finished a book.  The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window.  And continued the book about Roger Ailes, the Republican operative who runs Fox (Faux) News.    All this reading while the bicyclists rode their bikes 40, 50, 80 miles a day.  Yes, you read that right.  They ride all over the place for hours on end.  And most of the rides involve big mountains.  BS is surrounded on three sides by mountains.  One of their rides involved going from almost sea level (BS) to 4000 feet in the space of 28 miles.  Now that is a climb.  Hell, I couldn’t even walk it.  And, the riders, none of them are spring chickens.  Most are in their 60s, I’d hazard a guess.

Now the thing is, these people need to have their heads examined.  Because what we learned anew is that bicycling is dangerous.  Jonathan’s brother got in an altercation with a truck and he was in rehab in Escondido dealing with a broken pelvis and other horrible things.  Then Marsha who lives here, fell and took a chunk out of her leg and incurred some “road rash”.  Ah, I didn’t just learn some spanish words.  I learned bicycle words.  They have a whole vocabulary that archeologists will find fascinating someday.  Phrases  like “I lost my cleat”, “I broke my clavicle”, “I got road rash”, “the geometrics”, “I need to go to the emergency room”, “he has a big engine”,”carbon”.  Yes, siree.  Our new friend Joe was forced off the road on the climb to 4000 feet to Julian (a cute little town), and ended up in the emergency room in Indio.  Broken ribs.  The only broken ribs I want to see are baby backs.  And lest I forget his wife, Donna, who ran for 1 1/2 hours while we hiked.  Me, I would have said, “Joe, you need me here sitting in the chair to answer your beck on call.”    Nope.  Not Donna.  She had to run.

And we met a fellow that got out of the Vietnam war by being too tall.  He is tall sitting down.  He is so tall he has to have his bicycles custom made.  By a guy whose name sounded like Mario Marshamelio.    And did I mention that all these people look like string beans?  Especially Mr. string bean, Dave!!

But I digress.  Again.

While we were here we played golf and took a hike.  We hiked 3 miles to see an oasis.  A real, live oasis.  The Palm Canyon hike was wonderful.  Had to scramble up one rock, but it was so cool.  Started out at the trail head with sand and rocks.  Half way up a stream appeared, then a water fall and the palm trees.  This is where the borregos (long horned sheep as pictured above) come to get water.  We didn’t see any that day.  But we did see a whole group of them a few years back when down to visit Al and Charlie.  We were so lucky that day.  A herd of them appeared at the top of a mountain and we watched them come down, down, down and they crossed the street and went to the golf course for fresh grass eating.  Here’s some pics.  These borregos are nothing to fool with.  The males cleared the way, and the females ran through as the males stood guard.  Quite a site to behold.  An unbelievable experience.

This is one of the males.



And below you will see the females as they rushed through.




But I digressed…Again

These bicyclists are so full of energy.  Not only do they do their rides.  But they also hike.  So, if biking isn’t planned, hiking is planned.  They must be masochistic.  Oh, I kid the riders.  Because I’m jealous.  I wish I had that much energy.  Don’t you?

Yesterday we took a hike after our breakfast hike with Jake and K.C.  They know another bicyclist couple from British Columbia and they know all about ants.  Would we like to take a little hike with them to learn about ants and things?  Sure!!  So we drove to their second home in BS and we hiked into the desert behind their house.  There we saw all kinds of insects that you don’t even know are there because they are so small.  Daniel had a high powered set of binocs and so did his wife, Helen.  We looked at the tiniest bee I’ve ever seen.  Beetles.  Tiny.  We saw a bee hive in the rocks.  And we watched a grasshopper molt.  We also learned about ants that hang from the top of their colony and do nothing but hold the nectar that their fellow ants collected.  They are called honey pot ants.  Good eating for us people, I suppose.

So, on the way back from our fascinating desert session, I asked Daniel where he was trained?  Essentially, he is self taught.  Just found BS intriguing and started learning about it.  A landscaper by profession, he’s been wintering in BS for years.  He and his wife, Helen, are skinny too.  And they are getting ready to go back to British Columbia.  By train.  They come down by train and somehow get to BS and live all winter by getting around by bicycle.  And they have one car in British Columbia but don’t really drive it.  Their son lives 3 day’s bike ride away.  They were more interesting than the ants, by far.  It is just amazing the people we met in BS.

We also played golf with a fellow that worked 37 years in Alaska.  He retired and moved to San Diego.  He was a hoot.  Loves to fly fish.  And that’s where I think I’ll leave this.  The Alaska guy likes to fly fish and so did too-tall-Dave.  And I think that is the next thing I want to do.  Stand in a stream and try to catch fish.  I won’t have to dodge cars to do it.  May hike though!!

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