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Day 2: Riverside, CA to Palm Springs, CA

57 miles - Moreno Valley, Jack Rabbit Trail, Beaumont and Palm Springs - February 21, 2011

The Second Cycling Day In California

Brian and I are "purists" when it comes to long distance bike tours. We start the next day's ride at the very spot of the previous day. Starting a mile or two up the road with the help of a car is out of the question. That's cheating! Tara, Brian's wife, drove us back to Riverside, to the parking lot of Target on Arlington Avenue.

Special thanks to Brian for helping me install my metal rack and trunk box. It can be somewhat tricky and it was good to have him help. Also notice the saddlebags on each side of my back wheel. Everything I carried with me were either in my pockets or in those compartments!

This is a nice shot of Brian and I, isn't it? Red, with black and white highlights are indeed my cycling colors. One peculiar fact: My colors should not be construed to mean that I support the Boston Cry Sox. In fact, I am a Yankees fan. Brian, on the other hand, grew up in Massachusetts and backs the Sox. Yikes! :p)

Click any image to view it at a larger size.
California Scenery
From Arlington Avenue, a significant ascent awaited us. We climbed a few miles, then turned right on Alessandro Boulevard which was even steeper. The climbing kicked my butt, but somehow I hung in there. Brian rode way ahead of me and I stopped many times for short breaks. At one stop, I turned back to photograph the view of the towering San Bernadino Mountains.
Moreno Valley, CA Upon entering Edgemont, the topography gods had mercy on us. We enjoyed a slight descent as we biked on Alessandro Boulevard through Edgemont and Moreno Valley.
Palm Trees Ahhhh what beautiful palm trees! :)
At an intersection, Brian pointed out that many traffic lights in southern California have sensors that also take into account when a bicycle is present. All a cyclist needs to do is enter one of the circles to be acknowledged. Pretty cool!

I hate to say it, but the one traffic light in my town of Buena Vista, Colorado does not have this sensor. I've been "dissed" by the light a few times when no car was beside me.

Easter Market

Biking Brian

We stopped at a convenience store on the east side of Moreno Valley. Easter Market seemed like an odd name for the store, but the workers were friendly.

This was my first opportunity to see some of the sinister eating habits of Brian. It was 10:15 a.m., and the man bought a Three Musketeers bar and an A&W root beer. The funny thing is, I'm generally known for eating wacky and unhealthy food, and in fact, I am the creator of the #NoFoodMorals hash tag on Twitter. But on this trip, I was so concerned about my readiness that I was eating relatively healthy stuff in the morning: things like crackers and bananas, and Powerade for fluid.

Ah Brian, you had me beat in the no food morals department as we biked across California! :o)

California Scenic Road Alessandro Boulevard eventually left town and traveled toward Gilman Springs Road in a grassy and open area. Nice scenery!

Looking at the landscape, we could see mountains all around us. Ahead on our route were small mountains as seen in the photo. We knew our route would do some solid climbing somewhere out there to reach Beaumont.

Jack Rabbit Trail

I don't know much about the Jack Rabbit Trail, other than it was a road for cars a long time ago. Our route climbed over a pass via this road.

Jack Rabbit Trail
Brian was doing something with his smart phone and so I went ahead of him. I told him I was confident he would catch up with me anyway. Eventually he did, but I was impressed with how well my body handled this steep climb. (Adjacent photos taken by Brian)

For a mountain bike, I would certainly recommend the Jack Rabbit Trail. For much of the way, I would describe this trail as an abandoned road with rough pavement and a few dirt road spots. A lot of gravel and rock particles from the crumbling and decaying pavement make this feel more like a good mountain bike trail.

Now Brian and I certainly made it in our road bikes without any difficulty, but I would say this road isn't for the "faint of heart." Are you a road biker who tends to be nervous about getting flats? If so, I would avoid this route. Truly, all the bumps and rocks on the road make this more suitable for a fat-tired mountain bike. That's my humble opinion.

Jack Rabbit Trail, CA

Jack Rabbit Trail, CA

The Jack Rabbit Trail climbs and climbs. It is certainly pretty with views of mountains. The Coloradan in me has a lot of respect for this spot! :) Jack Rabbit Trail
Nice mountain scenery behind Brian. Jack Rabbit Trail
A section where the road has washed out. Jack Rabbit Trail
We cycled for five to six miles. It was all uphill.

"This has got to end soon!" I grumbled.

Jack Rabbit Trail California
Finally, we reached the pass. A short distance on the other side, we were rewarded with this stunning view of the San Bernadino Mountain Range. California Mountain Scenery

California Mountains
From the top of the Jack Rabbit Trail, it was downhill all the way to Palm Springs. A short and steep descent led us onto Highway 60 in Beaumont, California. Ahhhh look at that beautiful mountain view out there!

Diet Advertisement

Steve Garufi Cyclist

I thought this billboard was funny with the man and his massive belly. During the winter, I had become as heavy as I've ever been in my life, weighing 215 pounds. Now it's true that I have a tall and skinny build, but the weight I had gained was concerning. In fact, you can see my round pouch of a stomach in the adjacent photo. Good grief!

I did look forward to losing weight on this trip. No question doing something crazy like this would get me in top shape and shed the extra pounds! If you continue reading this day-to-day journal, I think you'll notice my stomach flattening and my legs becoming bulky. :)

Banning, California

Cycling through a main road in Banning.

Interstate 10 California
For a couple of short distances, we cycled on Interstate 10. However, tomorrow would be the start of three days of lengthy riding on Interstate 10.

San Jacinto Mountains

Gorgeous mountain views of the San Jacinto Range to our right as we biked east.

Frontage Road
For 10-12 miles, Brian and I cruised nicely on this empty frontage road beside Interstate 10.

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Then we reached the edge of Palm Springs.

Look at how large Mt. San Jacinto Peak (elevation 10,834 feet) looks from this vantage point!

California Palm Trees
We biked for 5-7 miles on a long and barren desert road on the west end of Palm Springs (Highway 111) before reaching the actual city with homes.

I've always been intrigued by this area consisting of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio and other neighboring towns. If this metropolitan region were by itself, it would be considered a major city, but because it's so close to Los Angeles, it still feels part of the massive Los Angeles greater area. And I say this even with 107 miles under our belt.

Oh and yes, Palm Springs really has many palm trees. :)

Palm Springs, CA
More beautiful palm trees on the main drag.

Mexican Food

Mexican Food

We ended our ride at a Motel 6 on South Palm Canyon Drive. The rate was reasonable and was even more affordable with us splitting the cost of the room.

We showered, settled in and I sat in their hot tub for awhile. Eventually we hit the town and dined at Las Casuelas Terraza, an excellent Mexican restaurant on the main avenue. I ordered a tamale, burrito and taco and Brian ate a delicious slab of chicken. Ahhhh our taste buds were in heaven!

There's something about eating large amounts of food and knowing that you earned it! Today Brian and I biked 57 miles. I suppose that might not impress some bicyclists, but considering the initial climb out of Riverside, the tough workout on the Jack Rabbit Trail and all the extra weight we carried on our bikes, we both felt good about our effort.

ADDENDUM: I invite you to read my book about my first trip in 2008.

Palm Trees

More palm trees directly across from the Motel 6. :)

P.S. Can you tell how much I adore palm trees? Ahhh. :)

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