After leaving San Elijo we turned East towards Escondido. Riding up Lake Wolhford, I snap a chain and we call in the calvary. We were to stay with Jeanne at her business Two Paws Up, a cageless dog day care. She sends out the doggy van to rescue us from the side of a busy windy road.

Once there, we learn about dog and human behavior (not a whole lot different). It is amazing to watch her work with the dogs as she guides them with a Zen-like calm. I recorded some audio that I’ll have to edit, but her story is pretty fascinating.

After our stay in Valley Center we head towards Palomar and climb up to Lake Henshaw for the night. We didn’t eat enough that day so we’re both in the tent with growling stomachs waiting out one of the longest nights of the year.

We dream of a hot breakfast at the camp restaurant, only to find that they are closed. We stuff ourselves with nuts, tuna, tortillas and beef jerky. Our stomachs disagree with our nutritional choice and feel queasy for most of the next morning. Thankfully, it is mostly a gentle climb from Lake Henshaw to Ranchita. We gain a few thousand feet over several miles, so it is slow going but nothing gut busting. We snack, drink some ginger ale and hot tea from the single store in Ranchita – which also happens to be right next to a strange sasquatch looking sculpture.

After Ranchita, it is a screaming downhill to Borrego Springs. We quickly dump all the elevation we’ve been gaining all day. We hardly pedal for the next 40 minutes, gripping our handlebars and brakes trying not to be distracted by the amazing views of the valley below. We stop a few times to let the rims cool but to also to drink in the vastness of the desert.

It is immense here. After finishing our descent we look up at the mountain we just came down from and don’t envy anyone that has to ride up it. It is several degrees warmer in the desert proper. Laura and I were here several years ago and it was easily 110-115 degrees. Right now, it is a cool 60.

We have left the coast. We have left the forest. We are in a completely different biome now, one that I haven’t spent that much time in so everything is a bit surreal and overwhelming. Space is vast and the earth offers no shadow except for what you bring with you. Today, the forecast is high winds. We stayed in a motel last night to charge some batteries and do some laundry before the next few days of camping.

It really does feel like we are on the next part of our journey and feels so different from the last few months – quieter, more desolate and beautiful in its own strange way.