Mar 5, 2012

Distance today = 56.42 km; Total distance = 3009.69 km; Location = Salton Sea – 33 18.267′ N, 115 58.968′ W; Start time = 0940, Finish time = 1732


The day got off to a bit of a bad start when I slept in. Quickly getting ready, I raced up to the California Highway Patrol office (and wouldn't you know it, the CHiPs have a picture of Peter Rafferty on their insignia), only to find out that I would not be allowed to run on the freeway across the desert to the Arizona border.

I had to immediately revert to Plan B. This meant taking an extra two days and running around the Salton Sea – no big deal in the end. I accepted my fate and got on the road.

This had an unexpected advantage, as the Salton Sea is below sea level. It's a large hyper-saline lake, similar to the Dead Sea, although it actually reminded me of Lake George near Canberra. In fact, my GPS told me my low point for the day was -64 metres. After reaching a new highest altitude in the US two days ago, I now found myself at a lifetime lowest altitude – never before have I stooped so low. I also passed the 3000 km mark for the journey late in the day.

But the real highlight of the day was what I saw – I really and truly saw both a coyote and a roadrunner. The roadrunner was running down a dirt road (they really do run along roads), but the coyote was squashed on the highway – no doubt he'd been hit by an Acme truck while hatching some nifty plan to catch the roadrunner. I also saw lots of jackrabbits, one of which must surely have been called Bugs.

Tomorrow I have another big day, to the town of Brawley. Who knows what I might see – a little black duck with a bad attitude, a cute pig wearing a vest but no pants, or a bald guy with a speech impediment, hunting “wabbits”.

Does it sounds like the desert has got to me?