Date Of Ride: November 15th, 2018
Approximate Hours To Complete: 4.5 Hours (No Stops)
Approximate Miles: 290 Miles
This ride is one of those rides you do when it is absolutely beautiful out and you want some serious wind therapy. Most rides we have done in the past either have us going through beautiful mountain scenery with a curve or two thrown in or just cruising down scenic roads with awesome water views. This one has you just mainly cruising through the desert.
Not to say it’s a bad ride. The day we did it we hadn’t been on the bike in a while and just wanted to get out and ride. This was a perfect way to do it. The way we planned it was we found a body of water and made a ride to circle it.
The body of water was called the Salton Sea. It is located in the Sonoran desert which is the extreme southeast part of California.
A Little History
Between 1905 and 1907 the Colorado River burst through irrigation controls in south Yuma. The water flowed into the Salton Basin for over a year. By the time the water was cut off by a line of levees built by boxcars dumping boulders, the lake was 40 miles long and 13 miles wide.
Over the years as the farming industries grew the water levels were kept up by runoff which contained high quantities of salt. Over the years the salt levels rose tremendously. Sitting in the middle of the desert with little rain, water evaporates quickly. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind the salt. The salt contents sit at such high levels right now sea life is almost non-existent. Click here to see our review on The Salton Sea State Recreation Area.
Now that you have a little history, let’s get back to the ride. We are staying at Sundance RV resort but realize that not everyone will be camping here so we are going to start this ride at the Flying J truck stop on 10800 N Foothills Blvd. It’s just off I-8 and has coffee, gas, and snacks which are all the essentials to start a ride.
When you’re all set to go, head out the exit leading to S. Fortuna Rd. Jump onto I-8 and west towards California. One thing I should mention is that you might want to take a few extra bucks on this ride because if you can’t do the whole trip on one tank of gas, which most bikes can’t, you will be getting fuel in California which is expensive. We saw gas at one station for $4.59!!!
You Are Now Entering California
You will enter California. As you do two things will happen. First, if you do this ride between November and April (daylight savings) the time will change because you are now in a different time zone. The second is that you will have to pass through border patrol. Border patrol was no biggie. Being on a bike we were waved right through. Continue on I-8 and jump off at 118B which is CA-111. You will stay on CA-111 until you reach CA-78. Make a right on CA-78.
A few miles into CA-78 we made our first stop. We found a Circle K gas station in Westmorland. It had been about an hour and fifteen minutes and we desperately needed to stretch. Although we did not need gas yet, we reluctantly got gas there because we did not know when the next gas station would be. It had been all desert to this point. A nice stretch, some fuel, and a couple of snacks later we were on our way again.
We got back on CA-78 for about 15 or 16 miles and made a slight right onto CA-86 N. Follow the signs for Los Angelos/Salton Sea/Indio. About 30 miles from the Circle K we saw a truck stop on the left side and decided another break was due. More snacks and a bathroom call later we were off again.
Back on CA-86 N towards CA-111 we went. Head north about 24 more miles and make a right onto 66th Ave. In about a mile and a half make a right onto CA-111 S. 35 miles on the desert roads of CA-111 will get you to the Salton Sea Rec area. This was another stop for us. It’s $7 to enter but worth it. There were picnic tables on the beach overlooking the sea. We had our lunch and walked around taking advantage of the photo ops.
Check out the short panoramic video shot from the Salton Sea State Recreation Area
There is a gift shop (closed when we were there), restrooms, and camping available. Before we left we rode around the campground and checked it out. There were a few sites with water and electric with a dump station. I guess we spent about an hour to an hour and a half here.
We were starting to lose daylight so it was time to hit the road again. Make a right out of the rec area onto CA-111 S. It’s a straight run down CA-111. Not knowing where the next gas station might be, we decided to stop at SoCo mini-mart in Niland. It was about 30 miles from the rec area.
One thing we have learned quickly about riding in the southwest is to not take gas for granted. Click here to read my blog post about lessons learned on riding in the southwest.
After filling up, stretching and buying a lotto ticket (which by the way we lost…lol), we were on the road again. We were making our final run toward the campground.
Oh, a few minutes after we left the gas station we found two totem pole roadside oddities. If you would like to see these oddities (and others) click here to check them out. The totem poles are listed under California.
There are 134 photos of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area/ View Them Here