Author Topic: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe  (Read 733 times)

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Offline OHRider

Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« on: August 23, 2021, 08:38:56 pm »
Hi all, I'm looking at the Southern Tier Section 1 map and routing the sections in the title.

Clexico to Brawley uses Rt 111 which appears to be a 4 lane highway.  There are bike routes shown just to the west on Dogwood Rd. Any comments on using one versus the other?

The route revisions in Adventure Touring also suggest not using the mapped route out of Brawley but instead detouring up to I10 due to traffic and poor conditions on Rt 78.  The original route seems more desirable.  Comments?

I'm putting the route into RWGPS prior to departing San Diego late October.  I'm going as far as El Paso and my riding friend is doing the entire Southern Tier.  Thanks for any recommendations!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 06:41:13 am »
Clexico to Brawley
Not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I think that the road to the west was horrible back in 2012 when we rode it.  The surface was broken up and terrible.  We regretted choosing that route.  I may not be remembering the right place so someone correct me if I am wrong.  Also it could have been resurfaced by now (or deteriorated more).

Rt78
We rode through there.  Traffic wasn't that bad and it was generally a nice enough ride.  Someone had warned us off of taking that route, but I found it okay and even enjoyed it.  To be fair I have heard a lot of folks ay they thought it was dangerous, so my opinion may be the minority opinion.  I will say that the other two riders on the route that day that I knew didn't complain about it.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 06:44:20 am by staehpj1 »

Offline OHRider

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 12:16:04 pm »
Thanks for the input- I'll keep my eye out and see if anyone has ridden it more recently.  Funny that they have it marked in RWGPS as a bike route- I'll look and see if any of the local websites or maybe a bike club has information.

Intuitively, I'd like to take Rt78 just to avoid the interstate.  I don't look forward to 18 wheelers blasting by at high speed while I'm baking in the sun!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 04:25:43 pm »
Thanks for the input- I'll keep my eye out and see if anyone has ridden it more recently.  Funny that they have it marked in RWGPS as a bike route- I'll look and see if any of the local websites or maybe a bike club has information.

Intuitively, I'd like to take Rt78 just to avoid the interstate.  I don't look forward to 18 wheelers blasting by at high speed while I'm baking in the sun!
In general I don't mind a bit of interstate here and there.  They are well graded and you are generally far enough away from the traffic.  In some cases there are even separate access roads.  There are definitely places where I choose to ride the interstate.  This wasn't one of those places for me.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2021, 10:02:57 pm »
Intuitively, I'd like to take Rt78 just to avoid the interstate.  I don't look forward to 18 wheelers blasting by at high speed while I'm baking in the sun!
I rode the route west bound a 4-5 years ago.  CA-78 on a weekday isn't TOO bad.  It was narrow (no shoulder) highway with lots of short ups and downs that made it difficult for you to see traffic and vice versa.  A high percentage of RVs pulling ATVs on trailers or worse a pickup pulling an RV trailer pulling the ATV trailer.  I would guess semi's made up about 15% of the traffic.  Out of the 4 of us, 2 thought it was OK (not great), 1 didn't like it but would tolerate it, and 1 hated it, primarily to the RVs blasting by at high speed with no shoulder. All of us had to "bail off the road before the truck behind us gets here that will be passing oncoming traffic and us at the same time" a few times between Palo Verde and Glamis but that was OK, sort of.

If you are concerned mostly about traffic safety, I honestly would think the Interstate would be safer as it has a full width shoulder, good sight lines, and the speed is not that much faster (65 vs. 70).  However, you loose some scenery but would miss out an a climb or two going eastbound. Honestly, if I were eastbound, I would probably take the interstate (and hit the hot springs along the route).  Westbound would be dependent upon if it was a non-holiday week day.  I definitely would not ride CA-78 on a Friday thru Sunday and any holiday days due to the number of RVs heading to/from Glamis.

As far as between El Centro to Brawley, we road Dogwood and it was fine.  We did not go as far south as Calexico.  The road west of El Centro sucked as it was horribly broken up.  All of us were quite happy to get on the smooth interstate shoulder after that section.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 06:56:08 am »
John mentions high RV traffic.  It wasn't bad when we were there.  Time of year, time of day, and day of week all come into play on that, but were didn't have much RV traffic.  Obviously there is the potential for it with lots of recreational dune usage in the area particularly at Glamis.  Not sure how to best avoid it, but we did.  Obviously weekends are worse.

BTW...  I absolutely love riding those short rollers that John mentioned.  Yeah, traffic visibility kind of sucked, but that is the kind of terrain that my body was built for.   I just love to hammer on that kind of terrain.

Offline OHRider

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 01:14:13 pm »
Thanks for both replies- we will end up deciding the day of the ride what to do.  Maybe talk to some locals and see what traffic looks like.  You input is much appreciated!  We are leaving San Diego on Oct. 23.  It'll be here before we know it.

Offline Arizona Gal

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2021, 08:08:48 am »
Thanks for both replies- we will end up deciding the day of the ride what to do.  Maybe talk to some locals and see what traffic looks like.  You input is much appreciated!  We are leaving San Diego on Oct. 23.  It'll be here before we know it.
Please do post, especially regarding 78.  I'm planning on a big loop of SoCal in the early spring.  I have driven through Glamis, but I wasn't really thinking of biking at the time, so I wasn't paying attention to the shoulder conditions.  I'm well aware of the RVs, but I plan to time that section to weekdays. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2021, 08:56:34 am »
Please do report back. Given a start on the 23rd.

Depending on your daily mileage, it sounds possible you might be riding the section in question on a Sunday. I'd suggest that Arizona Gal and others factor that in when reading your report.  I'd expect you will see much more traffic in that is the case than you would on Monday or Tuesday.

I think we did fairly modest mileage at 50 and 67 the first two days and 81 the third day, which took us to Palo Verde by what would be Sunday on your schedule.  I'd expect your experience on 78 might be a good bit different depending when you ride it.  Staying in El Centro or Brawley on Sunday would mean taking it fairly easy with daily mileage of either a little over or a little under 40 miles per day if I remember the logistics correctly, but that might be a good idea.

I forget how closely we were following the official route on that section though so I may be off a bit on the mileage (we deviated a lot of places elsewhere).  We started from my riding buddy's house so that made a little difference in the first day's mileage as well and I don't recall how much or which way.  He knew the area well so I didn't pay attention to the routing near his home turf.

Offline OHRider

Re: Southern Tier- Calexico to Brawley and Brawley to Blythe
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2021, 09:51:31 am »
Please do report back. Given a start on the 23rd.

Depending on your daily mileage, it sounds possible you might be riding the section in question on a Sunday. I'd suggest that Arizona Gal and others factor that in when reading your report.  I'd expect you will see much more traffic in that is the case than you would on Monday or Tuesday.

I think we did fairly modest mileage at 50 and 67 the first two days and 81 the third day, which took us to Palo Verde by what would be Sunday on your schedule.  I'd expect your experience on 78 might be a good bit different depending when you ride it.  Staying in El Centro or Brawley on Sunday would mean taking it fairly easy with daily mileage of either a little over or a little under 40 miles per day if I remember the logistics correctly, but that might be a good idea.

I forget how closely we were following the official route on that section though so I may be off a bit on the mileage (we deviated a lot of places elsewhere).  We started from my riding buddy's house so that made a little difference in the first day's mileage as well and I don't recall how much or which way.  He knew the area well so I didn't pay attention to the routing near his home turf.

Thanks for the comments.  We fly into SD Oct 23 and plan to assemble the bikes at the airport and take off from there to the start at the ocean.  We will stay at one of the campgrounds that are about 35 miles out.  Past that I'm not sure what mileage we'll be doing but expect to average around 65 per day-- all dependent on places to stay, headwinds, etc.

If traffic looks too heavy in that area we can detour off a bit and hopefully avoid some of it.  I'm very used to traffic but much prefer the lower travelled route.  BTW, I just picked up one of the Garmin rear radars- it's amazing and is a great supplement to my helmet mirror.  Have to get it mounted on the rear rack so it can "see".  Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep the electronics charged!