After skirting the border through Jacumba, Old Highway 80 joins Interstate 8 as it drops nearly 3,000 feet over ten twisting miles through In-Ko-Pah Gorge. It’s a thrilling descent on a bicycle, especially one loaded so as to catch the crosswinds making it difficult to speed down the shoulder between wide turning trucks and cliffside guard rails. On the other side lies the 300-person town of Ocotillo where I spent the night at an RV park on the outskirts. I packed up slowly in the morning for the ride up to Brawley, but no before unloading some dead weight at the Post Office: an extra camera lens, some spare bike parts, a portable water filter, a belt and a few finished books. The day’s ride started in low lying deserts and ended amongst the irrigated alfalfa fields and cattle feed lots that characterize Imperial Valley.