"Oh yeah, the first of 4 big storms are coming in tonight. We're expecting 20 inches of rain over the coming 5 days."
The last thing I was expecting as I venture into a desert is rain and flooding. I was advised that the storm was coming across from the west. Considering I was experiencing possibly some of the greatest tailwinds of the trip, I decided to push on north east towards Borrego Springs.
"Oh yeah, its comin' in for sure. We're expecting the biggest storm in 20 years", the locals assured me as I arrived in that next town.
The last thing I wanted was to be stuck out in some 'middle of nowhere' town. I was told a huge storm could cause flash floods which could block roads with debris. With such a strong tailwind, I decided to push on further, to push myself hard and make it on to Salton City, where the storm was not expected to hit.- The thing is I didn't make it to Salton City. A combination of the wind changing direction- It now seemed to be coming randomly from all directions. And I was foolishly wasting too much time taking photos of the extraordinary clouds that were coming in across the desert. I needed to pitch the tent on high ground to avoid any flash floods, but also in a sheltered section to avoid the strong winds that would easily blow the tent down. When I found a suitable spot, I pitched the tent using every tent peg and cable to make it as secure as possible. The tent shook violently in the wind as I prepared dinner inside. Throughout the night, the storm came and went. But between 11pm and midnight it was at its worst. Most worrying was the driving rain. Although the tent managed to keep the rain out, I sat inside, wearing my full rain gear, ready to abandon ship.
The thing is, I have gotten caught out before with flash floods. In Iran, I was camped up in a valley, when I heard, what I thought was horses galloping down the valley towards my tent. When I jumped out of my tent to check out the situation, I realised it was a flash flood coming straight towards me. My stuff had gotten wet that night but nothing was destroyed. I just lost a few tent pegs.
This time I made sure not to camp in any site that could lead to a repeat of that. But when I hear they are expecting the worst storm in 20 years and I'm on the border of a flash flood region, lets just say, I didn't sleep much that night.