The RAC | Day-by-Day

Christiane Staninger

Day One

Colorado River to Gold Rock Ranch
17.4 miles | 539 feet of climbing

  • Drop off your luggage and camping chairs (but not your bikes) at the Penske van.

    • Be at the Upper YMCA parking lot (Salmon River Rd in PQ) between 8:30 and 10:00 am.

    • Remember to bring only what YOU and your 5th grader can carry between the Penske and your camping site each day. It might be a long walk.

    • If you have a chase vehicle, then please transport as much of your own luggage as possible (both to Yuma and on the RAC).

    • If you're transporting all of your own luggage, then you don't need to stop by the Penske in the morning.

  • The drive to the river is 175 miles:

  • Most of us stop at the In’ n’ Out in El Centro (mile 122, on 4th Street) for lunch and a bathroom stop.

  • The starting point has no address. It’s a dirt lot. One of us will be there.

  • You want to get to the River by 2 pm.

    • Unload your bike

    • Get ready

    • Dip your front tire in the Colorado River

    • Take pictures

    • We do not provide water at the river. Fill your bottles and CamelBaks at home.

    • No restrooms

  • At the River

    • Chase and volunteer kids meet with Sabine and Lauren at 2:30 at the Penske.

    • We leave the river at 3 pm after a short announcement.

    • Mile 2: Sand pit. Feel free to walk. Only stretch on the RAC where you don’t need to single file. 

    • Reach Gold Rock Ranch.

Day Two

Gold Rock Ranch to Pine School
54 miles | 1062 feet of Climbing

  • Leave Gold Rock Ranch.

  • Ride to morning snack.

  • “Do not pass” zone after snack. Follow volunteer instructions.

  • Ride to lunch to Glamis Beach Store.

  • Ride to afternoon snack stop.

  • Ride to Pine School.

  • Pack your bathing suits and a towel for tomorrow.

    • Put it on your bike or leave it in a chase car. 

    • Put you name on your stuff.

Day Three

Pine School to Ocotillo
48.6 miles | 837 feet of Climbing

  • We get up early.

  • We need to vacate the Pine School campus by 7 am, before Pine School parents drop off kids.

  • Ride to snack stop in Imperial.

  • Ride to lunch at NAF El Centro.

  • Swimming at NAF El Centro’s pool.

    • There are showers.

    • Retrieve your swimming stuff from the chase cars.

    • You do not have access to your luggage at the EL Centro Pool.

  • Leave NAF El Centro.

  • Reach Ocotillo Community Center.

Day Four

Ocotillo to Vallecito
35.5 miles | 1818 feet of Climbing

  • Leave Ocotillo Community Center.

  • Ride to Border Patrol station.

    • Officers might stop drivers (never riders) and ask for identification.

    • If you have a Green Card, bring it.

  • Ride to snack at the top of Sweeny Pass.

  • Steep downhill on Sweeny Pass.

    • Stay in front of your child.

    • Stay out of the gravel.

    • Control your speed.

    • Follow advice of volunteers.

  • Ride to Vallecito.

  • Lunch and dinner at Vallecito.

  • There are showers at Vallecito, so bring quarters.

  • Pack a sweater for tomorrow or leave a sweater in a chase car.

  • Don’t miss tonight’s ghost story.

Day Five

Vallecito to Spencer Valley School
35.1 miles | 3572 feet of climbing

  • Leave Vallecito.

  • Ride to snack stop at Stagecoach Store.

  • Ride to lunch at the Banner Grade Store.

  • No chase allowed on the Banner Grade. Chase will drive up Banner Grade in front or behind all riders.

  • Ride up Banner Grade.

  • If you have family meet you in Julian:

    • Our arrival time at Julian High School is 2:45 pm or later.

    • Families should park near the library, not right in front of Julian High School.

    • Families may not stop on the Banner Grade.

  • Our first groups will arrive at Julian High School at 2:45 or later (to arrive when Julian High School after school pick up is over).

  • Volunteers will serve free pie to all who have registered for the RAC, not to visiting families.

  • Please stay and cheer on all riders as they coming up the hill.

    • Don’t miss this. A real high light of the trip.

  • Retrieve your sweater. This spot can be chilly.

  • Ride to regroup at the Julian Fire Department.

  • Ride to Spencer Valley School.

  • Dinner that night is at Wynola Pizza (down the street from Spencer Valley School).

  • We eat in shifts.

  • If the night is chilly, you may sleep inside the Spencer School.

  • Drives up to Julian, arranged the night before.

  • RVs park in the dirt lot next to Wynola Pizza.

Day Six

Spencer Valley School to San Pasqual Archeological Society
43.3 miles | 1748 feet of Climbing

  • Julian hotel sleepers must be at the Spencer Valley School no later than 7:00.

  • We all must have left Spencer Valley School by 7:30 a.m.  

  • Bring scarfs and gloves. The first hour is chilly.

  • Ride to Dudley’s in Santa Ysabel.

  • Regroup at Dudley’s Bakery. Leave sweaters in a chase car.  

  • Ride Black Canyon. Gravel road. Stay away from the edge.

  • Only one chase (lead chase) is allowed on Black Canyon Road. All other vehicles take the 78 from Dudley’s to Ramona.

  • Ride to lunch at the Ramona Library.

  • Ride through Highland Valley Road. Control your speed.

  • Ride down Bandy Canyon Road. Control your speed.

  • Cross washed out river bed. Volunteers will instruct you.

  • Walk your bike the last half mile to San Pasqual. Volunteers will instruct you.

  • Arrive at San Pasqual Archeological Society.

  • Many riders drive home for the night because this camp site is very close to where we live.

Day Seven

San Pasqual Archeological Society to Moonlight Beach
29.1 miles | 1651 Feet of Climbing

  • If you spent the night at home, be back at the Archeological Society no later than 7:30 am.

  • Leave San Pasqual.

  • Ride to snack at San Elijo.

  • Group pictures:

    • all 5th graders

    • all riders

    • all chase

    • everyone

  • We will not take group school pictures. If you would like a picture of the kids from just your school, please do that privately.

  • RAC alumni parents take over chase driving so that current RAC chase parents can make it to the beach in time to see their kids ride in. We are very thankful to our RAC alumni.

  • Chase parents drive to the Moonlight Beach.

  • Riders leave San Elijo.

  • Regroup a few miles away from Moonlight Beach.

  • Invite friends and family to greet you at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas no later than 2 pm.

    • Encourage them to bring posters and flowers.

    • No “confetti bombs.” We will make you clean up the mess.

    • No noise makers. We want to come back next year.

    • Kindly ask family to stay on the side walk and not crowd the road.

    • Parking can be scarce on sunny days.

  • Parents ride in first.

    • Please stop at the stop sign.

    • When you get to the beach, get your cameras ready to watch your kids come in.

  • Kids will ride down once parents are in place.

    • They will be assisted by volunteers.

    • They will come down the hill in shifts.

    • Please stay and cheer until ALL kids have reached the beach.

    • At least one volunteer will cry.

  • Once all riders are in, head to the water, dip your tire, and take pictures.

  • Get your luggage from the Penske. You are done. Congratulations.

  • Now tell everyone what you did that week. They will not believe you.

  • The End