Changing motels via Colossal Cave Rd. - Forty Two Miles A Day And Going Nowhere. - CycleBlaze

December 20, 2020

Changing motels via Colossal Cave Rd.

Three bags contain all of our stuff.
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Rachael AndersonWow! How did you manage that? When we’re touring we don’t take much bu we have our car loaded. Part of the problem is I keep buying non perishable food.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTwo bags worth we did have in panniers on our bikes. The extra bag came back on the airplane this trip.

We tend to hoard food also. There’s nothing worse than a calorie starved cyclist.

I’ve seen any number of Bike Fridays. Lots of couples on BFs, interestingly. At least 2-3 couples a day. None yet that I could identify as you two!
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2 months ago
I need another photo here!
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All of the roadways today were marked as bikeways and had an appropriate shoulder width.
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Rachael AndersonThat’s the kind of routes I like.
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2 months ago
The view to the right from the top.
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The view to the right from Old Spanish Trail.
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Bill, see the holes on the right arm? What causes those?
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jerry witherspoonAcorn woodpeckers! Spoon
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltThe birds...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro_boot
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo jerry witherspoonOr maybe Gila woodpeckers?
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2 months ago
Some of these had yellow fruit. I need to take a photo of the pink/red fruit version.
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Bill ShaneyfeltThat is a really big cane cholla! Fruits are not any good. They never get beyond yellow.

https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/cacti/cylindropuntia-spinosior.html
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2 months ago
Look! Saguaros everywhere!
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More!
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My bike, a RANS Stratus XP, K frame. It’s the XL length and is a full 8’ long. It’s a beast to transport, but a smooth ride.
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Jacinto’s photo from Sahuarita Road.
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Another photo from Jacinto.
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Bill ShaneyfeltAmazing how thick the cacti grow in some places!

Looks like Engelmann's prickly pear cacti

https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/cacti/opuntia-engelmannii.html

Jumping (chain fruit) cholla cacti

https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/cacti/cylindropuntia-fulgida.html

Arizona barrel (fishhook barrel) cacti

https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/cacti/ferocactus-wislizeni.html
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2 months ago
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Rachael AndersonWow! 52 miles. Congrats!
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2 months ago

Today we had to pack up and move. It didn't seem that we should have much stuff, having come from a bicycle tour and a flight where I was too cheap to pay for luggage. We had only what had been on the bike and our clean bicycle clothes from home. I had brought two Ziplock bags of Spiz meal replacement and one bag of Hammer Recovery drink. The recovery drink is a white crystal type powder that earned both the bag and my hands a swabbing at the airport. We passed the test, but the TSA agent called a number anyway and gave a description of the powder and my explanation of what it was. The chocolate Spiz was not swabbed or called in. There for a minute I was a little worried about making our flight. Jacinto pointed out that if I would eat real food and not carry these supplements, our bags would have been even lighter. He is correct. For several years I tried not using Spiz, but I'm darned if I don't feel that I have more energy when drinking it during the day and I also feel I recover better.

We were up by 8 AM again, and yet again barely managed to get to breakfast. They were out of sausage and eggs both, but I said I didn't mind waiting ten minutes for more. Everyone who came behind me weren't interested in waiting. They must not have had a 50 mile bicycle ride planned for the day!

The oatmeal man was there. I ate oatmeal also, but he didn't notice, he was too busy telling the food lady that he wanted butter before the syrup on his waffle. She was in charge of the syrup and wanted to move on to the next customer . . .  . 

Jacinto asked for a late check out and saved his breakfast to eat right before he left. I made my planned departure of 10 AM. We were riding about the same miles, but I was taking the Julian Wash Bike Path to Colossal Caves Road and then back into town on the bike path. It changed names several times on the return, but the path didn't quit.

Jacinto rode a loop to the south again, then came back for the van and drove to the motel. Amazingly, I had the same miles as he did and slightly more climbing. I seldom best him. 

I started out on Corona Road again. The cracks in the pavement weren't any easier today. I zig zagged around until I absolutely had to get on Valencia. I've ridden this direction several times and it's starting to look familiar. I entered Julian Wash Bike Path. Being Sunday, I expected to see many people on the path. There were few path users until I got to the bathroom. I had ridden only 6 miles, but I have learned to follow the cyclist rule about never passing a flush toilet. There were 8-10 riders there getting their bikes ready. I chatted with a group of three about my strange bike and where to buy one. There were many miles to ride. Off I went.

I tried to tell myself that it wasn't windy. I was lying. I had 19 miles of uphill straight into the wind. Then the road took a curve (still climbing). At mile 23, the good life started.

Ridewithgps has not updated their maps. At Rita Road my directions were to exit the path for the road. But I knew from the Thanksgiving trip that the path had an extension that paralleled Rita Road. Bertha (my name for ridewithgps) wasn't happy with my deviation. I was disproportionately happy with myself for making a navigation decision on my own. I rode an additional 3 miles of path, right to the end on South Houghton Road. 

Riding on the road was a bit of a shock because of the traffic. I was expecting sleepy Sunday morning traffic, but there were constant cars passing the entire time I was on a roadway.  Happily, today had nice pavement with a 3-4 foot shoulder at all times. There were frequent signs designating the road as a bikeway. There were no problems at all, but it wasn't a ride I would hurry to recommend. Mary Anne Cleveland Road went into Vail. I was hoping that traffic would drop off there, but it didn't. 

I had been climbing since leaving the motel, but it was gradual bike path climbing. The elevation numbers were slowly climbing. I needed to get to 3,600 feet of elevation. After the Safeway at Vail, there was a steep, short climb. My Garmin registered it as 9%. I should have dropped into the granny, but was too late. It didn't look quite 9% to me . . .  That climb got me almost to the 3,600 feet I needed before the downhill. I saw a mountain bike rider unload her bike from a pickup truck and take off across the desert. I think mountain bikers in this area are extra brave. One wrong move and they could be picking cactus spines out of soft body parts!

I was happy to reach the downhill. More because of escaping the headwind than escaping the climb, which had been gradual except for the afore mentioned short climb. 

I think I must be a mouth breather. I drink far more with a headwind because my mouth dries out. I start each day with three full bottles - one of water, one of Liquid IV (an electrolyte drink), and a Spiz bottle. By the time I made the turn, I was down to slurping the bottom of all of those bottles. I carried one extra water. I debated if I need it or not. I was traveling at 14 mph with a tailwind and felt as if I had new legs. I'd delay on using my emergency bottle.

The downhill was on Old Spanish Trail Road. The roomy shoulder continued and there was even fresh pavement for much of the distance. What's not to like. I hadn't seen any riders on Cleveland Road - that's because anyone in the know was over here. There were a wide variety of cacti and a good view to go with the fresh pavement. I might even go so far as to recommend climbing and descending on Old Spanish Trail Road. It's not that Cleveland Road was a problem of any kind, but it had more traffic and wasn't scenic. 

I had routed myself through a residential area to avoid swinging around on Old Spanish Trail. Probably I took more time in navigation than I saved in miles. I was happy to hit the bike path again. The closer I got to town, the more people there were, both walkers and riders. Families with kids who hadn't learned their bike path manners yet. Dog walkers with too long leashes . . . yeah, I'm not used to bike path riding. I wove in and out of the living obstacles. Through the day I saw one recumbent rider leading a group of diamond frame riders at a fast climb. He had decorated his helmet with Christmas tree round bulb ornaments and tinsel. It looked festive! I saw any number of trikes. 10? One Elliptigo. 

I was ready to be to the motel. I passed a Chipotle's right next to the path and six miles before the motel. That could be something to eat while I wait for Jacinto . . .  no, I don't want to stop . .  . I had a small navigational error at Tanque Verde Road. I needed to trade sides of the wash, but didn't listen to Bertha's cue and had to back track. I heaved a big sigh at myself. I didn't need any bonus miles on a 50 mile day. But, I was getting closer and closer! 

Then the path was closed. Look at me reroute. You can laugh at me. Rerouting means riding on the south side of the wash instead of the north side. I'm the person who turns the wrong way going out of the parking lot. Trading sides of the wash is a big deal for me. I was successful. Bertha beeped at me for the one mile to Campbell Road, where I exited to the motel. 

I rode around the entire property, having missed the front door. I waited my turn inside to check in. I was in Suite 141 in a separate building. I went through several sets of doors with my long bicycle. I opened the door to our room with anticipation. This would be our home for the next 12 nights. We had a bedroom with a door and a full kitchen. It's basically a little apartment . . .  except . . .  there was still trash in the recycling bin and crumbs on the floor. The wall of the dining area had giant black scuffs all over it. I stood and looked around the living area. It looked tired and not fresh. The furniture had seen better days. It was okay for a night, but not 12 nights. I debated asking for a new room. I hate to be a complaining person. I've worked customer service too many years. This wouldn't do. Back I went through all of the doors. I was third in line. When I got to the front, the clerk started effusively commenting on my bike. I think to distract me from my issues. I had complaints, but there's no reason to be mean about them. I stated my three concerns, saying that I didn't even go in the bedroom or bathroom, and asked if she had a room that was fresher. It took some looking because we were staying so long, but she put me in a room close to the office. It also needs painted. Every single wall has scuffs. How can that even happen? At least I don't have to worry about the bikes marring the walls. I'm sad. I was really looking forward to staying here. The hallways are in bad shape. I guess that should be my first clue that the rooms aren't good. I think they were working on things. The maintenance man who told me where the ice machine is (2nd floor), had a can of paint in his hands. It looks like bleach has been spilled all through the hallway between our room and the office. The layout of the apartment is good. The kitchen is small but efficient. It has pots and pans, dishes, etc. The bathroom is nice. I'd like it much more if it had been painted. The hallway needs painted even more. Darn. Breakfast is microwave sandwiches. I think I like the Hampton Inn better . . .  it's $40. less a night.

I hadn't been in the room long when Jacinto called and asked if I wanted Panda Express. Sure! I never did buy anything to eat. I had barely showered when he called and asked if I could walk out and help him carry things in. No. I could not do that. He had all of my clothes, I had taken a shower and washed my bike clothes. I had none to put on! 

Jacinto seemed a little grouchy. I think from ferrying stuff inside, although I hurried and got dressed and carried in the last load. He said his bike ride was good, but he was hungry. We both had some Panda Express. Then he asked me where I wanted to go for dinner. ?? Wasn't this dinner? It's 5 PM. No, this is a snack. Now we are deciding where to go for dinner. There's a Cheesecake Factory nearby. I haven't eaten there for at least ten years. My mother and I used to go whenever we would go to Denver. I bet they are busy on a Sunday. Maybe restaurants in Tucson are always busy because there are so many retired people here?

Today's ride: 52 miles (84 km)
Total: 95 miles (153 km)

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