Papa Loco Taco run - Forty Two Miles A Day And Going Nowhere. - CycleBlaze

December 23, 2020

Papa Loco Taco run

Here’s the excellent alternative to crossing at narrow Campbell Street.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Palm trees in the distance at an RV resort.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Julian Wash artwork.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Bill?
Heart 0 Comment 4
Scott AndersonI don’t think so. I’m sure Bill is pretty grizzled, but these just look like ordinary desert plants.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltSome species of Agave. Probably not native since native species in the area have spines on the edges of the leaves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonScott:
Correct! :-)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonScott - Good one! You got me!

Kelly
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Bill, are these the little fuzzy guys we have to watch out for?
Heart 0 Comment 1
Papa Loco Taco is right on route on Rita Road.
Heart 0 Comment 0
More artwork.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Something about touring in the winter makes me feel lazy. First, there's sleeping in until 8 AM. Then I putz around, unfocused for about an hour. Breakfast? Oh, yes, we have to walk down to the breakfast before they close. A 10 AM departure seems difficult to meet. That's a far cry from my break of dawn riding I did in Arizona last summer!

Today I headed east. I wasn't having such success with routing to the west. I decided to give myself a break and head to a recommended Taco shop, Papa Loco Tacos. It is directly on route on Rita Road. When mapped out, it even meets the magic 42 mile round trip number. But, I would be so close to Julian Wash, that I decided to gather up ten more miles and ride to the bathroom and back on Julian Wash. It's not a very busy piece of The Loop and I like the iron art work.

I feel happy with myself as I back track to the pedestrian bridge over the wash. No more riding white knuckled on the raised narrow sidewalk on Campbell Avenue bridge! My happy feeling didn't last long. At Dodge Street, I make a navigational error crossing the bridge that I caught right away. I needed to be on the other side of the wash. Correctly, I need to cross traffic again, cross the bridge on the correct side, and cross back again. It wasn't a very long bridge and I didn't see anyone coming. I went for it. Of course, I get most of the way across and here comes a bicycle rider. The man yelled at me in what I think was a Boston accent that I was riding on the wrong side. "Sorry, sorry!", I yelled back. I don't think that mollified him. I didn't feel too bad. There wasn't any traffic coming besides the two of us. No cars. I didn't go miles out of my way and caught my error quickly. I had hopes for the day. I had hopes that I would get the same tailwind to town that I had a few days ago. Stay tuned on that.

Around home, I typically ride 30-40 miles. While in Tucson, I've bumped that number up. The past few days I've been riding near 50 miles a day. My legs have been stiff in the mornings, but they are playing the game. I kept watching the odometer, now 15 miles feels like I'm just getting started. I had an apple in my bag to snack on at the halfway point. I was planning on having a taco mid ride and getting a burrito in a bowl to go. 

I recognized most of the sights today. I was on a slight uphill. That didn't bother me because I would have a downhill with a tailwind back to the motel. Right?

I did not get lost or confused along Harrison Greenway. It has an interesting one way bike cross through a drainage. Then the road is definitely uphill, but not granny gear worth. I remember Steve very specifically stopping at the elementary school and telling me this was the high point of the loop. Indeed, it seemed that my pedals turned more quickly as the school disappeared in my rearview mirror.

I had to double check the map as I exited Harrison Greenway onto Rita Road. Yes, I'm good! Now I need to watch Papa Taco. It should be around here someone. Yes, in with a gas station. That's a suggestion eating spot? Hmmm. I wouldn't have stopped there on my own. I entered Julian Wash Greenway and stopped to get my apple. I'd better eat it now, so I'd be ready for a taco. 

I rode five miles on Julian Wash, stopped at the rest room, and rode five miles back. As I pulled up to the Taco shop, I saw a small enclosed patio full of bicycle riders and bicycles parked alongside the wall. This was obviously a known stopping spot. I felt more hopeful. I went inside. There was a waiting line of about ten people, two families from California who weren't familar with Mexican food. After many questions and much consulting as to what everyone would like to eat, they ordered. I got Jacinto and I both a colossal 1/2 pound burrito and me a fish taco for right now. I waited outside in the shade on the patio. It was cold in the shade. I had been perfectly comfortable in the sunshine.

I finally went inside because I was cold. It was perfect timing. My food was ready. I sat down and ate the taco. It had good flavor, but was a little skinny on fish. I gulped it down and hurried into the sunshine. I started pedaling to warm up - right into the wind. What the heck? I tried to tell myself it was just a little wind. Never mind that leaves are skittering across the trail. The bushes and shrubs will block the wind. No, not really. They just created a tunnel for the wind to blow in. I was still riding downhill at 14-15 mph - it wasn't the 20 mph I enjoyed last time, but certainly an acceptable speed. I had 20 miles to go . . . .

The past couple of days have been dry on seeing Bike Fridays. I saw the lady with the Christmas ornament helmet again, plus two more two wheeled recumbents. Any number of trikes. 10-12? One Elliptigo. I did not see a single dog/bike combo today. I enjoy people watching on the bike path. If I see a single bicycle rider around home, that's worth noting to Jacinto later. People could pass me a little slower so I could check out their bikes a little more. 

Speaking of Jacinto. He rode north again on roads. His routing was problematic as he was supposed to traverse a road with a locked gate. The route around was lengthy and Jacinto abandoned a small loop of his route because he had too many miles in. He ended up with 58 miles and 2,000 feet of climbing. He said all of the roads were good riding, except for the locked gate.

Even with the stiff headwind, I decided to ride past the motel on the closed section of bike path to get a bonus two miles. I've gathered up a few extra miles each day. Temperatures have been firmly in the 70's since we arrived, but there are several days in the high 50's coming up. I had better ride the big miles while it's nice out. Maybe I should start looking at the wind forecast also . .  . I had a good ride, but I would have had a great ride if I didn't have to fight the wind on the return. Look at me complain - riding 50 miles in shirt sleeves in December! I'm getting spoiled.

I forgot to say - I couldn't wait to eat my burrito bowl when I got in. I dumped two containers of green salsa on top. That was spicy hot! Maybe I should have been a little more cautious. I will visit Papa Taco again. Perhaps without the green salsa . .  .

Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 243 miles (391 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 7
Steve McallisterThe Papa Loco run was my most common route. And I always stopped for tacos. The carnitas or carne asada tacos are the best.

And as you found, it is popular with a lot of bicyclists on the loop.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
jerry witherspoonType your comment here
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Steve McallisterSteve,

I remembered you saying that you frequently rode Harrison Greenway. I'm thinking of riding that way again today, just to stop and buy something to eat! Plus, that is the fewest navigational errors I've had this trip. I'm allowed to ride the same route two days in a row if I want to? I did check the wind today. Wind from the east . . . so, I'd have a tailwind coming back.

Kelly
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezKeep an eye out for us. I think we’re going that direction ourselves today, for the same reason - the tailwind on the way back, not the tacos.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonThat cements the deal!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
jerry witherspoonTo jerry witherspoonKelly
my comment efforts vanished this morning. I tried to say that in all your journals, and I’ve read them all, if it weren’t for Tacos you two would starve to death!

spoon
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo jerry witherspoonSpoon,

You do know that Jacinto is a Mexican? We eat plenty of tacos . . . :)

Kelly
Reply to this comment
2 months ago