Patagonia- Tombstone - I'm Happy To Be Here - CycleBlaze

November 24, 2021

Patagonia- Tombstone

Heart 1 Comment 1
jerry witherspoonQuote Kelly: “ I love riding in wide open spaces”. Gal I can’t wait to get you to ride with me in wester Oklahoma,,,

spoon
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

I was looking forward to breakfast at Scared Grounds this morning. Their food is tasty, plentiful, and well priced. Jacinto pronounced the coffee good. That's a rarity. We were there at 8 AM. Occupancy was about half full. A teacher (?) was posting colorful kindergarten art on the walls. I ordered breakfast to eat, and a gluten free bread sandwich to go, for tomorrow. I'm sure the sandwich will be soggy by then, but I will be happy to have it. We were unable to find a single breakfast place open in Tombstone on Thanksgiving.

I went straight to getting ready when we got back to the room. Today was longer in miles (51), with climbing, and was supposed to have a tailwind. I was looking forward to a tailwind day. It sure wasn't apparent when I left at 9 AM. The sun was out and I quickly removed my vest. It was 60 degrees and warming. 

Traffic was negligible until Sonoita. The shoulder continued to be ~two feet. It was a little rough of a surface. I rode to the left of the white line and moved over as necessary. 

The 12 miles to Sonoita was all climbing. I noted the rest area, and turned in the driveway. It is still closed.  There's nothing that makes me dance more than standing in front of a locked bathroom! I could have gone to the convenience store. I tend to not do that. I feel I need to buy something if I go inside. I didn't need anything at this point. I'm also reluctant to leave my bike unattended. My favorite nature spot is a guard rail to lean the bike on and to hide behind. I might be like an ostrich - thinking I'm hiding, but I'm not. 

Traffic comes in from Tucson to Sonoita. I felt there was a noticeable increase in vehicles. The shoulder decreased by half. We had debated taking a back roads route through Elgin, which comes back to Highway 82. It would add ~5 miles to the day and save ~8 miles of Highway 82 riding. We elected not to do that. As I was alertly watching my mirrors, I wished I had made the back road turn. 

I tried to decide why the traffic was a concern  for me. Part of it was the aggressive tires on many of the trucks. It made them sound much louder and as if they were coming straight for me. There was enough traffic both directions that occasionally two vehicles were passing right next to me. Jacinto didn't think there were too many cars or that they were driving too fast.

We had a nice little downhill after Sonoita before the road started climbing again. It was notable how the terrain changed right at Sonoita. Suddenly the view opened up into grasslands. This area has a number of vineyards and, I think, is a weekend getaway for Tucson residents. 

From our previous trips, I remembered a big downhill to the river with a holy, moly climb away. But I couldn't quite remember where that was. 

At mile 30 for the day, I hit Whetstone. This is a major intersection for Highway 90, which accesses Interstate 10 to the north, and Sierra Vista to the south. I  considered stopping. I still didn't need food or drink, so continued riding. 

The wind had gradually picked up throughout the day. As I hit the downhill, I was cruising right along. I felt like a super cyclist. In the back of my mind I knew it was mostly the downhill with a tailwind. I didn't want to stop pedaling and ruin the mental high. 

Remember that big hill? It's around here somewhere. I know it. I decided I should proactively eat my apple. That was a good decision. Nine miles from Tombstone I went down the big hill to the San Pedro River. The area is a posted riparian area, with plenty of greenery. Here's that big climb! This was a Colorado style, granny gear climb. I'm sure Jacinto was happy to arrive here!

Today had been a good riding day, even with the busy section after Sonoita. I liked the scenery most today. I like wide open spaces, with simple routing directions. Mountains surrounded me on all sides. Perhaps I was lucky to have only one serious climb?

I arrived at a T intersection. Left to Benson, or right to Tombstone. There is a border patrol station here, but it was marked closed. There's a large border patrol parking lot at Sonoita. I saw 2-3 BP vehicles on the road today. 

Three more miles to town. Uphill. I had been watching the clouds all day. Far to my left was rain. The climb uphill seemed never ending. I felt some sprinkles and wondered if I would get wet heading into town. I planned to stop at the top of the hill at the Dollar Store for whatever provisions I could find to supplement breakfast. I was already in the turn lane, when I looked right and saw a giant Circle K convenience store. It had probably 12-14 fueling slots. Large. Really large, for Tombstone. I bet they have food. I took a right. 

I was correct. They had a large snack bar area with all sorts of sandwiches, hot and cold. With a few healthier choices such as salads and yogurt. $3.89 for a yogurt with granola on top. I almost bought one, but not for that price. Of course the sandwiches were much cheaper. There were three cashiers and a line to the door waiting to check out. I selected a V-8 (my first of the trip, $2.29), and a couple of bags of mixed fruit/nuts. 

I went outside and sat on the sidewalk next to my bike and ate my hamburger leftovers from last night. I called Jacinto. He was only a mile away. I would wait for him. I waited and waited. Where in the world could he be? Oh, yes, it is a climb.  Finally, here he arrived. Jacinto had gotten sprinkled on at the same spot I did. I gave him cash to go inside for a pop. He came right back, and said the line was too long. I told him it moved quickly, didn't he want a pop? He went back in and purchased two sodas and a beer! 

We had .4 miles to the motel. It's a small, older motel, right in the center of town. Linda, the owner, was most gracious while checking us in. She even offered to wash our clothes! Perhaps I should have taken her up on that. She also suggested we could go to the Rotary dinner tomorrow. It's a potluck, but she was sure they wouldn't turn us away, being travelers. That was nice of her to think of us, but we would be gone by lunch time.

The plan is to ride to the top of Mule Pass, then turn around, and head back to Sierra Vista. Linda had warned us against Charleston Road. We have ridden it before, and found it too busy for our liking, although we saw quite a few local riders. 

Tonight there appears to be a choice of places open for dinner. Jacinto is down to one leftover meal. He would like to build his supply back up. I think we are ordering generously tonight!

Later -

Nothing is set in stone. Jacinto mentioned that we are close to Douglas and have never been there. I remembered that Wayne stayed at the historic Gadsden Hotel and was impressed. Bubba's Southern Tier also stays there. 

Our current plans are to ride to Sierra Vista tomorrow, with a side trip up Mule Pass and back. Then we would have a day off to go get our visitors' passes to cross Fort Hauchuca over Canelo Pass. Jacinto was bemoaning the day off. See how sneaky he is? He didn't mention at all that we would be giving up a day off. He just mentioned riding to a new town!

We could also take Gleeson Road from Tombstone to Elfrida. We learned of that road from the motel owner in Elfrida when we rode the border to border trip in 2020. 

Now we have a new route, via Elfrida to Douglas. I've reserved the Best Western motel. Ironically, not the Gadsden Hotel, due to proximity to food on Thanksgiving day. 

You want to hear the real kicker? I paid for a non refundable room. We happily discussed our plans at dinner. We came back and checked the route on Komoot. It so handily gives temperature and wind direction based on what hour you depart. Guess what? 20 mph headwinds for the first 25 miles, turning into a cross wind at Elfrida. This might be more fun than I planned . . .  . 

Dinner - We ate at the only brightly lit place we saw, The Longhorn. We ate there last year also. I remember that food as being lackluster. Tonight I ordered fried chicken, thinking it would travel better tomorrow. Jacinto had a ground steak sandwich with gravy and onions on top. He doctored it with ketchup and mustard and pronounced it delicious. 

Now we are back in the room looking at the weather forecast, wondering what in the world have we done to ourselves. If we had gone to Sierra Vista, that would be a tailwind, and downhill!

Small, happy note. The wind is forecast to continue blowing from the east for Friday, our day into Sierra Vista.

On the left is the newest model of Dinotte Light. All of the lights were used the same amount of time, but the new light charges lightning fast.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Jacinto’s new bike is a Priority 600 with a Pinion 12 gear box and belt drive. It is a lot of bike for the price. If you are in the market, check it out.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Window decorations at our restaurant last night. I tried to ignore the dead flies. What is the purpose of the bar of soap?
Heart 1 Comment 0
I especially like the arms on this antique chair at the motel.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Seen in Patagonia. At least you know what you are getting!
Heart 3 Comment 0
This is an amazing ranch gate, with lovely details.
Heart 3 Comment 0
I have never seen similar road markers.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Bill? Occasional gourds along the road, only today.
Heart 0 Comment 3
Bill ShaneyfeltA couple species of gourds are found in that area. I think this might be buffalo gourds. If so inclined, you might sniff one to be sure. If it stinks that's it. If not, then it would likely be fingerleaf gourd. If they still had leaves, it would be easier.

https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2362
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezI did see a few areas with last year’s dried up gourds also. If I see any today, do you suppose they will still smell in the rain?
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltConsidering the scientific name, (Cucurbita foetidissima) I'd think they stink rain or shine.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
My favorite scenery shot today. I love riding in wide open spaces.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Bill, what plant is this? It appeared to be cut down, not broken. But to what purpose?
Heart 0 Comment 3
Bill ShaneyfeltAgave. Maybe Palmer's Agave. Why cut down? I'd guess some folks just have an innate desire to tear things up.

https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=3061https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezI thought perhaps someone wanted it as decoration. I find the dried seed pods on the too attractive. But they left the stalk. ???
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltWho knows... I had a friend in AZ who used them for walking sticks. Lightweight, but seemed rather bulky to my hands.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Blooming flowers in November! They are probably weeds, but, color!
Heart 0 Comment 3
Bill ShaneyfeltSince there are actually dozens of yellow many-petal wildflowers in that area, it is tough, but all evidence I see points to it likely being Hairy-Seed False Goldfields... (among other common names).

https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2812
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltThey had a pretty good monsoon season down there, so not too surprising to still find a few plants blooming.

https://tucson.com/news/local/tucsons-2021-monsoon-finishes-as-third-wettest-on-record/article_a6888f26-1bda-11ec-bb5a-fbcd3d9cee4e.html#:~:text=Tucson's%202021%20monsoon%20ended%20as,National%20Weather%20Service%20in%20Tucson.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezI saw some little purple flowers yesterday. I kept thinking I would photo the next clump, when I wasn’t on a downhill, or whatever the excuse of the moment. I didn’t see any today. Still excited to see flowers this time of year! I’m
Also happy we weren’t here during the monsoon!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
I carried my breakfast from Patagonia for tomorrow. I am food insecure when bicycling.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We did not know about this new 24 hour convenience store at the top of the hill. They have all sorts of hot food, mostly sandwiches. But there’s also salad and yogurt. They had three cashiers and a line to the door.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Gas station mural in town.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Room 12 at the Larian Motel. We will stay here again.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Jacinto’s photo.
Heart 4 Comment 1
jerry witherspoonThats gotta be named “camelBack mountain in the background! Great picture for sure. Spoon
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Jacinto’s scenery photo.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Approaching town.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 144 miles (232 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Scott AndersonYou’re staying at the Larian Motel! We stayed there five years ago and thought it was a fine place. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the ride south to Mule Pass - we’ve never ridden that whole stretch either time we stayed in Tombstone. We biked down Charleston Road once though, and thought it was fine.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonScott,

We've ridden Mule Pass twice. Once all the way from Benson in June - that was a hot slog and not a good experience. Once from Tombstone, in November. The temperatures and distances were far more inviting.

However - we've had a change of plans. Go back and read the end of the journal entry for today.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezYou’re going to Douglas! You must be cutting across east on Davis Road. We took that ride to Souglas two winters ago and stayed at the Gadsden Hotel for two nights before biking back to Bisbee and then Sierra Vista. If you can fit it in, turn off Davis, ride south on the Central Highway, and check out the sandhill cranes at Whitewater Draw: https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/2020part1/to-douglas/.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Wayne EstesI planned to go to Douglas during my SE Arizona tour, but never did go there. I look forward to seeing your photos from Douglas. Few cyclists go there.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezWayne

You didn’t go to Douglas? Whose photos do I remember?

It is 6 AM and raining in Tombstone, according to my phone. Our room is tucked away under an overhang. I can’t actually see if it’s raining or not. My next move is looking at the weather radar

I can see Jacinto waiting it out until the rain passes. Except for the wind. Oh boy! This seemed like such a good idea. Next time we will check the weather before making a non refundable motel reservation!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonI rode a section of the Central Highway in 2017 and also 2020. I remember seeing a lot of Walmart semis. Oddly.

Doing a Google search right now, I see the cranes are in residence all winter and we went right past them. I guess you have to make a point to turn in?

We were supposed to go to Elfrida, which adds miles and goes past Gleeson ghost town. It is raining as we speak. I might change my route for the shortest possible!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago