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

November 25, 2021

Tombstone - Douglas

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Last night is the first night in a long time that I couldn't sleep for thinking of the upcoming day. Rain AND a headwind? That sounds too fun. When I finally got out of bed at 6 AM, the phone said rain. I couldn't see any rain as our room is tucked in the corner under the overhang.

I had my breakfast sandwich from Patagonia. It was the worse for the ride on the bicycle. I ate it anyway. Plus a banana. That was breakfast. I don't have either Spiz or oatmeal with me. I didn't think I'd need them. 

Soon we could hear the rain on the roof. Yes, it's is raining hard out there. Checking the phone, the radar didn't show any rain at all over Tombstone. My favorite trick is to check a different app if I don't like what the first one says. I looked at another weather radar. It still showed Tombstone in the clear. Wrong. It's definitely raining out there! At the moment, it might be raining, but at least the wind wasn't blowing. I decided I'd rather have rain than wind. I got ready to go. Rain coat, and Saran Wrap covered toes. I also put on a Buff neck warmer for the cold. It was 48 degrees and sprinkling rain when I left. Linda, the owner, was outside. She approved of our new route to Douglas, saying there wouldn't be much traffic on Davis Road.

Oh, yes - initially we planned to ride Gleeson Road to Elfrida. It's a new to us road, and goes past a ghost town. But it's five miles longer on a challenging day. At the last minute, I decided to take Davis Road. That saves five miles and 700 feet of climbing. On a day like today . . . . 

My turn was four uphill miles from the motel. By the time I got there, I was ready to take the rain coat off. Perhaps I was a bit premature putting it on. I walked the cattle guard. The last thing I want is have the bike slip out from under me on the smooth, metal rails! There were far too many cattle guards today. I walked every one.

For being a back road, Davis had quite a bit of traffic. I thought I would be out there all alone. I was happy to have vehicles pass me as they gave just a moment's respite to the ever increasing headwind. I was going slightly uphill, into a headwind. Even after I hit the downhill at mile six, I didn't pick up much speed. I slogged on. I felt hungry, and eventually ate two bars, a few bites at a time. To add to my misery, it started to rain gently. Should I put my jacket on? Yes. No. Yes. No. I decided when cars approaching me where using their wipers, that means it's raining enough ahead of me to get my jacket back out. 

I ended up being quite wet. To the point that it seemed useless to put my rain coat on. I was wet and cold. The small advantage to all of the wind is that I was working enough to not get TOO cold.

I was looking forward to the turn on Highway 191. That would give me a cross wind. I called Jacinto. He was on the road, and had stuck to the original plan. He didn't have either wind or rain! How could that be? Our roads were parallel, only a few miles apart. He has all of the luck.

Jacinto said he found a big box shaped like a football and opened it up to see what was inside. I told him he was mighty brave. He said there was an assortment of toys inside. For some reason, he brought along a heavy hardback kid book, a spaceman toy, and a tin of cards. Why? He's going to leave them here at the motel . .  .

I made a few potty stops along the way. I tried to be very careful where I parked the bike. There were all kinds of plants with long thorns. I need to take a photo for Bill to ID. The thorn plants were overgrown along Highway 191, leaning way out into the shoulder.

The shoulder on 191 was mostly six feet, gradually decreasing to four feet. That was cut by at least half with all of the plants. There was a deep rumble strip, appropriately placed.

When I ate my daily apple, I was cold enough that I couldn't get my mouth open, and bit my own inner lip. I have a little chunk of flesh that's flapping around. I need to be brave and bite it off and be done!

I tried to tell myself to look around. We hadn't been this far south in this area. Mountains were ringing the valley. The clouds did make for interesting photos.  I passed one field of trees. Pecans? Mostly it was open grassland.

Considering, I felt I was holding up well. My body was responding to the challenging weather. This should have been an easy, put in the miles sort of day, with little climbing. Instead, it was a slog.

We made my route at the last minute. It wasn't routed to take the back road to the motel. I went with the sure thing, and followed the spoken directions to town. As I got close to the town of Douglas, there were four lanes of traffic, with only occasional cars. The shoulder had been very dirty all day, with glass and radial tire shreds. It will be amazing if one of us doesn't have a flat. 

I kept checking in on Jacinto. He wasn't catching up with me. He said that the wind was terrible once he turned onto 191. I kept telling him how much better 191 was, I rode at a blistering 10 mph! It's odd, what a different riding experience we had, for being roughly the same place at roughly the same time.

I saw the back side of the Gadsden Hotel. It is a tall building. I tried to tell myself to detour enough to ride past the front. No - I was chilled and wind blown. I wanted inside. I had passed Motel 6 down the road. Their sign out front said $55. Their parking lot was virtually empty. I arrived at the Best Western. The building looks fresh and new. They didn't have many cars either, but I was arriving at 1 PM. I combed my hair and tried to make myself presentable. Masks were required inside. I pulled up my convenient Buff. 

We are in Room 100, close to the office. It is extra spacious and clean. At a very inconvenient moment, I discovered that the toilet paper was completely out and there was not a spare roll. ! ! ! 

I turned the shower on extra hot. This was just what I needed. I took time to appreciate the thick, fluffy towels.  I called Jacinto to let him know where we were. I got in a preemptive statement that I didn't care how much the room cost, it was worth it. He was sure to comment on how cheap Motel 6 was. 

There is a Mexican fast food around the corner, Filiberto's. We had called in advance. Their hours today were 6 AM - 6 PM. Jacinto called to make sure they were open until 6. No, business was slow. They were closing in a half hour! We hurried around the corner. The first door we tried was locked! Oh, no! Would we have to eat at the neighboring McDonald's (who was doing a booming business)? Happily, the second door was open and we were able to order. We also let the man know that we would want another meal to go. 

We are set for the night. Jacinto is watching Thanksgiving football. I'm sitting in the comfy chair, typing this. Perhaps if we get really bored we will go next door to the big Circle K for a snack. 

Jacinto asked me out of the blue, why don't we stay in more Best Western's. This is so nice. I do indeed agree! I believe we have just upgraded. No mention at all from him about the cheap Motel 6 down the road. Back when we first made the transition from camping, I was happy to find something clean. That was mostly the criteria. Clean, and on route. Now I'm getting a little older, I'm pickier. A nice overnight spot makes all of the difference in my attitude the next morning.

Tomorrow we have two choices to Sierra Vista. The climbing route over Mule Pass is 48 miles, 2,800 feet of climbing. The longer route is 57 miles, 2,200 feet of climbing. Ridewithgps estimates that the climbing route will be a half hour shorter for me. We rode Mule Pass twice last year. Going this direction would be new. There isn't much different in climbing between the two routes. Both go to South Bisbee, and that's quite a bit of climbing to get there. Wind will be a factor again. It's forecast to be from the east again. A tailwind. We shall see what we get. For certain, we have a hot breakfast tomorrow. 

While cleaning the chain, I discovered the little tube holding the chain on the idler has broken off. I think it happened on big road heaves on the shoulder right before town. They only lasted a couple of miles. We rode in the lane when possible, the heaves were huge. They also rattled my mirror loose! I’m going to listen carefully to my drive train. Any odd noises and I will stop and check the chain line. At one point I had a multipack of these keepers. I only used one and probably couldn’t put my hands on them if I wanted one. It’s been a long time and they are very small! I will check with Ajo Bikes (recumbent store in Tucson) to see if they have any. 

Happy Thanksgiving, all! 

My departure photo, with a rain coat. Unfortunately.
Heart 3 Comment 0
I had SO many cattle guards today and walked them all. I didn’t want to fall because they were wet from the rain. Notice my plastic covered seat pad. A dry cleaner bag from the Hampton Inn fit like custom sized.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Do you suppose that is a hitching post next to Wild West Road?
Heart 2 Comment 0
I was being stubborn about putting my rain coat back on. I was wet.
Heart 4 Comment 0
I wonder how long it took to gather enough ocotillo spears to make a fence?
Heart 0 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltSeems to work well. Some even take root.

Google search ocotillo fence.
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezI presumed they were dead? Every so often at home I will see an aspen tree fence, in a similar style. I can't imagine how long it would take to gather up enough straight aspen of the correct width. The the ocotillo fence, I want to know what sort of gloves are necessary!
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7 months ago
Scott, this is the closest I got to the preserve. I believe there were a flock of cranes in the field adjacent to me. They flew off when I stopped. I didn’t think I’d get a good photo, but I could hear them honking.
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An abandoned house.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another abandoned house. I while away time imagining the history of buildings.
Heart 4 Comment 0
My favorite scenery shot for today.
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The Elfrida motel. We stayed there in 2020. Jacinto’s photo.
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Raining in the distance. Jacinto’s photo again.
Heart 3 Comment 0
A nice room is especially appreciated at the end of a hard day.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Saran Wrap toe covers for the rain.
Heart 2 Comment 4
Bill ShaneyfeltNice! Back when I bike commuted, I used bread bags and rubber bands over my shoes. Only good for one day, getting ragged, so I kept every bread bag in the house for years, even after I retired, till I realized there was a huge bag full of them that never got used and I finally tossed it... :-)

I do almost the same thing to cut windchill for riding down into the 30s, but use tyvek folded down over the toes, then over the sides before sliding into my sandals, then wrap around my ankles and fold the top of the wool socks down about an inch or 2, holding it in place.
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezI need some Tyvek!

Do you do origami?
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7 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltI need to learn origami... If only it were that easy.

I remember teachers showing us how to fold 6 sided snowflakes, and not being able to do it. Then in the mid-80s I sat down and figured it out so I could cut out initials of people at work and give them away on their birthdays. Took about a dozen times of re-figuring before I actually got it. Second nature now after many hundreds of birthday snowflakes. Have not made one in quite a while. I think the last was in Oct. for a kid who made Eagle Scout.

So, snowflakes are the extent of my origami.
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7 months ago
Some of the tumble weeds could take out a cyclist!
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Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 192 miles (309 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Mark HoffmannHow would you compare your Pinion to the Rohloff, Jacinto? Did you abandon the Rohloff after your problems with it in Wisconsin?
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7 months ago
Rachael AndersonSorry you had rain! Hopefully you will have nice weather tomorrow with a nice headwind.
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezMark,

The fixing of the Rohloff was a process. We called Rodriguez Bicycles first (thinking we might need to call Cycle Monkey). The tech there said that had we called when it started to get hard to shift, it was just a tightening of a cable connection. When we pulled it, the connection came undone inside of the hub. They offered to talk us through fixing it. We chose to send the wheel back to Seattle.

When we got the wheel back, we took it to our local shop to have it installed. Now the cable was too short? Troy (local mechanic) called Rodriguez. They said to install a longer cable. OK. Except the bike wouldn't shift through all of the gears.

Skipping much of Troy's frustration. Rodriguez was not helpful on subsequent phone calls, shame on them, as they did the original repair and didn't support our local guy when THEY didn't put on a long enough cable. Finally Troy hit on the idea of using compression free cable housing. Now the Rohloff shifts fine. All of that for want of tightening a connection!

The Pinion bike was ordered back in May, it took three months to arrive. Jacinto likes to buy and try. He doesn't need a reason, it's all an experiment.

The Priority 600 came with a 12 speed gear box. Jacinto would have had the 18 speed, but it wasn't a choice. The advertised range of the 12 speed is slightly more than the 14 speed Rohloff. Jacinto says the jumps between the steps are a little more noticeable, since they are larger.

The Rohloff and the Pinion have the same bar end barrel shifter. The Pinion is stiffer to shift.

The Rohloff is noisy in gears 1-7. The Pinion is quiet in all gears.

He likes how easy it is to take off the rear wheel to change it, very similar to a front wheel.

He thinks that the Pinion has better climbing gears and the Rohloff has better go fast gears.

He bought the Rohloff in 2019. He's supposed to change the oil every 5,000 km. Supposedly, the gears get quieter as they break in. Jacinto says it is just as noisy now as when it was new. Not annoyingly so, but audible.

He has 629 miles on the Pinion. The oil change on that is every 7,000 km.

Both are belt drive, which is Jacinto's very favorite!
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7 months ago
Mark HoffmannTo Kelly IniguezThanks for the great review, Kelly. As I muse about treating myself to one more bike for these later years I've contemplated a high-end internal gear system. Those two make the list. I see at the good comparison posted at cyclingabout that the Pinion is slightly heavier, but for me it is the quieter operation that would nudge me toward it. My bikes are almost always heavier than needed already. (I figure that contributes to the fitness I hope to maintain.) But, I've always been annoyed by creaking, scraping, ticking or any other small noises. Thanks again. We're enjoying your current account. Those roads were we last toured, in late January, 2020.
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Mark HoffmannMark,

I'm a little tardy in expounding here. If you decide you are interested in a new IGH bike - look at the Priority brand. Jacinto paid $2,300. for his Model 600. The total price was excellent compared to other brands. He did have to wait from April when he ordered, until August.

Jacinto says the Pinion is heavier, but the rear wheel is far lighter!

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5 months ago
Mark HoffmannTo Kelly IniguezThanks for the tip, Kelly. The Priority website looks great and I'll enjoy poking around there. Jean and I ride a Bike Friday tandem with a 3-spd IGH, but it is rather old technology and we've had some issues over the years. I think a Pinion would feel like a very delightful big step up, in terms of IGH performance, were I to get one as my all-around single.
As usual we've enjoyed your Tucson postings and look forward to getting back there ourselves. Thanks for keeping us informed and motivated!
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5 months ago