Tucson airport - Amado, AZ via Mission Rd - I'm Happy To Be Here - CycleBlaze

November 22, 2021

Tucson airport - Amado, AZ via Mission Rd

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We agreed to go to breakfast at 7 AM. I planned on a 9 AM departure. You wouldn't think it takes two hours to get ready while staying in a motel, and eating prepared food. But, it does! 

I was awake early. I had been alternating freezing and roasting last night. The heavy comforter was too warm, but I was too chilly without it.

We were at breakfast on time. Last year when we were here, they had hot breakfast, but had to be served. This year, we could serve ourselves. I had a tip in my pocket for the attendant, but there wasn't a tip jar, and it looked like she went on break right as we sat down. 

Oren laughs at me, how I used to turn my nose up at prefab food. Now I'm happy to eat anything that's included! Jacinto ate modestly. He had too many leftovers that even he thought might spoil if not eaten soon. I had sausage and eggs, plus a serving of oatmeal. They had fresh oatmeal fixed in a giant crockpot. I bet they throw all of that away, day after day. It was much tastier than the oatmeal packets, with add ins to each person's liking. I didn't see anyone else getting oatmeal. 

I didn't dally in the room, and was ready to go by 8:30. We weren't excited about the wind and overcast sky. I slightly debated going the direct route, but the climb on Mission Road is quiet and solitary. I didn't want to miss it. 

We spent time carefully evaluating each item we were packing. We had both downsized to two panniers for this seven day trip. The truth is, a cyclist needs about the same gear for a one week trip as a one month trip. We made choices carefully. Instead of Jacinto giving me a pannier of my own, I got a gallon size Ziplock bag. This trip I'm not taking any breakfast fixings. I gave Jacinto a bag of snacks and electrolyte powder. In the end, he took my shoes, because I had a box of leftovers on my rear rack. 

We were riding different routes today. I wanted to ride Mission Road. Jacinto was ready for something different, he decided to go to Saurita.

I rode a short section of sidewalk, rather than cross four lanes of traffic and cross back again. When I made the first left turn, it was straight into the wind. I was riding 7 mph on a flat road. Boy, howdy. This could be a long day. As I took a right, the wind became a cross wind, and my speed picked up to 10 mph. That was more hopeful. Another turn, and I was hardly pedaling at 20 mph! That was not to last . . .  . I was riding a big circle around the airport, rather than ride two miles of busy, busy Valencia Blvd. We've ridden Valencia before. It's fine. Traffic has always been respectful. I was ready for some miles, even windy miles. Thus, the trip around the airport. At mile ten, I had ridden almost a complete circle around the airport. Finally, I was ready for some movement. It was no time before I was over by the San Xavier Mission. The grounds were deserted, this Monday morning. I snapped a quick photo, and kept moving. From here, the road was tilted up. 

I saw one female road rider early on. Cars passed me perhaps one every 5-10 minutes. I like Mission Road. It's quiet, and has plenty of greenery. The climb is gradual. I didn't seem to notice the wind here. Either it had died down, or the mountain was protecting me. The view was familiar. Have I ridden this road too many times? Certainly at home I ride the same roads multiple times a week. What is riding something once a year? That's too often?

I at a half a Quest bar, and a banana. I thought about my apple, but decided to keep it for the flat section. Once I started climbing, I felt too warm. I took off my vest, but had nowhere to put it. My panniers were stuffed full, and if I added it to my rear rack, my light would be blocked. I ended up wrapping the vest around the handle of the pannier. I'd have to remove it for the downhill. I envisioned my vest getting tangled in the spokes on the downhill. That wasn't a good vision!

There are two tops on the Mission climb. The first one was a middle chainring climb. The road leveled off a little, then there was another top. I didn't want to use the granny, but my knees wanted me to. Since I like my original equipment, I clicked down into the granny. 

There had been smooth, new pavement on the climb. After the top, pavement was old and cracked. Darn. Here I was thinking I was in Michigan (except for all of the trash), with that smooth pavement. 

I remembered far more downhill last year. Perhaps there was a slight headwind holding me back. Maybe I was tired. I haven't ridden a 50 mile day since the Colorado Fall Colors Tour.

I put the vest back on for the downhill I did have, and kept it on through town. I had a little routing error, ridewithgps told me to get on the interstate. I remembered how to get on the frontage road, it was a bit odd of road configuration, seeming to send traffic the wrong way up the interstate ramp. Instead, traffic goes skinny through a short tunnel, and out the other side.

Ah! I'm almost there. Only ten miles to go. I took off my vest, and pulled out my apple. Eating an apple on tour makes me think of Tom Swanson, he also likes an apple mid ride. We've never discussed it, but perhaps Tom also likes the digestive effects of an apple a day . . . 

The last ten miles were directly adjacent to the interstate. Not the most exciting riding. I did have one white box delivery truck honk at me most enthusiastically. My wave was equally happy!

There's a rest area, just 3.5 miles before Amado. I didn't stop. I did go on into Amado, to see if the food trucks were out. No, not a one. Last trip we saw two. A taco truck, and a hot dog truck. It's a good thing I have a full box of leftovers from last night!

I saw one trike rider, with two flags. He was near a golfing resort. 

I turned around and went back under the interstate to the Amado Territory Inn. Doug was showing a couple around the property. All had masks on. Mask, mask, . . . .  . I know I have a mask . . .  . at the bottom of the pannier, somewhere. I dug everything out, looking for it. In the meanwhile, Doug came over and started chatting. I settled for a Buff pulled up over my nose. I sat in the office and discussed COVID vaccinations with Doug and how COVID had effected business. He said they stayed at 50% vacancy for awhile. The Firefly restaurant next door closed, and he didn't know when they would reopen.  

We agreed that their back courtyard is perfect for bicycles. I knew the routing to wheel around back and park by the bedroom door. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for my phone charger. I decided I had put it in with my shoes that Jacinto carried. (side note - no, they were in my fanny pack - why would I put a charger there?). I dug all through my panniers. I did find the masks. Those are on the top now. Somehow I don't think the Longhorn Saloon is going to be too worried about masks. We have both had three vaccines. I'm not worried either. That's the point of the vaccines - to be able to live life. I admit, opinions are varied. That is our opinion. 

I only got the photos loaded before I heard Jacinto's cleats clicking on the stone patio. We talked a little about the day, and ate our leftovers. Jacinto was wearing shorts. It was 72 degrees when he got in. Jacinto got us glasses of wine,  who wouldn't want to celebrate their first day with a glass of wine? Truth? He would rather have a beer . 

Now Jacinto is showering and we are walking to the Longhorn at 5 PM. I'm not hungry at all, but Jacinto is worried about walking back in the dark. He thinks my flashlight will run out of power. 

This is a delightful overnight. The grounds are large and lovingly cared for. There are many seating areas. Doug says breakfast is eggs and bacon, and french toast. That should be enough for the climbing day to Patagonia. 

Dinner commentary - We walked the .9 miles each direction to the Longhorn. It was not a good meal. The first part was my own mistake - I ordered a sampler appetizer platter that was all fried food. Far too much fried food. The cowboy salad I ordered for dinner (salad greens topped with beans, corn, and tri tip steak) did not soak up the grease. The salad itself was too heavy on beans and corn. I ate the greens and the meat, and pushed the rest around. Jacinto finished it for me. He had ordered a medium well done hamburger (no pink specifically). Instead he got a rare burger that was almost all pink. He didn't send it back, but should have. That was a disappointing meal for both of us. Doug had warned us they had changed chefs at the Longhorn. He suggested eating at Maria's in Green Valley. That was a little too far to walk.

I carry an itsy, bitsy flashlight that my son gave me. It throws a wide beam and was perfect for walking back to the B&B. It was a chilly walk, with cold pockets in some areas. 

See the dim light on the fender? This Priority bike had a dynamo hub. The front light is bright, the rear, not so much. Jacinto runs two more visible lights also.
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Room 2 at the Amado Inn
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Jacinto took a different route, through Saurita.
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His homework today was to take bicycle photos. He had five!
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Celebrating a good first day, with our free wine at the Amado Inn.
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It was nippy and windy at my 8:30 AM departure. Jacinto was hugging himself from the cold. My tights were a good idea after all!
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This is a new to me Amazon distribution center. The bike path was only in front of their property.
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The San Xavier Mission is getting a make over.
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Bill, this was in the landscaping at the mission. The only such configuration I saw all day. Bill is working quickly today. He suspects a hedgehog, although says landscaping plants can be tricky.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like hedgehog of some kind. If local, probably pink flower hedgehog. But since it is in landscaping, internet searching is suspect.

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2 weeks ago
The sign appears new. The rock work looks old.
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I cycled up Mission Road, headed towards Green Valley. How do you suppose the area got the name?
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Bill ShaneyfeltLots of variety! Chain fruit (jumping) cholla, California barrel cacti (probably), Cactus apple (Engelmann) prickly pear, Palo verde, Ironwood, mesquite and invasive bufflegrass.
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2 weeks ago
This is an appropriate motto!
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Helmet Peak.
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An old fire engine at the Helmet Peak station.
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This is our dinner spot tonight!
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We are in Amado tonight.
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My bicycle - a RANS Stratus XP, K style frame.
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My view while creating this journal at the Amado Territory Inn.
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Today's ride: 49 miles (79 km)
Total: 49 miles (79 km)

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Scott AndersonHow is the Longhorn Grill? We should look at driving down to Amado for an overnight and a ride out Arivaca Road when we’re down there next month. The last time we did this we stayed in Green River but weren’t enthusiastic about it.
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2 weeks ago
Kelly IniguezLast year I loved dinner at the Longhorn. I think I had steak? This year I ordered an appetizer platter, that was all fried food. My mistake. Far too much fried stuff. My salad with tri tip steak did not cut all of the grease. Jacinto ordered a medium well burger, but received a rare one . . .

When I was chatting with Doug at check in, he did say that they had changed chefs at the Longhorn . . . he recommended Maria's in Green Valley. That's not exactly walking distance!

We rode from Green Valley to Arrivaca and stayed at an airbnb, a couple of years back. It was a nice ride. Right now there's a big sign at the turn, saying construction 6 AM - 6 PM, M-F. IDK what that entails. I'll try to ask tomorrow at breakfast.
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2 weeks ago