Mesa is no Venice - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

January 22, 2022

Mesa is no Venice

Mesa bike day #1

We got up this morning, looking forward to a nice bike ride this afternoon when it had warmed into the 60's. But once the sun had risen, we saw nasty black clouds to the north. That didn't look promising and neither did the forecast which called for wind and scattered showers. 

Don also was feeling very tired as he hadn't slept well last night so wasn't sure whether or not he would even feel up for a ride. Well, crap! Guess we had overdone it dancing 3 days in a row. 

He told me he would decide for sure after lunch, so we spent the morning running a few errands in Apache Junction. We visited a new favorite thrift store where they were doing a 50% off everything sale. Both of us found some nice items. Good thing we have a big closet!

After that we went to a propane place that had cheaper gas than here in Mesa and then stopped by a bike shop. Don was able to get some lube, a newer local bike route map and a couple of metal water bottle cages for the tandem. Originally there were 4 plastic cages and 2 of them have been broken on our travel days. I guess from all of the bouncing and shifting around on rough roads since it's bungeed next to my bike. 

Back home, we found that Amazon had delivered a few things to our site which is one of the perks of staying here. They allow Amazon Prime trucks, FedEx and UPS to enter the gate and drive right up to your front door. Nice!

Over lunch, Don told me he still didn't feel like riding today so he fixed up my bike and mapped me out a route. I wanted to try to stay off of the busy roads as much as possible and try out one of the canal trails. 

The sun was peeking out by now and it felt a lot warmer as I headed out, excited to actually be on a bike. While I love dancing, I've been going through a biking withdrawal this past week. 

My route initially took me onto 2 busy roads near us but they both had wide bike lanes, so other than being loud, it wasn't too bad. However, riding 4-6 lane highways isn't my favorite type of ride. 

So when I reached my turn onto a bike route that wound through a residential area, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now I could relax a bit!

That took me west to the Eastern Canal which our map showed would turn to a paved path after a mile or so. Well, they lied! While there was a trail along the canal, it was rough rocky gravel over hard packed dirt. No pavement to be seen at this point.

My route was headed south at this point so decided to keep going and hope I would eventually run into a better surface. My Schwalbe 20" tires are wider and I found the gravel/dirt path ok to ride on, although I couldn't get up much speed especially as there was also a gusty headwind. 

Except for the constant din of distant traffic, it was a pleasant enough ride except for when I had to cross the many busy highways. Except for one, they all had pedestrian lights which helped a lot. 

But I did had to do a lot of clicking in and out at every stop to access the button which didn't help the ankle I'd sprained last fall.  By the time I had finished my ride, it was pretty sore. 

There was quite a bit of water in the canal and while there were plenty of duck, they were all mallards. Pretty though when the sun brought out the green in the male's heads. 

The canal backed up to homes and I passed several small farms. I saw lots of orange, lemon and grapefruit trees, all loaded with fruit. One place had all types of livestock - cattle, goats, sheep, and alpacas. 

Other than a few walkers and a couple of cyclists, there weren't any other people on the trail. 

When I reached Baseline Rd, I was so happy to see a paved path on the other side. Yeah! Pavement! However, my excitement ended in less than a 1/4 mile when the trail abruptly ended at a gate to someone's back yard. 

What heck is this! I had a choice now to go back to Baseline and get on the gravel trail which still followed the canal or just bag this ride and head home. I opted to go back as it was getting late by now and starting to cool off. 

So I turned around and reversed my route north. At least I had a tailwind now which was welcome. 

It didn't take long to reach the Greenfield Park where I was able to get off the canal trail and access a neighborhood bike route that Don had mapped out for me. Other than a couple of busy road crossings, it was a nice ride and I was able to easily follow his directions which took me right to the entrance of Towerpoint. 

By now it was after 4 pm but I was glad I had persevered with my ride, even though it was shorter than I would have preferred. Between the rough trail surface and headwind, my legs told me I had worked them! 

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing inside as it was still very windy outside and now chilly. Even inside the trailer, we could hear the loud rock music playing over at the community center. I sure wouldn't want to own a place right across the street from the center as sometimes we've found the volume on the live music to be really cranked up. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunnier and warmer than today so I hope Don will feel up to a ride. The pollution in this valley has really played havoc with his allergies. It's been causing a lot of congestion and drainage which makes him cough a lot. Even I had a bit of that later today which I think was due to the wind kicking up dust etc. 

Looking to the north this morning, we saw these threatening clouds. Didn't look good for a ride. At least the sun did come out later in the afternoon.
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Check out my new bike socks I bought at the Western Parks store in Tucson! I couldn't resist the saguaros!
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marilyn swettYeah - I love them! I wear long leggings so like socks with tall cuffs. I might have to look for another pair at their on-line store. They have lots of different patterns.
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3 months ago
I passed this wall that had these huge cactus plants. Not sure what variety they were. You can see from the palm trees how strong the wind was today.
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I was happy when I got off the busy roads and accessed this bike route that wound through the neighborhood. The city had signed it well so it was easy to make all of the turns.
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Don't let go dude!
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This is the Eastern Canal as it goes underneath Highway 60. As you can see, the trail surface is gravel over hard packed dirt.
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I was so excited when I found this pavement south of Baseline Rd!
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What the heck is this?!! A dead end cut my ride short. I couldn't tell if the property behind the fence was to the back yard of house or was a community building. There was a tennis court, spa and pool with a rock waterfall.
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On my return home, I passed through a park and spotted this Vermillion Flycatcher. It seemed used to people and obligingly stayed still, moving once in a while to another branch as I took many pictures.
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Scott AndersonBeautiful shot.
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3 months ago
marilyn swettThanks - this guy was so obliging, just hanging around on this dead tree posing and sitting still on each branch. I was so shocked to see one here as we'd only seen a couple at our campground in Tucson. They never stayed still for very long.
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3 months ago
Another shot.
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Today's ride: 13 miles (21 km)
Total: 857 miles (1,379 km)

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