Tour de cities - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

January 25, 2022

Tour de cities

Mesa bike day #4

I had hoped that we could do another tandem ride today but Don announced that I was on my own as he had several things to do around home to get us ready to travel on Sunday. Ok, be that way! 

But unfortunately I couldn't get out as early as I would liked as it was too chilly to ride until afternoon. It might be sunny here in the Valley but sure doesn't feel warm! 

So after breakfast, we went to Walmart to stock up. It was a frustrating experience since many of the items we needed were out-of-stock. We'd gone to the smaller Walmart market store and now we'll have to make a trip to the larger super store. 

By the time I'd put away the groceries and eaten some lunch, it was finally over 60 degrees. Time to ride!

For my route today I decided to go directly from here on streets to bike route 1 and take it west to the Consolidated Canal trail to see how much further the trail went to the south. 

When I got to the Greenfield Park, I stopped at the fishing pond to check out the waterfowl. Today I spotted an egret, a cormorant and several widgeons. As I was taking some pictures, I talked to a woman who was fishing there. She said that the city stocked the pond with trout and small-mouthed bass. She also liked to feed the ducks, especially the white ones. She'd even given them names! 

It was easy to access the canal trail where I turned south. There was a slight wind in my face, but still sunny out and warming up nicely. 

I was still shocked to see very few people on the trail. Do they not bike here?! Or even walk?

As I continued south, I crossed many busy roads. All were at-grade crossings and most had pedestrian lights. When I could easily reach the button, I would push it if the road was busy but often the post was too awkward to reach on a bike. The other day I had seen a cyclist ride over near a post, stretch out her leg and use her foot to push the button! That would have made a good picture. At least the walk signals changed quickly so you didn't have to wait long to cross. 

As I crossed into the town of Gilbert, the trail changed names to the Heritage Trail and they had a nice map posted. There was also a porta-pot available. Nice!

Things were going well until the canal disappeared and the trail turned into a sidewalk next to a park. Hmmm, where did the water go? I couldn't see it on the other side of the street, although there looked like there was a trail.

I flagged down a cyclist that was on my side of the road and asked him how to get to the Consolidated Canal trail. He didn't seem to know what I was talking about and mentioned that he was new to this area so didn't quite know his way around town. He also said that the same trails could have different names. Great, guess I was on my own.

I went ahead and crossed the street where I could now see the water in the canal again with a trail running along side of it. The sign next to it indicated that this was part of the Maricopa trail system but didn't say it was the Consolidated Canal. 

But since the canal trail seemed to be trending to the south, I chose to continue onward. Eventually I encountered another sign that showed that I was still on the Heritage trail. Same canal, different names!

The next challenge came soon when I had to cross 2 6-lane busy roads. Again, I lost sight of the water and there weren't any directional signs here, other than "cyclists cross at light". 

I had to cross first one street and then the other. While I waited for the light to change, a cyclist pulled up next to me. I asked her if the Consolidated Canal trail was across this street but she just said"I think so" as she zoomed off in that direction. Is everyone down here new to the area and clueless about the trails????

Fortunately when I reached the other side, I could see the canal and trail continuing to the south. Whew! 

So far the trail had remained paved, and still smooth and wide. It really made for a pleasant ride as I mostly had the entire path to myself.

I kept going further, hoping to get in 30 miles today. There were nice homes backing up to the trail and several larger properties that had horses. Lots of citrus trees and even a few pecan trees grew in the yards. All were laden with fruit but none had any hanging within reach on the trail side.  I figured that other people had already picked those. 

On and on, things were going great as I passed into Chandler. Now it appeared I was on the Paseo trail! We have several long trails in the Denver metro area that traverse different cities but the trail name always remains the same. You'd think they would have done that here as it would have made it easier to follow.

Suddenly I saw a sign that said this trail was ending in a few hundred feet. WHAT???!!! More challenges. 

As I reached the end of the pavement I thought I could see it starting up again in the distance. A cyclist heading my way confirmed this. But first I had to bike a little dirt and cross over a set of railroad tracks which I walked. Asphalt had been laid next to the tracks but the edges were about 3 inches thick making it difficult to bike over. 

Once on the other side, I found good pavement again.

All 3 cities claimed that they were bicycle friendly communities, but they all could improve their trails. For example, the street crossings and access to bathrooms. But it was a peaceful ride and I was enjoying myself a lot. 

I had hoped to get in a full 30 miles, but with the late start, by 2:30, I knew that there was no way I could manage that distance and get back home before 5 pm. I'm just not that fast of a rider. The sun sets early at this time of year and I didn't want to be out here in the dark. So as soon after I crossed underneath I-202, I turned around. 

Now I was just reversing my steps so I knew the drill with all of the messier street crossings. With it now being rush hour, they were even busier.

But I had no issues and before I knew it, I reached bike route 1 where I turned off of the trail. I only had a few miles to go now as I wound around the neighborhood and past the fishing pond. 

It was 4:30 when I pulled up to our site. 28 miles in the bank! 30 would have been nice, but I was tired and very hungry as I had forgotten to pack an apple. I only had a few nuts and pretzels in my pocket to snack on. 

Don helped me put away my gear and then we walked over to the community center to listen to a country band. We wanted to check them out as they were performing again on Thursday night at the Las Palmas Grand dance. 

Well, the band was good and we enjoyed the music but decided to forego going to that dance since all we'd be doing was country dancing. While we enjoy a little of that as a change of pace, we'd prefer more traditional ballroom music. It's kind of hard to get a country band to play a tango!

The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. Don made fajitas on the grill which hit the spot. Later we watched more the Picard series. If you are a Star Trek fan, this is worth getting. It's available on Amazon. 

The waterfowl on the Greenfield Park fishing pond was quite varied today. Today this egret was strutting along the shoreline.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Don't mind me, I'm just drying off!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Today the American Widgeons were heading for the shore to get a handout.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Thank you Town of Gilbert for this much needed break!
Heart 0 Comment 0
This was one of the nicer comprehensive maps I found along the trail.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Nuf said!
Heart 0 Comment 0
This small farm also had a nice little free library including a bench.
Heart 0 Comment 0
I was surprised to see this cell phone tower that was disguised as a pine tree. Mostly we see the palm tree ones but this tower was next to a stand of some type of pine.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 831 miles (1,337 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 1