A Mountain Ride - Ascaping Covid and Winter in Arizona - CycleBlaze

December 15, 2020

A Mountain Ride

Today we headed north of Mesa on Bush Highway. We had nice mountain views all around us.
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Ok, enough of the saguaro, already!
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More desert views on this sunny day.
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Kelly IniguezThat's like saying there's too many aspen trees! I never get tired of either one.
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6 months ago
Here we are climbing up Usury Pass Rd. This picture doesn't really show the steepness of the road. It wasn't bad, just a continuous climb for 4 miles. You can see the wonderful wide bike lane that we had for the entire ride today, which along with a smooth highway made for a very pleasurable ride.
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Another shot of Usury Pass Rd. as we head west toward Mesa. Notice the arm sticking out to the side on that saguaro.
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We were up before dawn this morning and watched the sun rise on the surrounding mountain tops. It was so pretty!

However, it was cold out again but with much less wind than yesterday. So we just hung out in the trailer all morning as we waited for it to warm up. 

By noon we were on the road driving to Red Mountain Park in Mesa where we will leave the van to do a ride north into the mountains. 

At first we were on the busy 6-lane Power Rd. which fortunately had a nice bike lane as do many of the roads in this area. We passed by lots of shopping centers and upscale subdivisions. I wanted to see the homes, but they were mostly all walled off next to the road. All I could see were roofs and some orange trees in the yards. 

Eventually the road changed to 4-lane and then 2, but still had a wide bike lane. Nice! Once we were past the interstate the traffic died down and the road changed names to Bush Highway.

There were lots of other cyclists out on this sunny day. With the sun and less wind, it felt much warmer which I appreciated. 

The road had lots of small rollers until we dropped downhill into the Salt River Valley. We really enjoyed looking at all of the nice mountain and desert scenery. Love those saguaro cacti! Don spotted a coyote which of course moved too fast for me to see it. 

When we reached Usury Mountain Rd. we turned back south toward Mesa. We could have continued further north on the Bush Highway to where it deadends at Saguaro Lake. 

Usury Rd. still had a good bike lane as we began a 4 mile long continuous 5-6% climb. This was the first time that we had had a chance to really test out Garfield's climbing ability. While it was slow going and we were in our granny gear, the tandem climbed well as did we. 

Up, up, up we went until we reached the summit and crossed over the shoulder of the mountain. While it had felt warm on the climb, we cooled off again once we began the downhill. That was fun as we barely pedaled at all! 

We just coasted along as we gradually moved out of the open desert and back to civilization. The road changed from 2 to 4 and then 6 lanes with lots more traffic, but the bike lane remained. 

Eventually our downhill cruise ended as we turned west back to the van. Once the bike was loaded up we headed for Home Depot to buy some rope lights that we'll put underneath the trailer. We've been told that having lights on at night beneath an RV will discourage pack rats from climbing up into the unit. These are multicolored so they will add another festive touch to our site!

By the time we got back to camp it was 5 pm and time for dinner followed by a movie. We had really enjoyed our ride today and would recommend this route to others.

Today's ride: 23 miles (37 km)
Total: 115 miles (185 km)

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