Still Hunting for Those Cranes! - Ascaping Covid and Winter in Arizona - CycleBlaze

January 6, 2021

Still Hunting for Those Cranes!

We stopped at this wildlife viewing area near the Apache Power Station south of Wilcox in hopes of seeing some cranes. But it was a no go. There was water in the distance but you couldn't even walk near it to get a closer view.
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Today we followed Highway 186 again toward the Dos Cabezas Mountains. Dos Cabezas means "2 heads" which you can clearly see in this picture.
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Nothing but ranch land out here.
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Just a minor issue today was a broken zip tie on our fender.
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Highway 186 just stretched endlessly up into the mountains.
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Not much growing in this desert except for occasional Soaptree Yucca.
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Wilcox bills itself as the cattle capitol of the world. Not sure I would go that far!
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What a disappointing day! 

We awoked to a beautiful sunrise, and after breakfast, drove east toward the Dragoon Mountains. Don took the exit off of I-10 onto Dragoon Rd just to check it out for a future route. It didn't look too bad so we'll add it to our list. 

That took us down into the valley south of Wilcox where we headed to a wildlife viewing area by the Apache power station on Highway 191. Don stated that no way would he ride on 191 as it only had a little rough shoulder  along with lots of traffic. Since we're only doing day rides and not touring, we're kind of particular about the routes we choose!

We had thought we would park at the wildlife area and bike around some of the orchards, but we nixed that idea based on the condition of 191 and the fact that we would have to ride over a mile of gravel just to get back to the highway. With the narrower tires on Garfield, Don would prefer to stay on pavement.

Although this viewing area claimed to have views of the playa, and we could see water in the distance, it was impossible to see anything with the naked eye. We did hear one crane fly by, but that was it. I think binoculars or a special camera lens would have helped. 

So what to do now? Since we were already near Wilcox, we continued on into town and then south onto Highway 186, the one we had biked on the other day. It goes to the ghost town of Dos Cabezas so we thought we might park in that town and then bike back toward Wilcox. 

Unfortunately the smooth surface and wide shoulder we had experienced before didn't continue past Kansas Settlement Rd. It was chip seal and so rough we could feel it in the van! In addition there was no place to safely park in Dos Cabezas which consisted of just a few homes. 

Don did suggest we drive further to the Chiricahua National Monument which we do want to see at some point. But it would have taken the rest of the day and I really wanted to do some type of ride today!

So we drove back to Wilcox where we parked at their town park and headed south again on 186. We did try to ride a bit of that road past Kansas Settlement Rd to see if was truly as rough as we thought. But we gave it after a short distance and just rode back into town. It had been such a disappointing day so far. 

Once we had loaded up the bike, we drove north of Wilcox on a road I had spotted on my map - Fort Grant Rd. It looked like it went quite a ways through another area of orchards and farms. We decided this might also be a keeper as many of the side roads were also paved . 

Since we hadn't done a long ride, when we returned to camp and had taken some showers, we practiced some dancing before the sun set.

It seemed to me as if many of the possible cycling routes we've chosen to do in this region have not been great due to road surface and traffic. And then you add in the crappy weather which lead to a somewhat disappointing experience. 

Today's ride: 13 miles (21 km)
Total: 424 miles (682 km)

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Scott AndersonFort Grant Road: +; Chiracahuas: +++.
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6 months ago
marilyn swettTo Scott AndersonI think we'll explore more of the area north of Wilcox. But it looks like there is only one paved road going to and into Chiricahua NM? The tandem doesn't handle dirt or gravel well, so we steer clear of those.
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6 months ago
Scott AndersonTo marilyn swettThere is only one paved road, but it’s well worth biking. No shoulder if I remember correctly, but there was very little traffic either. Here was our experience: https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/tucson16/day-ride-from-pearce/.
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6 months ago
marilyn swettTo Scott AndersonThanks for the link to your other journal. We'll add 181 and the monument to our list if we can find a place to park for an out and back ride. FYI - your replys to me are being duplicated on my computer, so I get 2 of every message you send?
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6 months ago
Scott AndersonTo marilyn swettThe emails are a mystery to me. Do they come to the same email address? And do you experience this from others’ comments as well, or is it just me?

As far as the Chiracahuas are concerned, I think you could just park at the visitor center and bike either direction: east and up to the end of the pavement at Masai Point,or the other direction back toward Pierce or Dos Cabesos.
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5 months ago
marilyn swettTo Scott AndersonYes, they are coming to the same e-mail address and you are the only that it seems to be happening to. Thanks for the tip on the AZ riding, although I like the idea of biking downhill at the end of a ride.
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5 months ago