I don't know where I'm going today, but I'm riding. - South of Tucson - CycleBlaze

January 2, 2019

I don't know where I'm going today, but I'm riding.

It is 33 degrees here and -8 at home, -20 is the feels like temperature. Jacinto has a plan to ride Kitt Peak from Three Points. It's 16 miles from Three Points to the turn and then 12 miles up Kitt Peak. 4,343 of climbing. It's hard to say if he can really go all the way to the top or not. Would there be snow? Temperatures aren't friendly, but he's determined.

I'm thinking of a modest 20-30 mile ride, given the cool weather. I can't find anything too new from this location. I thought of riding from Three Points back to the motel, but we've done that ride and it's not so exciting. I considered going as far as I wanted with Jacinto and turning around, but then I would have to wait in the van while Jacinto finished. Better to do something from the motel.

My hip was quite a bit improved last night and all but better this morning. I can lead with the bad leg and step off the curb with it without collapsing. Only last night did it occur to me that I could have called the Teledoc from insurance. That's pretty handy, I've used it before. I can call in and talk to the doctor on the phone. That's good for minor things like colds and getting a prescription called in.Maybe they could have given me a professional opinion on why this happened so suddenly. But, it seems to have resolved itself.

Jacinto loves the buffet restaurant next door. There's nothing better than eating so much you can hardly walk. We are going there for the breakfast in a few minutes. $8.99. We've seen Waffle Houses everywhere in Arizona. I don't think I've ever eaten at one. Perhaps we should give it a try? There's one on the other side of the Kettle Buffet place.

I'm prattling. We leave tomorrow, when it's supposed to be 60 here. The irony.

Later - It's not looking friendly out there. Jacinto has abandoned his high altitude ride for a more friendly one. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29122567. I'm excited about this route. There was a six mile section of dirt at the top, but we figured out to go around it on pavement. I would do this if it weren't cloudy and a mere 40 degrees out. Steve says it's snowing at his house.

4:30 PM - I started out planning to ride 20 miles in the cold. But the sun was out and I was moving, so it was a reasonably pleasant ride. I ended up with 31 trouble free miles. That's correct. No navigation errors! I rode the east side of the Santa Cruz wash to the Rillito Bike Path. I rode almost to Steve's neighborhood, then turned around and retraced my steps. Successfully!

I had one road crossing (Congress) that did not have the helpful yellow box for cyclists in the center lane. Then there were two road crossings with the yellow box half way across for cyclists to wait in.

I counted cyclists up to six. Then it was so long without any cyclists that I forgot to continue counting. Maybe 12-14 all morning? There were a couple of guys wearing shorts. Tom, did you wear long pants or shorts today? I saw one man walking his dog by bicycle today. He was pulling a one wheeled trailer that it appeared the dog could ride in. It seems to me that a one wheeled trailer with a dog in it could have balance issues.

What was notable today was the number of homeless people. Steve did warn us that the downtown area had a homeless population. We have seen a handful. Jacinto says it's nothing compared to the Cherry Creek area of Denver. I don't know if the cold is forcing people to be more visible than usual? Or there's more homeless people on the east side of the wash. I saw several camps with tents up and any number of homeless walking around or sunning. I saw more homeless people than bicycle riders, for sure. None approached me in any manner. I live in a very small town and I read about homeless people, but don't have any first hand experience seeing them except when traveling. I have thought the past few nights that I was happy to have a warm room to go to and I wasn't sleeping outside in the cold, blowing rain.

Now I'm in the room, I've eaten a half of a left over burrito. I wanted to eat two hard boiled eggs left over from the breakfast a couple of days ago. Those I poked in doubt of their freshness, only to discover that they are frozen solid. I'm waiting for Jacinto to get back so we can eat Mediterranian food with Steve and Adele at their favorite restaurant - Zayna's. Jacinto is very doubtful. He would rather go someplace he knows what he's getting. Steve was persuasive that Jacinto would like the food. Our palates are not refined. Quantity is much more important at our house than variety. Steve had mentioned when we ate at the Chinese restaurant that it was New York style - heck, I just know Chinese. I don't have a clue what different styles mean. In Rifle, we have a bunch of Mexican places, a Chinese restaurant and a Thai restaurant. A couple of steak houses. The Thai place is as out of the box as we get. They have sushi. In Rifle!

The original plan had us riding a short day tomorrow and driving a short day. I would still like to ride, but Jacinto wants to get on the road and get most of the driving done. He says if I want to ride, I need to go at 8 AM - which is forecast to be 33 degrees. Let's see if I ride or not. I'd like to stop by and have breakfast with Tom and his wife. We only saw him once this trip and we were (roughly) in the same town.

Star Pass Blvd area is a good spot to center as far as riding. It's two blocks to the bike path and very easy to ride up toward Tucson Mountain or down Mission Blvd. There are 5-6 motels right here that are quite cheap. Probably cheaper than the Quality Inn, judging by their prices on the marquees. There's not really any food here, except for the Kettle Buffet and the Waffle House. Across the wash and up a couple of miles is a Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, etc. with an IHOP and a couple of other restaurants. Those are also right on the bike path. Where we are looks a little seedy and run down. It was a more expensive Quality Inn than the one by the airport.

Out by the airport on Valencia was excellent for food, especially if you like Mexican. It was also good for exiting town to the south and getting to the Julian Wash bike path.

To the east, by Sabino Canyon is the better part of town. There, the Comfort Inn was $109. vs the Quality Inn at Starr Pass being $56. and Quality Inn Airport at $49. Motel prices are like airplane tickets. They change randomly.

The Mariott on Starr Pass Blvd. is running a special right now of $199. a night, it looks like more of a destination type place. Riding from there would be limited by the location. But it does look nice. I bet the have turn down service at night with mints on the pillows.

We didn't end up staying in Sierra Vista, but when we do stay there again, I'm not sure I would go with the center of town location that I chose. When we drove in, I checked the riding conditions. They were not that great - four lane, busy roads. The Rodeway Inn over by the base was in not as nice of an area, but it was simple to get to and leave, being right on the edge of town.

33 degrees in Tucson this morning doesn't sound quite as cold as being at home.
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Jacinto departed before me this morning! He's riding 49 miles, I'm planning 20 (but ended up with 31). Notice his attractive repurposed Ibex shirt as a Buff.
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Bill? I saw quite a few of these on the east side of the wash. I did not notice any on the west side on previous days. Feathery Cassia, says our expert.
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I also did not see any of these painted fish on the west side of the wash. They were painted at random for quite a distance. Then there were a bunch together 'swimming' toward an outlet into the wash. See my last photo today.
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Take the scenic route. Life is short! Plus - this scenic route is flat.
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Bill? This is the single pointy cactus I saw the entire trip. Bill says Cow's Tongue Prickly Pear. That's a fun name. I do not remember seeing another one like it the entire trip.
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This section of the wash had water running into it.
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Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 362 miles (583 km)

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