Sierra Vista - Benson, AZ- intended but not ridden - South of Tucson - CycleBlaze

December 29, 2018

Sierra Vista - Benson, AZ- intended but not ridden

This is an interesting tour this year. It has driving components. Yesterday I bicycled to Tucson and then drove to Patagonia while Jacinto bicycled there. Today, he will continue on bicycling to Benson, while I leave the car in Sierra Vista and bicycle to Benson.

Steve is rejoining us in Sierra Vista. The 50% chance of snow is not deterring him. The forecast in Tucson is at least ten degrees friendlier and sunny. Jacinto is determined to get our money's worth out of the prepaid rooms. Next year? Not even one prepaid room. Remind me!

We are having breakfast at the Stage Stop. I've ignored Jacinto the entire time to update this. Breakfast was delicious. Steve and I have been texting back and forth. He's going to join us anyway. Steve is tough for joining the fray when he's over there in sunny Tucson! Tom said it's way too cold for an Arizona boy, he won't be joining us. I've been emailing with Michael H. from Chicago. The three of them were in Sierra Vista tonight. It's possible we will see them on the road.

OK - time to face the cold. It's 23 degrees here. I'm not sure what time Jacinto is leaving. Hopefully it isn't snowing in Sierra Vista. It's 'only' a 50% chance. Benson will be cold, but doesn't say snow.

8 PM edit - There have been so many version of this tour, my head is spinning. I'm not sure it's a tour any more. We had a great start with the Arivaca loop. Then the weather changed.

It was sunny and cold when I left Patagonia. Jacinto was set to ride. The sky looked promising. As I drove toward Sonoita, I could see a giant black cloud on my right, at Sierra Vista. That was worrisome. But Steve said the weather was supposed to be no snow in Benson (our end point). The 50% chance of snow turned out to be a strong 100% with fog. Not good for cycling and mix in a strong wind for fun.

Steve and I arrived at the motel in Sierra Vista. It was snowing hard, the wind was blowing, and it was 33 degrees. This is all doable. Steve used to commute in New York and I'm a year round cyclist in Colorado. But that doesn't mean it would be fun. Did I really need to ride in these conditions? Not so much. Steve suggested we drive to Benson and do a day ride in the area. I asked if we could go check on Jacinto first. Calling him would be easier, if only T-Mobile had service. We drove all the way to Sonoita with worsening conditions. I mistook a yucca in the fog as Jacinto standing at the side of the road. Where was Jacinto? Sonoita is pretty small we looked all around. There's his bike! Parked at the convenience store, along with a group of 15-20 motorcycles. I was relieved to see his bike. We went inside. All of the motorcycle riders and Jacinto were squashed in the little store, trying to warm up. It was a bustling place. I didn't even need to convince Jacinto that riding 40 more miles in these conditions was an iffy proposition. He was happy to take the ride. Steve had room on his trunk rack for another bike and an empty back seat.

While driving toward Benson, we discussed our potential day ride. I was expecting the sky to clear up. The snow eventually quit, but the sky didn't clear. By the time we did all of this back and forth, I was hungry. We checked in at the motel and asked the clerk for a suggestion for lunch. We ended up at Adolfo's Mexican Food, a little fast food place close to Safeway. I had the special, two fish tacos, with rice, beans, and a drink for $7.00.

We sat and talked a long time. I think none of us wanted to voice the obvious. It just wasn't a nice bicycling day today. Finally we called it a day and started talking about tomorrow. I was determined to ride the loop around Tucson before leaving town. Tomorrow looks good. The current version of the story, which may well change, is that Jacinto is going to ride from here to Tucson. He doesn't mind riding on the interstate and he doesn't want to get going as early as we do.

Steve and Adele have kindly offered more than once that we could stay with them, but we got a room right downtown this time. Next to the bike path. Steve would drive with me to the motel and we would start riding from there. He has promised me multiple taco stops along the way. I don't think tacos were mentioned to Jacinto, or he might have chosen to get going early with us.

We spent the evening eating ice cream and drinking Brennivin. Not at the same time. I checked the weather several times in several locations. Tucson was the lowest elevation, so it looks the friendliest. There's another storm moving in on the 31st. Unfortunately. We briefly discussed going home early, as this just doesn't appear to be our year. The storm on the 31st must be a big one, as it's expected to snow at home on that day, with a low temperature of below zero. It might not be typical Arizona warm, but at least it's not below zero! Steve says winter here usually lasts two weeks and we happen to hit that time frame.

Those are our current final plans for the morning. I hope, hope, hope I get to ride the loop. Check back for many wonderful photos of the day.

Breakfast at the Stage Stop was delicious. We were the only customers.
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Sitting in the parking lot of the Quality Inn at Sierra Vista. We were supposed to start cycling here. It didn't look promising. You can't see the wind blowing.
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Driving with Steve to find Jacinto and see if he needs rescued.
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We found Jacinto at the convenience store in Sonoita, warming up with hot chocolate. The lump under his jacket is his camelbak. I'd like to add that I forced him to bring the jacket. Jacinto insisted he wouldn't need it in Arizona. In the end he wore it daily. If only he had brought the Buff and warm gloves.
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The calvary to the rescue.
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