Tucson - Amado, AZ - South of Tucson - CycleBlaze

December 27, 2018

Tucson - Amado, AZ

I'm happy to report that I did not wake up coughing during the night. I could have slept longer, but it was 6:30 when I started coughing. That's excellent. Perhaps I've turned the corner? Now my nose is running like crazy. The chafing was noticeable when I applied sunscreen this morning. Sunscreen! We have blue skies and we are riding to Amado.

It's going to be quite cool by Arizona standards, with an unfriendly wind. That's a shame. But we are on the road. I will be sure and post a photo of my new setup. I took the handy little bag off of my top tube to help compensate for the extra pannier weight. What a laugh I am. That bag probably weighs 3-4 ounces! However, I was always just slightly annoyed because it would flop just a little one way or the other and not sit just so on top of the tube. Now it is gone.

It's interesting after all of these years of touring that I keep changing my set up. Except for the very beginning, when I would do crazy things like stuff a handlebar bag full with everything I was taking and leave for 70 miles with two water bottles (!), my gear set up and choices have been reasonable. Available gear has changed so much over the years, it's hard not to take advantage of improvements. Steve and I were talking about lights and how they have changed with lithium batteries and LED bulbs.

It may get warmer the longer I stall, but the wind is not going to be my friend today. More from the road - I will be sure and take a photo of my bike!

I can't tell you how many times today I thought of the lovely tailwind assisted ride into Three Points. Today I battled a 12 mph headwind the entire flat distance to Amado. That pretty much sums up the day. It was blowing when I left the motel and kept blowing the whole way. I did appreciate the sunshine and lack of rain. I took a loop around the airport, which was traffic free, before heading south. I also took Abrego Road once I hit Green Valley, another slight deviation. My original plan included riding Mission Road for more climbing, but I just wanted to get to the B&B before the wind built up more. Wind or not, Jacinto was looking for miles. He rode up Madera Canyon Road. 13 miles each way. He's not back yet.

As usual, the closer I got to town, the hungrier I was. I ate an apple and a bar, hoping to keep hunger at bay. Nope. I was hungry. I went on into Amado, planning to stop at the convenience store. I saw two little food trailers at the intersection. One sold hotdogs (we've seen lots of hotdog trailers in Arizona) and the other had tacos. There was a cyclist pulling out of the taco trailer. Norm Culver (Carver?) stopped to chat. We must have talked a half hour. He is another snowbird in Arizona, but from Colorado. They go back home on April 15th, when it's nice and warm here.

I went to the taco stand and ordered a carne asada burrito. $7.00. I debated getting Jacinto one, but I knew he was carrying two. Unfortunately, the stand closes at 4 PM, so we can't have a burrito for dinner. We had been planning to eat at the Cow Palace, but Norm said there was a big storm and flood and the restaurant was flooded out. Indeed, I could see all of the chairs lined up in the back lot.

I took my burrito to go and rode on over to the Amado Territory Inn. We had stayed here last year with all of the guys. I know tonight's stay would be far less fun. No hanging out on the patio, drinking shots with the guys and watching the sunset.

I checked in and discussed which porch area was best for my bicycle. I got a glass of wine and a rag for the bike (in that order). I looked at Strava to see where Jacinto was. My burrito is long gone and I'm ready for dinner!

I kept telling myself today that it was a good riding day because I was riding and the sun was shining. So true. But wind can suck the joy right out of the day. The forecast for tomorrow at our planned destination of Patagonia is worse than this side of the mountain. Wind 15-17-19 mph, colder temperatures, climbing, and a longer mile day. Our airbnb lodging there is paid for, but it's a little travel trailer, so I don't feel too bad about missing out. We will have a headwind (the irony) again tomorrow going back to Tucson, but that's my plan. I told Jacinto if he wanted to ride to Patagonia anyway, I would drive the van over.

Another idea I had was to ride to Tucson tomorrow, then drive to Sierra Vista. We can leave the van there and ride to Benson, picking up the tour at that point. We would avoid the highway riding (not a huge deal) and have wheels in Sierra Vista. I like that idea, as it's a larger town. I don't mind being on a bicycle in our typical touring towns that have a couple of restaurants and motels to choose from. Big towns like Tucson and Sierra Vista are more accessible by motor vehicle.

This is turning out to be a rather odd tour, having the van. But I'm all about fun this trip. I had a rotten summer with my assorted bicycle woes and I'm just out for a good time. Any miles I can get in the winter are good miles. I don't have to torture myself riding 56 miles with a 20 mph headwind because that was the plan. I can change the plan! It's allowed. I said so.

We are thinking to come back next year, not making any reservations at all, but probably staying a week in Tucson and another week in Sierra Vista and doing day rides. Check back next year and see if that's what happens.

I'll do an evening update after Jacinto gets in.

Evening is right. Jacinto didn't get in until 6:30, well after dark. He has a good Dinotte taillight and an excellent flashlight that can double as a headlight, but he didn't take the time to get it out. Luckily the frontage road close to Amado doesn't have much traffic.

Jacinto battled the same wind I did. I thought he might not do the Madera Canyon climb because of the wind, but he did. Jacinto said it was 14 miles to the top and only the last 3 miles were steep. He said there were lodges all along the way, full of bird watchers. He was happy at that point. On the way down he had not one but two flat tires. I haven't asked to see the tubes yet, but it sounds like one might be a faulty tube. It had a giant hole. I want to see if it's on a seam. But Jacinto just stuck the tubes in and didn't really check for why he had the flats. Oren, this is the tire that I bullied Jacinto into buying in Nelson, BC. He carried it the rest of the summer and finally put it on the front of the bike . . . early last summer? . . . then when he admitted the rear tire with the blue showing through needed changed, he rotated the Nelson tire to the rear and put a brand new one on the front. So, this is an old, but used tire. Goat heads are bad around here. Who knows why he got the flats. Maybe after dinner we can look at the tubes.

Jacinto said all sorts of people stopped to offer to help. Five cars on the first flat. With the second one, he was ready to take the offer, but it was two people and two dogs in a small car. At least he didn't have more flats. I'm still wondering if it's a spoke, but he didn't check the spokes. Jacinto said it was windy until dark and then it died down a little.

Now we are going to dinner. The only place is right next door where we ate last year. It was expensive and has maybe six things on the menu. Being bicycle tourists, quantity is our first desire. I guess we could see if the convenience store has a can of chili. . . .

More later.

I ate a ribeye steak for $25. It was worth every penny. Jacinto had chicken pasta that he said was good. Although he still complained about the price. A couple was just leaving when we arrived. I don't know the back story, but they got a $20. credit on their tab for something.

The usual start photo, with Jacinto drinking coffee and me ready to ride. Admire Jacinto's nice haircut and shave.
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Scenery on the way. We will be on the other side of the mountain tomorrow.
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Is this a mutant barrel cactus? There were a number in the landscaping of homes on Abrego Road in Green Valley. Bill to the rescue - that is a golden barrel cactus, endangered in the wild. Plentiful in Green Valley, AZ.
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80 year old Norm was ready to enjoy the tailwind back to Green Valley.
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I've had a shower. My glass of wine is full and it's time to write the journal.
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Jacinto said only the last three miles of the climb up Madera Canyon were steep.
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One of several lodges in Madera Canyon. Jacinto said it was a worthwhile ride.
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The cyclist with two flat tires gets to see the sunset. We don't have palm trees in Colorado!
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Jacinto arrived well after dark with a story to tell.
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Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 167 miles (269 km)

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