Tucson day ride Santa Cruz Park Path - South of Tucson - CycleBlaze

December 31, 2018

Tucson day ride Santa Cruz Park Path

I'm still taking the cough NyQuil medicine. I sleep hard when taking this. Typically when touring I don't sleep as well. Perhaps some of it is jitters from the anticipated ride. Also a factor is sleep in a non familiar place. All of this trip (except Patagonia where I had run out of NyQuil), I have slept like a baby. A friend says NyQuil is addictive and he had to wean himself off after his illness passed. I hope not. In the meanwhile, Good friend Harpo pointed out that honey fixes a cough right away. Too bad my ten pound bucket is at home and not with me. Maybe I wouldn't have even gotten sick if I'd been at home, following my usual eating pattern. At home I have honey daily.

On to today. We planned to be down to breakfast early, so they wouldn't be out of things. That didn't happen. We were there at 8:30. Sausage and eggs weren't even a choice. Oren, who would think I'd be sad that they didn't offer prefab sausage and eggs? Instead they were supposed to have sausage gravy and biscuits. Except they were out of gravy. I ate hard boiled eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal. Jacinto ate nothing, he would have leftovers. He tried calling the first Mexican restaurant from last night (the one that was take out only) to see if they were open on New Year's Eve and we could get a couple of burritos. Who knows if they aren't open yet or if they are closed for the holiday.

I'm getting out now, before the wind gets too bad. I've routed myself a 30 mile round trip along the bike path. It repeats what Steve and I did yesterday. I hope with Bertha's help, I won't get lost. I looked at the details on the computer, I think I can figure it out. I will have a headwind coming back. A more ambitious person would drive to the northern point to catch the strong south tailwind coming back. That would mean loading the bike up and finding the start point to the north. Too complicated for me. I will fight the wind instead and cuss.

I'm off. It's 46 degrees and sunny out here. At home it is 19 degrees and snowing all day.

Later - That was a nice ride! The wind was far less of a factor than I anticipated and I rode an extra ten miles. I had routed myself 30 miles with Bertha, retracing a piece of yesterday's ride with Steve, then branching off toward Marana. Looking closely at the path, it didn't seem to tricky. Jacinto said to just go for it and figure things out, but I'm not that kind of girl. I don't like bonus miles because I get lost.

Of course, I managed to get on the bike path on the wrong side of the wash. It's the wrong side because Steve says one side has more road crossings and the other side goes under the roadway for interruption free riding. That's the side I want. I quickly reroute. I pedal on, happy with myself for braving the urban environment alone. It is one thing to navigate rural roads and another to ride in the city. I have limited bike path experience and what I have has taught me that they aren't signed well enough.

I continue on my way with a nice tailwind. There were a few cyclists out, but not too many. I saw one trike today and one tandem. Otherwise I saw perhaps 10-15 diamond frame cyclists. At mile 9.3 on my route, there is a branch that says 'scenic route'. I wasn't brave enough to check that out without Bertha's prior permission. I just looked right now. It appears there's a short bicycle path loop that swings out and back in at about Silverbell Road. That would have been a short diversion - but it's hard to tell when you are at the intersection.

I came to a complete 360 loop (El Camino del Cerro) which routed me under the road, yep - I remember this from yesterday. I felt like a real Tucson pro confidently riding forward. I needn't have felt so confident. Soon I was to Rillito River Park, with three paths coming together. I took two incorrect paths, before I could finally see where Bertha wanted me to go. I'm pretty sure this was the spot where Steve and I turned yesterday, that's why I so confidently went the wrong way. This time I wanted to continue north. Which I did, until I came to a path closed sign. It was one mile short of my intended turn around. A cyclist passed me without hesitating and took a left on the road. Probably I could follow him and get on the path? But it was only one mile and I could make that up by trying to find my way down Julian Wash. I turned around. Into the headwind. But it wasn't as bad as I feared. Lucky me.

I was feeling quite happy at the lack of wind. Then I came to a bush WAY overgrown into the path. Wait a minute. I was doing something wrong. I did not pass an overgrown bush before. Bertha likes to stick to the plan. She was not happy about my skipping the last mile and keep beeping at me. She wouldn't recognize that I was still on route, taking the return trip. So, she wasn't giving me cues for the return. I thought that would be ok as I had JUST ridden this. But, no. I was lost. Luckily not too lost, It was easy to go back to the Y and take the other leg.

I passed a couple decked out in club gear. I wasn't sure if they were taking a break or if they were lost, but if they were lost, I wasn't much help. Not far down the road, I came to a puzzling intersection (it was that big 360 circle). As I was looking at my phone, the couple pulled up. The lady asked me if I knew where I was going as her boyfriend with two maps was lost. At least Bertha was tracking me live. Even though she wasn't giving me cues, I could see if I was going the correct direction. I correctly navigated us down the loop and under the road. Score one for me! The couple pedaled off. Then I passed them a bit further down, the man was studying his phone.

At this point I had decided to try some of Julian Wash. I knew that it would route through South Tucson and be confusing. It was a relatively nice day and I was in Tucson to bicycle.

The couple had passed me and stopped again. I stopped with them. We hadn't been talking long when a man pulled up and asked in a friendly tone if they were lost again. It turns out this man owns one of the BMX tracks in town and he was checking out the competition's new . . . rails? . . . the lost couple was from Philadelphia, they were here visiting the parents, who live over by Sabino Canyon.

They all continue on, the BMX guy saying as he passed by that the best speed is the fun speed.

I'm almost to Starr Pass Blvd (my road), when I see Jacinto across the wash on the other bike path. He's hauling ass, pedaling standing up. That's Jacinto. I yell to get his attention. Nope. Try to call. No service. Darn. I will just have to tell him I saw him.

I'm starving (what's new, when cycling?). I dig out a bar and decide yes, I do want to try Julian Wash. I'm not ready to call it a day yet. I cross under Starr Pass Road. On the path sign I see 4.7 miles to Valencia. That's a road name I know. I will ride down there and back to get 40 miles. No such luck. I got as far as Ajo Way and the path was closed. It did look like I could cross the very busy street and pick the path up again, but I decided to backtrack to Julian Wash and try that.

That's where I went wrong. Too much back tracking. I recognized a park we went through yesterday. Luz something park, named after a woman. I was just thinking that Julian Wash wasn't so confusing after all, then it wanted to spit me out onto the street. Yep, I was to the street section. I'm not doing that. I turned around and went through the Luz park . . . then I came to a three point intersection that I didn't recognize from this direction. Like last time, I try all three points. None really work. I look at the RWGPS map. I can't even find myself on the map. Panic bubbles up. Don't be silly. There's A Mountain. There's the interstate with the sign that says Starr Pass Blvd. I'm within spitting distance of where I need to go. I just have to figure it out. Jacinto just doesn't understand how I get lost. I told him he has worked for 25 years as a bus driver going here and there. His internal compass is finely honed. Mine is not.

I took a deep breath. I see a loop through a park. It's a loop, so it doesn't get me where I want to go, but it adds some distance. I take that, just to prove to myself that I'm tough. Not too tough. I see a homeless man. He pays me no attention and I tamp down the fear. There's been a few homeless, only one even spoke to me. A women with a sign saying 'anything helps' told me Happy New Year. I ride the little loop and end up back at the three way intersection. Looking at the map on RWGPS isn't helpful as I can't figure out where I am. That was part of my panic. I couldn't see the blue dot showing my location. This time I see it. I decide to ride forward. Yes! This is the correct direction. I think I've scared myself off of trying anything new tomorrow.

I get back to Starr Pass Blvd. and go under the road. That puts me facing traffic for two blocks before I can get on the sidewalk. That is quite scary. Every car heading toward me looked like it was going to hit me. Even though I was on the designated bicycle lane (but going the wrong way). The other choice would have been to cross five lanes of traffic. This seemed like the easier option. I got on the sidewalk as soon as possible.

I had 40 miles in at the motel and I was starving. I was wondering how many leftovers were left after Jacinto ate. I got in the room. Jacinto left two burritos on the desk. Plus there was still Chinese food in the fridge. Should I shower first or eat? How about both? Take a bite, take some clothes off, take another bite. I don't know how I get so hungry riding. It's not like I never eat . . . .

Later - Jacinto just arrived in. He rode the loop all by himself and didn't get lost at all. I don't know how he does it. He said even the city part wasn't a problem. He just followed the green painted lines on the street. I don't know how he does it. Jacinto can sniff out the right way to go, like he's following the scent of fried chicken.

Michael from Philadpehia said they rode Saguaro Park yesterday. It's officially closed because of the government shut down. But he said cars and bicycles were going through. The bathrooms were locked and there wasn't any help if anyone has a problem.

I'm interested in changing motels because this one doesn't have as good of a breakfast and is in a worse part of town (seems to me) than our place by the airport. Plus if we change locations, I can try a new part of the loop or even the Saguaro Park. But Jacinto is happy here because it's an HD TV with HD service. The internet is good, that I will agree. Plus there's the lazy factor of not needing to pack up and move. We have two more nights here before we head home.

My hip issues continued today. cycling isn't a problem, but getting into a standing position and the first few steps walking is a real issue. I have to walk bent over for the first few steps and I lurch along like someone in the movies. Google didn't have any good suggestions for sudden hip pain, no injury.

Jacinto won't even exit the room for the start photo, he says it's too cold out.
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These were all over today. Bill says - brittlebrush.
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One mile short of my intended turn around, I saw this sign.
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Our lodging is at the base of 'A' Mountain. There is a road winding around and around to the top. Steve says it's only a couple of miles, but plenty of climbing. I've pointed it out to Jacinto. Let's see if he rides up. The mountain is rather strangely covered in saguaros. No saguaros around anywhere else, but look how thick they are on the mountain slope.
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A decoration at one of the many little parks along the loop.
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I spent my time today riding this path. I had aimed for 30 miles, but conditions were favorable and I rode 40. Go, me!
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There were only a couple of these plants and they weren't blossomed out yet. Bill says desert globemallow.
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Today is December 31st, time to eat all forbidden food in anticipation of good food behavior in the new year. This package of M&M's has been hiding in the van, waiting for a weak moment. I felt obligated to eat them, so as to remove temptation for 2019. Are you falling for my logic?
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Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 304 miles (489 km)

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