Week Five - Hiding From Old Man Winter - CycleBlaze

February 20, 2022

Week Five

Has it been five weeks of warm weather and sunshine already? Overall, the weather wasn't as warm as last year, but I was here for almost five weeks instead of ten days. I decided to head home early. I was getting lonely. I really, really enjoyed my recumbent club friends, but they don't snuggle up on the couch with me under a blanket in front of the fire. I decided to head out Friday, after a short ride to stretch my legs. I drove as far as Holbrook. That left 7.5 hours of driving for Saturday. I used points for a free room at the Quality Inn. It wasn't a great room, the walls needed patching and painting. The toilet ran. On the plus side, I had an entire king size bed instead of a couch cushion. 

Traffic was light the entire drive, even around Moab. I saw snow on the side of the road only. Breaking the 12 hour drive up into two days was much easier than pushing through in one day. Gas prices ranged from $3.65 in Tucson, to $4.05 on Navajo Nation, to $3.45 at home. I spent just shy of $100. in fuel for the trip home. No food, I brought it with me. The room was free with points. 

We had checked flying to visit at Valentine's. When we originally looked, tickets were $176. round trip, either direction. By the time we were serious about going, the ticket price was $600. That answered that question. We didn't visit. Airlines tickets are crazy. 

Three weeks is about the right length of time for me. After that I got too lonely in the evenings. I've made two, three week reservations for next winter. One in January and one in February! Even with the cooler than normal Tucson temperatures, it sure beats riding in Colorado in the winter! I've had one ride since I arrived home. It was 43 degrees. I was dressed appropriately and there wasn't any wind. I rode 22 miles. It seemed difficult. Can the Colorado girl not handle the altitude? Were my brakes rubbing? Jacinto just laughed at me when I mentioned the brakes idea. He pointed out that my flat, short route at home had just as much elevation as the entire 57 mile loop in Tucson. True, but still . . .  

I got ahead of myself there. What did I do in my five days of the fifth week? I rode the loop two last times, once each direction. I ended up with 15 full loops during my visit. I enjoyed each one! Tuesday was a last club ride. That was fun and a little sad. Edna suggested we have a goodbye dinner on Thursday! Wednesday had high wind, I was out the door at 7 AM to beat the worst of it. Thursday, AD and I rode to the top of A Mountain. We got lucky, the lower piece, up to the parking area was quite busy with car traffic. Then, the gate was closed to car traffic. We rode on up all alone, with just a family on foot for company. It was a nice riding experience. I told AD that if this uphill was agreeable, that he would like riding in Colorado. His opinion is that the grade got steeper since his last ride up two years ago. Note that he was in front of me the entire distance! We stopped for lunch at Gentle Ben's Brewery on E University. They offered gluten free buns. I had a fat hamburger! It was just what I wanted after a good day of cycling. AD was a good sport and bought my meal. I wasn't planning to eat out and had only enough money for the tip. Thursday night, we had our party at the Casa del Rio Restaurant on 22nd Street. Douglas said it was the best Mexican food in all of Tucson, and had been there forever. Edna and Dave both ordered chimichangas that were huge! Bonny and John brought me a very appropriate gift, of the guidebook to The Loop, plus three separate maps. Bonny included the hard to find artwork on the loop map. My recumbent friends were a big piece of enjoying my time in Tucson. I look forward to seeing them again in 2023. 

Friday was an oddly relaxed day, for being a driving day. I did a quick 20 miles to stretch my legs. I loaded the bike and made several trips back and forth loading the van with stuff. I took the time to wash laundry and eat. I forgot my extra food in the fridge my last trip. This time I remembered! This trip home the weather had been good. I could take the slightly longer route through Show Low. This avoided the congestion in Phoenix. Give me country highway driving any time! The downside to this route was missing Monument Valley, although there was more subtle red rock to be seen.

Overall, it was a satisfying trip. I could see spending extended time in Tucson during the winter months if Jacinto were retired. He wants to work until 65, so he doesn't have to pay for health insurance. It looks as if I will be going back and forth for a few years. I appreciate my financial ability to do that. 

Now I'm home and have been working on taxes. Ugh. Next up is finishing plans for summer. It's my 60th birthday, I get to pick the route. Alison says on your zero birthday years, you get to make all of the decisions! Who knew? I love it. My choice for this year is to revisit many old favorites around home. We will ride ~2,200 miles over seven weeks in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Big Mountains, Small Towns 

Look at the top left cactus. Doesn’t it look like a comic duck? My daughter says I’ve been alone too long, I’m imagining companions.
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A barrel cactus with three heads.
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A serenity circle near Fort Lowell.
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My last group ride!
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jerry witherspoonGreat human togetherness picture! Thanks for closing out.

spoon
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1 year ago
Almost to the top of A Mountain.
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AD suggested the ride.
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There’s two things to see in this photo. The old Volvo and the inside bike lane. Cars park closer to the street.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice there is a space to keep cyclists from getting doored.
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1 year ago
I presumed this neon saguaro was ancient history. No. It is new-ish. The city paid $67,000. for it (a bargain!). It's on Oracle. Next trip to Tucson, I'm looking for it!
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In Colorado when the trees reach the power lines, they are trimmed. In Arizona, with saguaros, what happens?
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Salt River Canyon, on the drive home. Unfortunately, the wrong time of the day for a good photo.
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Today's ride: 246 miles (396 km)
Total: 1,600 miles (2,575 km)

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Bill ShaneyfeltI'll be watching for your summer tour! Thanks for posting all the great scenery!
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1 year ago
Rachael AndersonI’m sorry to see the end of your journal but I loved your comment about missing snuggling up on the couch with Jacinto under a blanket in front of the fire. I look forward to reading about your birthday tour.
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1 year ago
Bob DistelbergIt's been fun following along. These winter getaways sound like a great idea. Looking forward to reading about that summer tour. Sounds like a great way to celebrate 60.
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1 year ago