Arrival - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 14, 2020

Arrival

We left Wickenburg this morning with the thought that we might take a hike in South Mountain Park, on the western outskirts of Phoenix.  When we got there though and saw the number of cars already there, we thought again about leaving our car with the bicycles and gear in an unguarded parking lot for a few hours and decided to just drive through to Tucson instead.

We arrived in Tucson at 1 and went straight to the HUB Restaurant, where Rachael had reserved us an outdoor table for lunch.  It’s sunny, windy and 65, but unfortunately the restaurant is on the shady side of the street.  It was just a bit chilly sitting there in the wind, but the meal was great.  I’m sure we’ll be back here again before we leave town, wearing an extra layer.

Cool meal! Grilled salmon, with bourbon dijon molasses, roasted potato hash, garlic sauteed spinach; and fettuccini with chicken, corn, tomato, onion, poblano, cilantro, queso fresco, elote cream sauce.
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Kelly IniguezI had to check out The HUB, since it was in your favor. The reviews on the ice cream look interesting. Did you try the chocolate whiskey? A friend in town suggests Sweet Tomato - salad, soup, pasta, and pizza. He also said there are many Indian restaurants that are tasty. We aren't in the land of 'one restaurant and we are happy it's open'. Today I ride!
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezNo, we stayed on the shady side of the street and the thought of ice cream didn’t sound too cool to us. Another place we’ve eaten so far that felt safe and we liked was El Charro. I’m sure we’ll go again.

Enjoy your ride. If you’re heading out toward the Oro Valley, we’ll watch out for you. After today we’ll be out of town for three days.
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4 weeks ago
Kelly IniguezToday we are by the airport, since we flew in yesterday. I am riding to the south. A ride of convenience down to Sauhrita and back on Mission Road. It will be SO, SO nice to get back on the bike. I haven't had a single ride in December. I should get moving. Like you, I don't want to get caught out when the sun sets.
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4 weeks ago

Afterwards, we drove over to our new home for two or four weeks, depending on how you look at it.  For the next two weeks we’ll be staying in this delightful place in the University District, just north of downtown.  It’s like that beautiful casita we stayed in last winter, only even better.  It’s an interesting linear structure, with three segments: a squarish living room that’s roughly 20x20; a narrow kitchen at the waist, 10x20; and at the back the large 20x25 bedroom, with a squarish 10x10 cutout for the bathroom.

Another place large and well organized enough that we could take up long term residence.  But it’s only for two weeks.

Our hacienda on Hazel Street.
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The front room - literally.
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A confusing photo of the kitchen, with the left and right halves stacked. There was no place I could stand to get a whole-room perspective.
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The bedroom at the back, looking inviting in the glow of the afternoon sun.
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The study, adjacent to the bedroom.
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This would be ideal, if there were only a washer and drier.  Which there is!  If you open that back door from the bedroom, it leads to an outdoor utility area, tucked in next to the ocotillos.

The plein air utility room. It’s a shared facility, also available to a second, smaller unit behind it.
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So.  Two weeks, four weeks, what’s that about?  Well, there’s a funny story there.  When we first plotted out this trip south, we always intended to work our way to Tucson.  We booked a place for two weeks, planning to be here over New Year’s after spending the previous three weeks between then and our stay in Morro Bay with a week in Death Valley, another in Boulder City, and then Christmas week in Borrego Springs.

When the stay-at-home order for Southern California came through, we decided we couldn’t count on staying in either Death Valley or Borrego Springs.  That opened up two weeks we needed a new place to stay, and Tucson still looked like the right answer.  The casita we had already booked wasn’t available unfortunately, so we booked this place we have just checked into instead.  So, we’ll be here two weeks, and then pack up and move to that other AirBnB place for another two weeks.

It should be a pretty easy move though.  After we made this second reservation, our new host contacted us to clarify our intent.  We hadn’t noticed at the time, but our new host is also our old host; and our new street address is also our old address.  When we leave here, we’re moving to that unit out back behind the washer and drier.

So, the relo should go well.  We won’t even have to move the car.

We were just in Tucson ten months ago, and not much has changed in the meantime.  Same old Loop, same old Mount Lemmon, same old roadrunners beep-beeping their way across the bike paths.  We’re going to take a bit of a blog break for the next month, and treat this stay sort of like we do when we’re back in Portland.  We’ll post something from time to time when it feels like there’s something worth saying or remembering, but it likely won’t be every day.

After we unloaded the car, Rachael and I went out walking on our own to explore our new neighborhood. These first few photos are of other casitas on Hazel Street.
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On Hazel Street.
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On Hazel Street.
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On Hazel Street.
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On Hazel Street.
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Great to be back in Cactusland again!
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Bill ShaneyfeltThe 2 in the foreground look like a Mexican barrel species.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinocactus_grusonii

The one behind might be Emory's barrel.

https://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=3016
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1 month ago
One thing that will stir me to post from time to time is the wonderful diversity of plant life here. What’s this?
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Bill ShaneyfeltDoes not look like any native I could find. So far...
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltMight have found it, or a close relative. Mexican olive.

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=cobo2
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltLooks exactly right. Another plant I’ve never heard of. Thanks!
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonSeems like most of what I look up is something I've never heard of...

I guess that would not be too surprising since, according to one source there are over 18,000 native species of plants in the US!

Another source says there are about 50,000 non-native species and of those, 4,300 are considered invasive.

Amazing the info. we now have literally at our fingertips!
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1 month ago
Or this? A fairy-duster (Calliandra eriophylla)?
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Bill ShaneyfeltSome species of fairy duster. In town, and not in the wild, hard to say for sure. It does have a bright red flower, more characteristic of Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica).

https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-taxon=Calliandra+californica
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1 month ago
The Arizona State Museum, on the University of Arizona campus. We could go here, on a rainy day. If that ever happens. And if it’s even open during the pandemic, which it likely isn’t.
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Bill ShaneyfeltU of A (Wildcats)
Often confused with ASU (Sun Devils) of Tempe by those not familiar with the big rivalry. :-)
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltOh, thanks. I’d meant to go back and check that, but was in a hurry to get to breakfast.
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1 month ago
Hanging out on the UA campus. We’re happy to see that mask wearing is nearly universally practiced here in Tucson.
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On the UA campus.
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Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesFunny! I didn’t recognize the word at first, and thought maybe it was a trike brand I hadn’t heard of.
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1 month ago
A collection of doves, beaks downwind. Why would they do that? You’d think they wouldn’t care for the wind blowing up their tail feathers.
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Gregory GarceauYour hacienda on Hazel Street looks like the kind of place I could stay well beyond two-to-four weeks, or even six-to-60 weeks. Nice find.

I'd like to second Bill Stone's recommendation of Organ Pipe National Monument as a great place to bike. It's a couple hour drive from Tucson, I suppose, but the density of cacti, including the namesake organ pipe, is like nothing else in the U.S.
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1 month ago
Suzanne GibsonLooks like a great place to spend two or four weeks. Are you anywhere near Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West? Maybe it's closed for visitors now, but I found it fascinating when we were there several years ago.
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1 month ago
Suzanne GibsonOops, I got that mixed up. Taliesin West is outside of Phoenix, not Tuscon.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonIt depends on your perspective. If you’re in Bavaria, I imagine it looks right next door to us. Closer to home though, it looks like about a 2+ hour drive.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauTwo days in, it still feels like a great place. If we don’t consider what the heat of summer must be like here, it’s easy to imagine putting down roots here.

Two votes for Organ Pipe, from opinions I respect. We’ll definitely keep it in mind when we start heading west and north again.
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1 month ago
Kelly IniguezMake that another vote for Organ Pipe - We did a short tour from Ajo south into Mexico and drove past Organ Pipe. I had fantasies of bicycling it. We stopped, but the road looked too sandy for my recumbent. We didn't even drive through. Jacinto isn't near as enamored of cacti as I am. Wayne Estes did a tour through there years ago and camped inside. He has some amazing photos.
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1 month ago
Kathleen JonesEnjoy your holidays, including the holiday from your daily updates.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanWe drove through Organ Pipe once (by car) and were stopping constantly to take photos. It's truly a unique and beautiful place.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesThanks, you also. And stay well!
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1 month ago