Julian Wash: Beyond Rita Road - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 2, 2021

Julian Wash: Beyond Rita Road

Another day, more blue sky, another 42 miles on the Loop.  Yawn.  We’re on the Loop again today partly because Rachael’s toe is still bothering her and she wants to keep the flexibility to bike at her own pace or just turn back if it bothers her too much; and partly because it’s still the holiday weekend and we want to save some of the road rides we have in mind for quieter days.

Still, a very nice day.  You could pretty happily ride the Loop every day, I’m sure, and we’re nowhere near bored by it yet.  And Rachael’s foot didn’t trouble her enough to slow her down, big surprise.  And, we found a new part of the Loop network that we didn’t even know existed before now!

At its south end, the loop follows Julian Wash upstream from The Santa Cruz for fifteen miles until reaching Rita Road.  From there it turns north to connect with the Harrison Greenway.  Before today though, I’d never noticed that the bikeway continues further southeast along Julian Wash beyond Rita Road for at least a couple of miles.   Rachael knew, because she followed it for a short distance on our first ride here this winter (adding just enough to round her ride up to 42 miles, of course), but I hadn’t understood where she had gone when she explained it to me later.

This new stretch is lovely.  The pavement is unblemished and must be very new, and passes through a flat, open expanse of creosote, ocotillo and jumping cholla.  We rode it for about two miles before turning back, but it continued on.  We’ll have to return and ride it to its end and report back, because we can’t tell how far it goes yet: it’s not shown on any map that we’ve seen.

Undaunted, the intrepid Rocky leads the team through the maw of the rattlesnake.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyIt's a bridge that looks like a snake
To enter may be a mistake
But in Rachael rides
Leaving Scott on outsides
With his shaky hand on the rear brake.
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1 week ago
Another view of Rattlesnake Bridge.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Andrea BrownI love this bridge so much.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownI do too. It’s a great town for bridges, but I’m pretty sure this one is my favorite here.
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2 weeks ago
This is on the newest section of Julian Wash Greenway, the extension beyond Rita Road. It extends for at least 2-1/2 more miles, as far as Houghton Road. We didn’t bike far enough to see if it continued beyond that. It doesn’t show up yet on any map or satellite view that I’ve seen.
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Kelly IniguezAsk and you shall receive -

at mile 35.1,we were pleasantly surprised to find a bike path when we expected to ride on the busy four lane.

https://ridewithgps.com/trips/60498521 - a different ride, I stayed on the path as far as possible, just to see where it finishes. I am a little confused though (how easy that is), because I remember riding to a finish point that was in the middle of a field, not finishing at a road. I've looked through all of my recent Tucson rides, and can't see one with an odd finish in area of Houghton Road.

So, here I am thinking am giving you new/good info, when perhaps you will go ride it and find differently. It will be a small adventure in a familiar place!

BTW, it was 9 degrees here this morning and 22 when I forced myself out for a walk. My legs were happy for a change of movement, but I could have done with warm Tucson temps!
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2 weeks ago
Lunch break, Julian Wash. The eastern end of this trail has some of our favorite miles of the whole system. Open, quiet, with well spaced spots like this to stop and smell the creosote (or so I imagine - does creosote have a distinctive smell? It just sounds like it must).
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Bill ShaneyfeltYes, creosote bush does have a characteristic aroma. Pick a leaf, mash it between your thumb and finger, then sniff! When it rains in the desert, you get a bit more of the aroma. I really miss that!


Other desert shrubs have wonderful aromas as well. One of my favorite things when hiking is to pinch off a bit of a leaf as I walk, and sniff.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThat must be amazing. It’s so odd to know there’s this dimension (as well as taste) out there that I can only imagine.
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2 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetI often wondered why the plant is called creosote bush, because I associate creosote with the wood preservative used to protect pilings from marine borers here in the Pacific Northwest. According to Wikipedia, "the whole plant exhibits a characteristic odour of creosote, from which the common name derives." You wouldn't recognize it, Scott, but I'm sure I would if I ever got near the plant.
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltCreosote bush tastes bad... Take it from me. When I was 10, we moved from Ft Wayne, IN to Mojave. Shortly after arriving, we camped outside town and built a fire. Creosote wood is absolutely wonderful for a fire! Makes good coals quickly that stay really hot a long time due to its incredible density. However, I cut nice hotdog roasting sticks from branches, and we cooked them over the wonderful coals... Then we proceeded to eat the hotdogs that had absorbed the solubles from the sticks and choked them down, but learned never to use creosote bush sticks for cooking hotdogs or marshmallows ever again!
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2 weeks ago
I really like the perspective you get of the Tucson Mountains here, with those dragon-tooth peaks rising above the desert.
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Our polygon for the day: a stylish, stilted rectangle.
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Another quadrilateral, a poetic trapezoid in weathering steel this time.
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At the Kino Environmental Reclamation Project again, where we saw the ring necked duck a few days back. This time, a pair of buffleheads. Such a funny name - makes me think of plush toys.
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He’s a bit far off for a good photo, but I like the way the enormous bill of this shoveler duck reflects in the water. It gives a good look at its unusual shape.
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Ride stats today: 42 miles, 1,200’; for the tour: 1,556 miles, 53,300’; for the year: 2 riding days, 84 miles, 2,300’

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