Looking ahead - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 19, 2021

Looking ahead

We’ve been in our new home for a week already now, and we’re starting to count down the days on our stay here in Tucson.  In three weeks we’ll start working our way back north to Portland - not really imminent, but we’re starting to think ahead to prepare ourselves so we’re not rushed at the last minute.

Today I took the Jetta in for a tune-up, oil change and safety check.  We’ve put quite a few miles on it this past year, far more than we’d have imagined before the pandemic arrived.  Like us, Old Paint is getting up in years - it’s a 2000 model with 190,000 miles on it now - and we want to make sure it’s fit for the drive back so we don’t get stranded in some awkward location with a breakdown.

Bruce will be disgusted to hear that we scheduled an appointment at a local Firestone store, but it has its advantages.  The company has the records on the car so they know it’s maintenance history far better than I do.  And they know our phone number - it’s a bit disconcerting to call up a shop in Tucson and have them greet me by name when they take the call, and ask which car we’ll be bringing in (they still have the records on our long-gone Subaru Legacy also).  

The shop I’ve scheduled an appointment for is up north on Euclid Avenue.  As an aside, does anyone know the background on how Euclid Avenue got its unusual name?  I’ve learned that it was renamed to this from the original ‘A’ Avenue in 1926, along with the renaming of a number of other central streets.  You have to like a town that will name one of its main throughways  after the Father of Geometry.

I dropped the car off at 8:30, and went off solo for a ride along the loop: east up Rillito Wash, then along Pantano Wash, then south on the Harrison Greenway to Valencia.  And back.  By the time I returned to the Firestone store I put in 46 miles.  Nothing dramatic, just a good way to fill the hours while the Jetta was getting serviced.

Rachael put in her own ride, of course - a 42 miler out to the end of Julian Wash and back.  I was careful to congratulate her on her nice little ride when we met up at home again later in the day.

Looking east up Rillito Wash. we haven’t seen many skies like this here this winter, but change is in the air. There are a couple of rain days forecasted for this week, which will be a blessing if it happens. This has been one of the driest winters on record here.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Here’s another sign of change. Yesterday brought our first curve-billed thrasher of the tour, and here’s another just one day later. I’ll see three more before the end of today’s ride. Coincidence, or are they starting to settle in for the coming spring?
Heart 3 Comment 3
Bruce LellmanI feel like I've seen this photo before.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou’re right! I included the wrong photo!
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanWell, it's a great photo.
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1 month ago
Oops. As Bruce perceptibly noted, the photo above is yesterday’s bird, reposted in error. Here’s the real second thrasher of the tour. Mea culpa.
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Another happy couple. Yes, spring is definitely in the air.
Heart 4 Comment 5
marilyn swettNice shot Scott! I love seeing your incredible pictures. What kind of camera are you using?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo marilyn swettHey, congratulations on figuring out the comment function! And thanks. I’m using a Panasonic LUMIX ZS60. For me, it’s the ideal camera for cycle touring. It’s a high quality compact superzoom - small enough to fit comfortably in my jersey pocket, but with a powerful enough zoom so that you can take a decent wildlife shot if you’re lucky.
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1 month ago
marilyn swettTo marilyn swettI also use a Panasonic Lumix - a DMC ZS25. Same size as yours but not as good a zoom. I can carry it in my fanny pack while riding. But if I zoom in too closely, it can fuzz out the pic on the computer screen
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanYes, you are a great bird photographer, Scott. Wildlife in general but birds in particular. But this image makes my feet hurt.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanIsn’t that remarkable though? I should take note of the foot action the next time I see one of these land. It must be a challenge to find a safe toehold.
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1 month ago
A plumped up cactus wren. It is a bit chilly today, come to think of it. I like the resonance between those claws and the barbed wire.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanWrens are always cute but this one is especially cute!
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1 month ago
Northbound on Harrison Greenway. Still grey ahead, but the sky is starting to open up here and there.
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I like a bit of cloud cover in the sky, at least when it’s still bright enough. It shows off the colors on the Rincon Mountains more than just another boring blue sky.
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Found in the Lost Barrio. You wouldn’t know from the looks of it, but this is a well stocked Italian deli. We have some appealing take-out meals in our future.
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So what’s next?  There are too many unknowns yet to commit to anything, but we do have a pair of plans in mind.  Plan A starts with a trip back to Southern California for week-long stays at both Borrego Springs and Death Valley.  These were stays we intended to make on our way south to Tucson, until California’s Covid crisis worsened to the point that it was no longer viable.  After Death Valley we’ll cross east to Southern Utah, stopping at the Grand Canyon on the way, and spending about a month there before the final drive north at the end of March.

We’d love to go through Borrego Springs and Death Valley on the return home.  If anything it sounds even better now than our original planned visits since there’d be the hope of finding the desert in early spring bloom.  The closer we get to departure though, the more doubtful this plan looks.  Southern California is still locked down, with no end in sight yet.  The Death Valley lodges and campgrounds are all closed, so unless things turn around quickly we’ll need a different idea.

Option 1: the Grand Canyon and Southern Utah, by way of Borrego Springs and Death Valley.
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Plan B begins by going east through New Mexico, with stops at Bisbee, White Sands National Monument, and Albuquerque.  After that it doubles back to the Grand Canyon and ties into the same remaining itinerary as Plan A.   This sounds very appealing too, but weather will be more of an issue.  It’s higher elevation, and we’ll be pushing the season more this way.  We may find ourselves shivering in Albuquerque, wondering why we didn’t just stay a few weeks longer in Tucson; but after two months here we know we’ll be getting that yearn to wander.

Option 2: the Grand Canyon and southern Utah again, but by way of Bisbee, White Sands and Albuquerque.
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Ride stats today: 46 miles, 900’; for the tour: 2,198 miles, 75,500’; for the year: 17 riding days, 748 miles, 21,500’, and 1 flat tire

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 2,051 miles (3,301 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Bruce LellmanWell, that changes everything now knowing Firestone keeps your phone number on file!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYes, I was sure that would be a draw for you. It is nice though that they have a record of prior servicing s and maintenance.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonOh, yes, I forgot to mention that that other stuff is nice as well. I might have had a different opinion of your taking your car to Firestone if I had known they kept a record. I wonder if they kept a record of how they screwed up my tires many years ago.
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1 month ago