Marana and murals - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 30, 2021

Marana and murals

Nearly every day here at this time of year is bikeable, as long as the wind isn’t blowing too severely.  Most days are comfortable once you wait for the day to warm up; others are downright idyllic.  Today’s was in the latter category.  Mild, very comfortable, light winds.  Any direction would make a fine ride, but today we head north along the Santa Cruz to the end of the trail in Marana.  

We’ve taken this ride together four times now (and Rachael has ridden it on her own once or twice also), so it’s a well familiar route by this time.  Still, there’s always something new to make the day special.  Today, I’m startled by a coyote standing on the shoulder of the bike path as I round a bend.  I doubt he was more than fifteen feet from me when he first appears.  I get the camera out, but it’s not fast enough as he quickly slips off into the creosote.

And, the views of the still white capped Catalina range are inspiring.  The views from here are really some of the best, and better than from the Oro Valley ride that passes right beneath it, too close up for a good perspective.

And, it feels perfect sitting on a bench at the midpoint of the ride, eating turkey sandwiches and an orange as we watch a red tailed hawk making lazy circles in the sky (to borrow a phrase).

And, it’s almost a guilty pleasure to realize that the winds have shifted during our break.  One of those rarest of days, when we have a boost from the wind in both directions.  What could be finer?

The north face of the Catalinas, from the Santa Cruz River. Once you get further off from it, you can see that there’s more residual snow up there than you can see from Oro Valley.
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I’m no longer stopping for all roadrunners. Interesting as they are, there are just too many of them to stop each time. This one though, seen below from an overpass, has a different look.
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Jen GrumbyA bird walking tall with its shadow
In Arizona, not Colorado
The shadow's got a big head!
The bird giggled and said,
"I look like a duck! And I'm glad, oh!"
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1 month ago
Just south of Marana the bike path slips past this small formation - maybe the prettiest stretch of the ride.
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Lunch break, near the end of the trail. Our tradional break spot now - I think this is the fourth time we’ve stopped here, soaking in the sun and views before heading home.
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Southbound again, enjoying an unexpected boost from the wind.
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Looking down at the Santa Cruz from the Ina Street Bridge. This is the spot the jacana was hanging out. I thought he’d be gone by now, his habitat flooded out; but he’s just visible in the lower left.
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Those pesky skeeters can sure mess up a photo.
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With the help of the wind, we arrive in town earlier than expected and less tired than usual.  There are still several hours to play with, so I decide to leave Rachael to continue on home on her own while I add a few miles and pick up with the second half of the mural loop I started on a few days back.  Most of these are in the Barrio Viejo, the old historic neighborhood just south of downtown.  This is a beautiful neighborhood, full of color and character.  As I found with the heritage tree quest back in Portland, one of the pleasures of hunting down murals here is that it’s introducing me to Tucson neighborhoods that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

This mural on W. Congress Street by Kurt Schlaefer is based on a poem and art work by a local survivor of sexual violence.
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A long BLM series on the wall of the Mercado San Antonio (MSA) Annex on Grande Ave. The MSA Annex, a collection of shops and eateries housed inside of modified shipping containers, looks like an interesting spot to explore in a healthier time.
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I couldn’t find a label on this sculpture on Cushing Street, but I think it honors the displaced residents of the Barrio Viejo. Much of this historic neighborhood was razed 50 years ago for urban development and to create the convention center.
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He’s got a rattler up his pants.
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A Danny Marin mural covers the back wall of this private residence in the Barrio Viejo.
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A mural on the side of a private residence in the Barrio Viejo, by Jessica Gonzales.
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On a wall of Simpson’s Baths in the Barrio Viejo, this is an old mural from the ‘80s that was recently refreshed.
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Another mural on a different wall of Simpson’s Baths.
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A small mural on the front wall of a private residence in the Barrio Viejo. It looks like a theme from Cretan mythology, in a desert setting.
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Still in the Barrio Viejo: triple Elizabeth Taylors, by the same artist that brought us twin Clint Eastwoods.
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One panel of a long series of murals by Paco Velez Anzueto on a warehouse on Tolle Street.
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Found in the Lost Barrio: the hosts of our current casita, out for a spin with their two dogs. You’ll recognize the one on the left. And, if you need a reminder, Sandra runs the best AirBnB we’ve stayed at here in Tucson, and one of the best anywhere.
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Ride stats today: 46 miles, 1,100’; for the tour: 2,331 miles, 82,800’; for the year: 24 riding days, 1,068 miles, 28,800’, and 2 flat tires

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 2,331 miles (3,751 km)

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