A trip to the Boneyard - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

December 29, 2021

A trip to the Boneyard

Yesterday was unexpectedly cold but beautiful, but today we’re back to grayer, cooler and damper conditions.  It’s lightly raining when we wake up but showers are due to end about nine.  We both plan to get out on our bikes once that happens and it warms up some but we have different ride plans in mind: Rachael will bike out to the end of Julian Wash and I’ll come up with some half-assed exploratory ramble around town that puts in enough miles that I can claim it as a workout.

As we wait for the day to warm up, the end of showers keeps pushing out - nine turns to ten, then ten turns to eleven.  Finally I wheel Rodriguez out of our apartment around noon once the lying Weather.com app tells us the rains have ceased for the day.  While I’m pulling on my gloves and waiting for Garmin to wake up it starts sprinkling again.

It’s cold and damp by Tucson’s standards, but our friend Lynn in Eugene reminds us of how good we have it down here. So we aren’t whining, really - just observing and documenting the situation.
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The clouds above are broken though, and there are even a few patches of blue scattered about.  So I ride, starting by going east through the university campus again, the same appealing route we biked yesterday.  Weather conditions evolve about as I expected, and for the first mile or two I bike through several brief showers that last only a few blocks until I’m in the clear again.  It’s actually turning into a pleasant day to ride, as long as I’m dressed for it and not feeling too ambitious.

The Arizona State Museum. Until now I’ve just been attracted by its pretty face but I see it must be worth a step inside. Established in 1893, it’s the oldest and largest anthropological research museum in the U.S. Southwest.
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The view west through the Main Mall gives an inspiring view of the Tucson Mountains.
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Curving Arcades (Homage to Bernini), the strangely evocative work of art by Athena Tacha placed at the main entrance to the university. It was highly controversial when it was first placed here forty years ago, with some dismissively describing it as a collection of tweezers or wishbones.
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Rachael leaves the house not long after I do, but enough later that the rains must have ceased by then.  She’ll return about three and a half hours later, her 42+1 miles behind her and feeling cold from biking into the wind, congested, and in need of a warm shower.

My own plan for the day is a 42 miler also.  Starting with a ride southeast through town past the airport, I plan to stare through the fence the chain link and barbed wire fence surrounding the Boneyard, the huge assembly of mothballed aircraft that we saw from a distance up in the national park last week.   After that I envision continuing on east to Harrison, joining the loop, and possibly even intersecting Rachael’s ride in time to bike home together.

A nice idea, but one that remains just an idea.  I find all the usual reasons to dawdle on my way through town to the Boneyard; and by the time I finally arrive there I’m behind schedule enough so that it’s clear I won’t catch Rachael, whose position I can helpfully track on the Garmin.

The Boneyard occupies a large part of a huge swath of restricted access land that includes the Air Force base.  I bike as far as about a mile east of Kolb Road where I finally get as good a look as I can expect, but by now I realize I need to change plans.  There’s no public access across this swath, so I can’t just shorten the ride and bike south to the Loop - I have to either stick with the plan and continue on to Harrison, or backtrack seven miles all the way to Alveron.  With a bit more time or ambition I would have picked up the pace and continued on; but I’ll be in big trouble if I’m late getting back for dinner so I just turn west and head home.

Which is fine.  It’s no 42 miler, but I’m less statistics-obsessed than my partner; and 25 miles in three hours on a cold, grey day is still very impressive - no?

Reflecting on the Banner University Medical Center, I see that it’s evolving into quite a nice day.
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On Randolph Way, on the attractive bike path along the margin of the Randolph Dell Ulrich Golf course.
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I know it’s just a golf course, but with its pines and eucalyptus it makes an attractive green space in the heart of the city.
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The Epes Randolph Memorial, in Epes Randolph Park. Randolph, who lived his final years in Tucson, was a civil engineer and an important figure in building railroads in the southern U.S.
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On East Arroyo Chico, just north of Reid Park.
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At the junction of East Arroyo Chico and Country Club Road.
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As I followed the western border of Reid Park a sign warned to watch out for burrowing mammals. It was accurate.
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‘Cancer, There’s Hope’, a memorial sculpture in Cancer Survivors Park near the Reid Park Zoo.
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At the entrance to the Reid Park Zoo.
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There are a couple of small ponds on the southeast corner of the Reid complex. One is inside the golf course, hidden behind trees. This one is viewable from the west, and included a few shovelers and ring-billed ducks off on the other side. Unfortunately the other side of the pond borders the police department and is off limits to the public - as an officer came by to politely remind me as I peered through the fence for a better view. No scofflaw I, so I cheerfully thanked him for the information and biked off.
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Bill ShaneyfeltSiders
https://tucsonherpsociety.org/amphibians-reptiles/turtles-tortoises/pond-slider/
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4 weeks ago
Finally, the Boneyard. A vast complex, of which we’re seeing only a small corner of it.
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A second view into the Boneyard.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be P-3 aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_P-3_Orion
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4 weeks ago
Rich FrasierYour tax dollars at work
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4 weeks ago
And a third for good measure.
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Bill ShaneyfeltC-130s for sure. Been in and around lots of them. In the system since mid-50s, I believe, and still going. Upgrade after upgrade.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_C-130_Hercules
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4 weeks ago
Found in the Lost Barrio - another roadrunner. Nice shadow!
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Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 1,153 miles (1,856 km)

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