Cascabel Road - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

January 8, 2022 to January 9, 2022

Cascabel Road

Yesterday’s rides

Yesterday we cooled down after our big climb with mundane rides on the Loop.  Rachael went north to Marana again, coming home with another 47 miles to her credit.  I frittered the morning away creating daily stage rides for the new itinerary from Barcelona to Calais until finally getting out the door about 1:30.  I headed southeast toward Julian Wash, thinking I’d just put in enough miles to loosen up; but even though the legs felt sluggish for the first hour some life eventually returned and I decided to continue around the horn of the Loop, dropping down Harrison and back along Rillito.  

The day was cooler, windy, and partly hazy.  Looking up at Lemmon it was easy to imagine it being much colder and less hospitable than the day before.  We certainly picked the right day for our ascent.

We had a dinner reservation at 6, and by the time I stopped plodding and picked up the pace it was about 3 and I still had thirty miles ahead of me.  I more or less raced home, arriving at the door precisely when the phone rang - it was Rachael of course, calling to tell me to hurry up and get home so we wouldn’t be late for dinner.

Other than that, not much to report - except that water was running in Rillito Wash again, presumably as  a result of fresh snow melt from the warm conditions on the day before.  And I saw a bunny - woo, hoo!  And a bobcat.

Descending Harrison Wash, looking up at Mount Lemmon. It’s hard to tell from the photo but it’s cooler, breezier and hazier today. Fine down here but perhaps not so much five thousand feet up.
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Found in the Rillito Wash.
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Bobcat in the small wash emptying into the Rillito near Mountain Avenue. Not the best look because of all the brush in the way, even though he wasn’t far away as he slowly prowled up the wash before flopping down in the sand.
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Kelly IniguezThere are two? You have me beat!
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezNope. Just one. It’s a composite photograph.
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7 months ago

Cascabel Road

Another beautiful day today.  We’re ready for some variety in the routine again so we hop in the car and drive east to Benson.  An hour later we leave the Raven at the back of the large LDS parking lot and start biking north on Cascabel Road.

We’ve biked Cascabel Road once before - two years ago, after catching the morning train to Benson from Tucson at the start of a loop east through Tombstone, Bisbee, Douglas and Sierra Vista.  I remember it as a beautiful, quiet ride north up the San Pedro Valley, an out and back to the end of the pavement.  Rachael doesn’t recall it specifically, so I pull up the previous ride to refresh her memory.  We look at the photos together, replay the video, and she’s convinced.  It looks like it should be a beautiful ride, alright.

Leaving Benson, northbound on Cascabel Road.
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And it is.  It’s just as fine as before, maybe better.  I fall behind almost immediately, as I knew I would, when we bike through Pomerene with its quirky collection of oddities to snatch one’s attention.

An impressive collection of empties, Pomerene.
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Bruce LellmanYes, one must sometimes be brave to be a photographer.
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanNot so brave. I checked with them first and complemented them on their fine collection.
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7 months ago
The cream of the crop.
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Say what?
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a little brown bird...
Maybe a type of tyrant flycatcher? Possibly an ash-throated flycatcher?

Great photo!
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltHaw, haw. Got you! The hint’s in the caption.
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7 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltI "Say," it still looks like a little brown bird... I recognize that I am a "phoeble" birder.

Admittedly, I looked closely at both before my tentative ID and still missed.
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7 months ago
Jen GrumbyLove the composition of this one. So common to see multiple birds on one horizontal wire.

Single bird on multiple vertical wires turns the world upside down!
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7 months ago
Great to see the green Dodge is still here two years later. It’s nice when your favorite places don’t change too much.
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Bruce LellmanI love this color!
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7 months ago
A corrugated crane, for Bill to ponder.
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In Pomerene.
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Beyond bustling Pomerene things quiet down considerably.  There’s pretty much nothing for the next fifteen miles other than a few mailboxes, a scraggly pecan orchard, and desert.  It’s a beautiful ride though, which does count for something.  The road generally follows the San Pedro River, traceable by the line of grey-green alders or willows that make you imagine how gorgeous this must be in late autumn when they’re all golden.  Beyond is the backside of Rincon Peak, more colorful and interesting from this side than the dark profile it gives to Tucson.

Rachael and I touch base a few times when she stops to shed layers and for other matters, but other than that we ride on our own until the end of the pavement.

We’ve been warned. If we die of dehydration out here it’s on us.
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One more for the mailbox collection.
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The view west across the San Pedro River to Rincon Peak. Fronting it is a smaller range, the Little Rincon Mountains.
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The view north: the Little Rincon Mountains first, then Mica Mountain.
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At the high point of the road, an awesome view northeast to Mount Graham.
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Gammon’s Gulch, an old west ghost town/movie set. I biked down to check it out, and was told I was welcome to join the tour in progress if I cared to fork over a Jackson. I didn’t care to, with so much else to see for free.
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Yes, it’s another one of those roads
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Jen GrumbyBeckoning!
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7 months ago

The pavement ends roughly twenty miles north of Benson, but the road continues on to Cascabel and Redington before finally wrapping around the north side of the Catalinas to Oracle.  It doesn’t look too bad, really - 35 unsealed miles, all generally downhill until you finally find pavement again.  I imagine it would be a fantastic ride with the right bike, frame of mind and equipment.  It might make a good overnighter: catch the train to Benson, overnight in a motel in San Manuel, and bike back to Tucson the next day.  Something to consider for the future, maybe.

Not today though, since the Raven is waiting back in Benson among other considerations.  We spread out Rachael’s jacket on the gravel pullout, eat our lunch, and bike south again.

Rachael tests the waters beyond the pavement, and comes back to report that they’re not so fine. Guess we won’t continue on to Cascabel and Redington today.
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Biking south under an apostrophe sky. That’s the Mae West Peaks in the Little Dragoon Mountains off on the right. Not sure where that name came from.
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Jen GrumbyApostrophous clouds .. a rare sight!!
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7 months ago
Crossing Tres Alamos Wash.
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Video sound track: Jarabi, by Yasmin Williams

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Ride stats yesterday: 44 miles, 1,100’; today: 39 miles, 1,800’

Today's ride: 83 miles (134 km)
Total: 1,491 miles (2,400 km)

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marilyn swettWe've biked that road a couple of times and had hoped to make it to the old west town/movie set this year but it didn't work out. I don't mind biking 40 miles, but 83 is more than we care to do! I agree that it's a beautiful area and nice road to ride!
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7 months ago