Marking time - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

January 5, 2022 to January 6, 2022

Marking time

With the main event of the winter cycling season coming up in two days we decide to ease off and enjoy a pair of easy and relaxed days.  I’m better and more disciplined at this than Rachael: yesterday her ‘take it easy’ routine translated into a 44 mile out and back to the end of Rita Road, reasonably flat and easy riding but still not what most folks would think of as a day off for a middle-aged, sixty-something old lady.

For myself though, I really do take it easy.  By the time she returns from Rita Road here’s me still sitting at home working away at redrawing routes for the New Plan.  You’d think that what’s essentially a reversal of the original 9 month ride from Nice to Barcelona would be a pretty straight-forward task but it takes a surprising amount of time and thought.

 By the time I finally get out the door it’s nearly 4:30.  That doesn’t leave much daylight left, and Rachael reminds me to be careful and be sure to be home before dark.  She doesn’t want to have to ride from Barcelona to Nice on her own, knowing all the difficulty she’ll have with navigation.

With so little time left I content myself with a short loop down the Santa Cruz to Camino del Cerro, the first crossing past the Sweetwater preserve.  I’m hoping that I might see some wildlife on the trail by being out this late in the day, but there’s just a flock of four and twenty blackbirds in the path that keep taking flight as I approach and resettling in the trail another fifty yards on.

Not the most interesting evening for wildlife sightings.
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Eva WaltersWow! Here in Nelson it's pitch dark at 4:30. (Not to mention we got 10 more inches of snow last night.)
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Eva WaltersHaving longer days is a real plus in the winter down here alright. That and the warmth and sun. I wonder if Tucson has ever seen ten inches of rain.
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2 weeks ago

By the time I round the corner and start heading back on the west bank the shadows are growing long.  I risk the Wrath of Rocky by taking a shadow selfie of myself, knowing that there will be hell to pay with her if I crash and kill myself toppling into the wash.  I survive that but I’m starting to get concerned about the lateness of the day so I pick up the pace, stopping only long enough for a short swing past Silverbell Lake.  By the time I make it back to Saint Mary’s and leave the loop it’s well into dusk.

Biking on stilts.
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Bruce LellmanThat's quite nice. It's art! And you're so small.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyAnderson Tall Bike
No welding or extra parts
Only sun angle!!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou’re right, and it’s something I hadn’t noticed. A midget on stilts. I could be a circus act.
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2 weeks ago
Assembling the flock.
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The view east across Silverbell Lake.
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This late in the day it’s an unwelcome development to find myself stopped by a freight train.
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I’m so sorry this low-light photo didn’t come out clearer. It was delightful to see this guy out walking his goats just two blocks from home.
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The team does better today and this time both of us really do have an easy day of it.  There’s talk in the morning of taking a walk together up to the top of Sentinel Peak, but saner heads prevail.  We both decide on a relaxed neighborhood ramble, she on foot and me on the bike.  We both include the delightful Viejo Barrio in our wanderings, a fact which comes to my attention when a text comes up on the Garmin: ‘Let’s meet up”!   I check her position and see that we’re only three blocks apart so I swing by for a quick chat before we continue on our own way.

In the Armory Park neighborhood, just south of downtown.
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Armory Park is stuffed with colorful, well maintained residences.
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I’m stopped for a shot of this beauty just two doors down from the lime green wonder above when a lady calls out to me. I think she must be wondering why I’m aiming a camera into her window, but she’s just afraid I’m the parking police and I’m going to ticket her van.
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In the Viejo Barrio. We’ve seen this neighborhood before but there’s always more that’s worth stopping for.
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Jen GrumbyLove that cactus! Like snakes crawling out of a pot.
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2 weeks ago
In the Viejo Barrio.
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In the Viejo Barrio.
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In the Viejo Barrio.
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In the Viejo Barrio.
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Susan CarpenterLove this photo - looks like a painting
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2 weeks ago
In the Viejo Barrio.
Heart 2 Comment 4
Bruce LellmanSo, zoom in on that window. Keep the door in the frame to the left and the agave at the bottom. I just love that crop. All the colors have the same hue and the window reflection is great.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyTo Bruce LellmanIs this where I'm supposed to say, "Oh, Bruce .. you're full of crop!"

😉

That is a nice crop.
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen GrumbyThis is so ironic because I almost never crop my own photos so who am I to even suggest such a thing for someone else's photo?!! So, yes, I am full of crop.

I was simply taken by the window's distorted reflection and I had the need to isolate it and after doing that I noticed what a nice composition it was, especially with the blue hue everything had.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyJen, really! What a cutting remark!
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2 weeks ago

After touching base briefly, Rachael continues exploring the Viejo Barrio and then turns north and walks through the neighborhoods up to Grant and back before returning after an easy seven mile walk - probably the least exercise she’s credited in a day since the drive south from Portland.  She needs it too - at the end of the day her hips are sore and we’re wondering if we’ll need to reconsider our plans for the morning.

I leave the Viejo Barrio by biking south a ways on the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway, cross over to the loop on Starr Pass Boulevard, and then look up.

CycleBlaze meetup in the Viejo Barrio!
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Red bird, on the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI could swear you have posted vermilion flycatchers before, but this one is a great shot!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermilion_flycatcher
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltYou’re right - several times before - but I’m happiest with this shot. For a pocket camera and a small bird, it’s pretty good.
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2 weeks ago
marilyn swettAnother amazing picture, Scott!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo marilyn swettIt’s a little odd, when I look at it again. He looks like he’s been impaled by that branch. He’s probably really a plush toy.
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2 weeks ago
I liked the look of this worker up on a warehouse rooftop along the greenway. Looks like a winter snow scene.
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Jen GrumbyIncredible!!

I wondered what a snow photo was doing in this AZ blog.

Do you know why the roof looks squishy around this person's feet? Plastic-type cover?
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYou might be right. I was thinking it was a trick of the light, but maybe it is a layer of white plastic. I’ll have to bike back and look again.
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2 weeks ago

This is our fourth winter here in the last six years, and somehow I’ve never been to the top of Sentinel Peak.  It’s not much of a climb - maybe about like Mount Tabor back in Portland, easy enough that if fits into my definition of a rest day.  It’s about as I expect, with huge views down across the city and to the surrounding mountains.  The surprise is how quiet it is.  I haven’t come up here before partly because I imagined that the car traffic might be a problem, but it’s very quiet because I’m arriving while the road to the summit is still gated so that only walkers and bikers can pass.  If I come back I should look up the schedule on the gate to see when it’s barricaded.  And, some promising evening  we should play the tourists and drive up there before dinner and enjoy the sunset.

Looking across the Loop to Sentinel Peak (the ‘A’ Peak).
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Tucson from Sentinel Peak.
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Looking north to the Tortolita Mountains.
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Oh, good grief - it’s another crested saguaro, right alongside the road. I should come back again with the hiking pole and scramble down the steep slope far enough to get a face-on view.
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Many of the saguaros on the south side of Sentinel Peak have a very strange, grotesque look. I don’t remember seeing ones like these.
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Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 1,362 miles (2,192 km)

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