Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tucson Musings

Courtesy of

It's difficult to say when we arrived in Tucson; it has been, what you might call, a series of soft landings. There was the week of September 4-11 when we hotelled it at Varsity Clubs of America at Alvernon and Speedway. That was the week we made serious tracks with Liz Ryan, our interior designer/decorator.

That was the week we were amazed, surprised, and pleased to discover the civility of drivers and store workers, including those at places the likes of Staples, Circle K, and Ace.

It's the culture here for cars to NOT race through yellows. They simply stop and wait for the next green. They also do not race ahead of cyclists and then cut them off to make a right turn.

Left turn arrows are, for the most part, trail the green light. But what's totally an enigma for me is that some left turn arrows lead the green, sometimes the Leading Arrow is announced by signage, and sometimes not. Moral of the story: do NOT assume you know the light patterns. 

Dedicated bike lanes are omnipresent and drivers are omnicourtesous, for example slowing to make their right turn to let the cyclist clear the right turn zone. By the same token it is the culture here for cyclists to wait patiently for the red light to turn green. No cyclist even thinks about running a red.

Store workers smile and greet you every time you walk in any store and ask if they can help you find something, even if it's just a Red Bull or a MousePad.

That same Labor Day week I rode 300 amazing AZ miles. Locals said it was too hot to ride a century, but I said "Bring it on, I've been waiting a LOOOONG time to feel the warmth." 

 We left Tucson September 12 not to return for nearly 2 weeks, our renters' lease still being operative until October 1st. September 25th was another soft landing date--back to the same Varsity Clubs of America. More work with Liz Ryan, lots of work on Kirk's part to refinance the mortgage, multiple trips to the Motor Vehicle Division to get Driver's Licenses and Car License Plates, lining up health care professionals, and on and on.

October 1st was another soft landing date: the date we took official possession of 2399 E. Blue Diamond Dr., at least in the eyes of Waste Management, Tucson Electric and Water. October 1st, in came the tradesmen of all flavors to put fans in the ceilings, install custom bookcases, closet interiors, and brilliantly beautiful colors on the walls. After 39 years of parsonage life, no more egg-shell white on every wall and ceiling.

Riverwalk Townhouses

October 8th was another soft landing date, but actually not really soft. That was the first night we slept in our own place. Only problem was we didn't have a bed yet, so it was floor camping. Our bed count since June 26th was 44 different beds in 27 different states.

October 10th was the hard landing--our Chicago furniture finally arrived, along with 103 boxes many of which are Kirk's books and that was after he purged 50% of his collection before leaving Chicago. We had said bye-bye to our furniture on June 24th, 3-1/2 months earlier.

And so began the joy of discovering what was in all of those boxes and figuring out where it would live at 2399. Thanks to Liz Ryan we knew where the furniture would go, but all of our newly ordered furniture won't be here for 8-12 weeks. So, it's not quite floor camping, but we're not entertainment ready either. ;-)

And so, in between unpacking boxes and multiple trips to Bed Bath and Beyond I've ridden about 1,700 miles most alone, but some with our son, Daniel, a few with the Tucson Recumbent Group, a few with Arizona Cyclist Shop (got handily dropped on the Twin Peaks climb), and looking forward to riding with "The Dogs" next week.

Along the roads I've seen moles, shrews, rattlesnakes, hummingbirds, coyote (up real close and very personal), mice, rats, but no javelina yet. Shots from the road:


Once Again

Shades of Sunset

Another Sunset

Need a Vacuum?

Says It All (p.s. not mine)

The 0.15 mile path from our Townhouse to the Rillito Path

One of the many "washes" that fill with water during the monsoons

A portion of the once mighty Santa Cruz River. Most of the Santa Cruz in Tucson is a dry "wash".

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Season Passed

For 40 years we loved everything about Chicago, except the winters. It was home for our careers, childrearing, Rotary-ing, cycling, growing, celebrating, learning, and cheering for the Cubs (alas to no avail). June 26th we embarked on our 99-Day-Trek-To-Tucson right after lunch, right after Kirk preached his last sermon at Trinity United Methodist Church in Wilmette. I had wrapped up my Recovery Coaching Practice just days before. October 1st, 99 days, 12,400 miles, 27 states, and 44 different beds later we reached Tucson where the I can ride 365 days a year, the skies are always blue, and we’ll be only 8 miles from our son, Daniel, and his family. These past 99+ days have been about our shared Trek-To-Tucson so I have not posted in Bentwanderings. But, we're here now, Tucson is home now: I have an AZ Driver's License (they didn't even make me take an eye test) and a new cell phone number with a 520 area code. If you'd like to read about our Trek you can catch the blog here: Trek-To-Tucson