So, I wonder how many people just ride out their front door to begin a solo, unsupported 145 mile day ride that is not part of any groupie anything? I know RAAM riders do so. Why, they will even come home from work on a Friday night, hop on their bike and ride 36-48 hours straight with no sleep break. But then, as Perry Stone, Producer of the award winning film, Bicycle Dreams, that chronicles the 2005 RAAM, says: "There is no way these people are normal".
Couldn't find any riders to join me so I sent my route to my Tucson-based son and a riding buddy (Kirk was out of town) so someone would know where to look for me if I didn't show up, and then I took off for a simply delightful ride into the deep desert. Here's a snapshot of the route that doesn't include the from and to my house which adds about 10 miles to what you see.
I love this route (save the first 25 or so miles on Ajo Way full of traffic and oft less than trouble-free shoulders): lots of desert, lots of quiet time, plenty of mostly gentle rollers, Altar Valley, Baboquivari Peak, a 7,730' sacred peak to the Tohono O'odham, and Kitt Peak National Observatory. Arivaca is my turn-around point at about mile 77.
Saw these beauties along the way. The Gopher made it to the other side of the road. The Coachwhip and been injured and was unable to drag his body across the road. All he could do was raise his head and cry for help. Had there been a stick I would have lifted him off the hot road. I felt badly leaving him there. My snake handling skills are now years-ago old.
Seems the population in Arivaca is less than 1,000 and has been a flashpoint for border/immigration issues including the murder of Raul Flores and his 9 y.o. daughter in 2009 by a group of anti-immigration activists in 2009.
In some small places it's the well that serves as a place of congregation, or others it's the community bath. Out here I guess it is the mailboxes.
For me the wood-floored Mercantile is Arivaca, a place to eat my can of tuna, fill up my water bottles, and move on. No bathrooms at the Merc, have to go to the one cafe in town, right across the street. I must have looked like an alien as I walked into the Cafe. Social graces are not the gift of Cafe patrons as two males and the bar maid hee-hawed in knee-slapping laughter as I asked for directions to the restroom. Oh well.
I found a coffee shop about 3 miles further out of town. I hear I might have a more welcome reception there. Next time...
The middle 100 miles of my ride the only motorized vehicles were those of the Border Patrol. Otherwise it was just me, the snakes, the long-eared jackrabbits, long-horned steer, and the 90 degree sun. Speaking of which, I came across this fire in one of the washes on my way out of town. Don't know if it was spontaneous combustion or...but fire hazards are high from now on till next winter.
Amado and Green Valley meant I was within 45 miles of home both a welcome and wistful knowing. Welcome, it was getting quite hot, and wistful knowing that it won't be till Fall until I'll take this ride again. Just as the rest of the nation is clipping into their pedals for long-awaited long rides, we here in Southern AZ will be trimming back the miles. Rides will start at 5:30 a.m. and finish by 9:30 a.m. to beat the heat.
|Tourist Attraction in Amado|
|Pecan Groves in Green Valley|
|I met this guy 3 miles from home. Too much partying the night before. Had to ride bike #2 back to where he left it the night before and then get 'em both bikes home.|
Today was a grand and glorious Day Ride.