Friday, November 13, 2009

End of Leg 1

I've made it to Tucson! Not only is it incredible to finally have a few days off of traveling, to be with friends, have a house to take over (I plan on baking much of today!), but this also signifies the end of my southern journey; from here its east I go! This is also the last somewhat familiar place I'll be in for a long time. I spent a little time in Tucson a few years back, but have never ventured east of here. The southern states are a complete mystery to me. I'll soon see if all of my preconceptions about them hold any truth! One more big milestone is that today is my two month anniversary; 62 days out now!

Here's a brief run-down of my travels from the last entry:

Although my time in the trees was very short-lived, it was much needed. I loved riding through the ponderosa pines (reminded me a bit of the Cle Elum area), I even found a tiny little lake to enjoy a break at. It had been a long time since I'd seen water and boy did I miss it! However, I was informed later by Gene that Arizona only has one natural lake, so everything I saw was man-made, sad. I did finally get to scrub some of the dirt and grease that had long been caked to my legs, though it was too cold for any more washing.

My first lake and real trees!
With some wonderfully long descents, and a few good climbs, I made my way westward. I made a stop at Montezuma Castle, a very well preserved ruin. Then it was off to Prescott.

Montezuma Castle
I camped just outside Prescott at a very nice closed FS campground at Lynx Lake (another dammed lake).

Hmm, after 18 days without a shower my hair is very stylish! There is a good reason I wear a hat all day everyday.
Riding into Prescott the next morning, I met Ed, a local bike-shop owner in a coffee shop. I stopped by his shop later, though could barely find it as it was literally a whole-in-the-wall. Prescott is a pretty nice town, nice green center square surrounded by shops. However, they did already have a tree decorated for Christmas, hard to believe, especially with the hot weather out here.

Ed in his shop. Yup, that's all there is to it.

Sunsets and rises are spectacular out in the desert!

From Prescott, I rode to Gene and Dawn's house in Phoenix (a couple I'd met biking the Pacific Coast). It was wonderful to see familiar faces and hear stories from the rest of their bike adventure. After nearly three weeks without a shower, getting clean was also much appreciated. Having recently returned from their bike trip, they knew just what I would be craving and were excellent hosts. Dawn made fantastic food, manacotti and salad for dinner and fresh muffins and "monkey juice" (banana smoothie) for breakfast! It was so good to have real fresh food and variety (I'm in a food-rut). Gene mapped out a great route for me to get out of the city and they rode me out a ways the next morning. I was actually surprised at how nice the riding was, not much traffic and a number of bike-lanes, maybe Phoenix isn't as bad as I've always imagined it.

Gene and Dawn as they rode me out of town.

I'd hoped to make it all the way to Tucson in a day, but that didn't quite work out. The ride ended up being about 50 miles more then I expected and the heat got to me. It was the flattest day I've ever seen though! Realizing I wouldn't make it in a day, I stopped for a jug of cold lemonade, and a waited out a little of the heat visiting Casa Grande National monument. There are just so many ruins out here.

Casa Grande NM

I really am in the south: cotton fields! I think these are the first I've ever seen.

I've gotten into the cactus. saguaro and lots I don't know everywhere. It's actually pretty neat looking.
I made it into Tuscon yesterday early afternoon. I found a beautiful, empty house (everyone gone at work) and made myself at home. It feels so good to have a place to relax in and have access to everything I need to catch up on-things do seem to pile up when you're on the road. I'm looking forward to letting my body rest, do a bunch of cooking, plan for the next section of my journey, and take care of my neglected gear. It's so good to see Billie again and be around friends for a little while!

I'll try and get on again today or tomorrow to do a two-month reflection, but it's overwhelming to be on the computer for too long!


  1. Hey Doll, nice hair!
    This is the first time I've seen a place to respond, has it always been here? I'll try it out, let me know if you prefer it to email or v.v. It's great to see the email too from you as it's a good way to know something's been added.
    2 months seems to have gone fast and to be long also. Wish you were coming home for T-Day, where will you be? Can't wait to see and hear you at Christmas.
    Watch out for coyotes of any species please, and PS you can always set your own pace and change the rules so nothing says you can't come home when you want. Even plane tickets can be changed, for a price that's probably worth paying if you need an extra day or 2 or sooner for that matter.
    Do you have a place in Austin, or need one? I do have some connections there, not as 'family' as Houston, but still could ask/arrange if you wanted. I'll be in Austin for a week in Nov 30 to Dec 4 so probably miss you, regrets to that.
    Hugs and love,

  2. Hi, Robin. Rosemarie (your grandma) has shared with me so many stories about you, and most recently, she told me about your bike trip. How inspiring! Thanks for allowing me read through your blog and I look forward to meeting you in person some day soon.

    Take care, and have fun!