Visa Run
Heading East towards the Old West

January 13, 2016

Half of today’s ride was on City of Tucson bike paths/routes. The other half was on the super-busy Interstate 10 highway; so a bit of heaven, and a bit of hell.

What happened…

Amanda writes: We woke up to loads of frost outside but were expecting it. Initially I had hoped to leave by 7:30 however we didn’t leave until closer to 9am. It worked out just fine as it had warmed up a bit. Andrew had mapped out our route and it was lovely. During our sight-seeing around Tucson we got a taste of the available bike trails and our route out of town took advantage of them. Our first 40 kilometres was on designated separate bike trails and it was wonderful.

There was the occasional tourist information sign about our surroundings along with a spattering of other cyclists. Along the way we chatted with a couple of cyclists one whom seemed super jazzed about seeing us. Ben was cycling home from work to take advantage of the opportunity to work remotely in the afternoon. It was great to chat with him for a bit before we had to let him head back to work. Along the route we caught a glimpse of the airplane graveyard. I had heard about this before in passing but didn’t realize the magnitude of the facility. Had we known it was so grandiose I think we may have left earlier to actually go in and see all of it. Alas we didn’t feel like we totally missed out because we basically got an air show on our ride out of town. There must be an air-force base close by because the amount of fighter jets and other fancy war planes was incredible. As we rode along Andrew was yelling out the makes and models of the planes which always amazes me … guys just seem to know that stuff. I on the other hand just enjoyed the maneuvers they were performing.

After rubber necking for about an hour watching the air show we completed our time on the bike trails and then headed onto the Interstate highway. It’s not our first choice but there were no other options to get to Benson. The shoulder was good, traffic wasn’t too bad and miles just seemed to fly by. Just before Benson we stopped at a truck stop so I could buy a lotto ticket for a really big lottery with a jackpot of $1 billion! We also bought a six pack of beer that I had a hard time stuffing into my pannier and in the process broke one of the clips. I think it was already compromised as I had been having some problems with it. The timing wasn’t great on the broken buckle as we had just left Tucson where Bike Shop Hub had a store front and they could have helped us out. Oh well, we’ll figure it out. We rolled into Benson close to dark which wasn’t ideal but lucked out when we went to the Safeway to get wifi to call our host and he happened to pull up. We basically followed him back to his place, had dinner and then tucked in to his RV that he had set up for us. As always it’s great to stay with Warmshowers.org hosts because we can hear about their past and upcoming adventures. Jerry was no exception; great guy to chat with.

Andrew writes: Tucson seems like such a nice place, why would I ever want to leave!? Oh wait, because we have to house-sit in Mexico in a few weeks. So with our bags locked and loaded, we set off into the frosty morning air. The temperature soared as soon as the sun came up over the Rincon Mountains, as we cycled along the Julia Wash Greenway which meanders around Tucson – literally. I asked another cyclist who said that when completed, it would form a 113-mile loop around the city! So for us that meant that we got to ride about 35 miles on bike paths, canals, or shared lanes. It was heavenly! We even met a guy, Ben, who was cycling home to work for the afternoon (18 miles/30km). He had the wind at his back, so I’m sure it was a quick ride after stopping to chat with us.

After stopping at Wal-Mart for some chocolate bars, and Dunkin’ Donuts for some donuts, we were ready to brave the Interstate. It was smoking busy, but fortunately the shoulder was relatively clean and we were able to keep our distance from traffic. There was only one scary moment I think, when Amanda was trying to cross an exit-ramp and accidentally veered her bike out into the regular traffic lane just as a truck was passing. I’ve always been a proponent for cycling on the Interstate whenever possible because of the amount of space a cyclist gets versus the smaller regional highways that offer almost no shoulder whatsoever…Amanda disagrees with this because…well…because we disagree on pretty much everything.

It was a long day in the saddle, and normally I call it quits after five hours or so, just on principle, but we had miles to put under our belts if we were to arrive in San Carlos in time to house-sit. Something I noticed while I was riding however was how vibrantly active my mind felt; I felt so alive! I figured out how to solve war, famine, and came up with the cure for cancer…and then promptly forgot it once we stopped for the day. Oh well, I’ll figure it out again tomorrow I’m sure!


Today’s Photographs

Visa Run
Heading East towards the Old West