Where I Become Army

..real army…US Army.  Ok, not quite, but the human and I have a magic pass so we get to ride through Fort Huachuca and it says US Army…so that makes us army, right?  While the west side of the fort is pretty, just outside the west gate?  Awesome.  Rolling hills (some pretty steep) and gorgeous views.  If you don’t have a pass to get through the fort, all those gorgeous rolling hills you enjoyed getting to the back gate, become a 15 mile obstacle to get you back to the main highway where you face another 20 miles to get back to Sierra Vista.  Finishing through the fort is much, much nicer.

While we rode through the fort with passes we got last week, the rest of the troops got into Sierra Vista via Tombstone, a 100 mile ride with a stiff headwind at the end for them.  For us, it was still a 70 mile ride and we traded the direct winds for indirect winds and hills for our challenging ride.  Not quite as tough as yesterday, but tough enough.

Bicycles and Fort Huachuca have a long history.  For many years Fort Huachuca was the home of the Buffalo Soldiers, all African-American troops back in the era when troops were segregated.  One of the training trips of the Buffalo Soldiers in the late 1800s was to test out the use of bicycle for transportation.  Buffalo Soldiers rode from Missoula to Missouri to prove the worthiness of the bicycle.  Successful as the experiment was, the army never adopted it.  Sigh…nothing more sturdy and efficient than a human on two wheels…you’d think the army would figure that out….sigh….

But, best part of today?  Tomorrow we get to do it again.  More rolling hills on quiet back roads.  Wheeee….whump……wheee…..whump….

Payback….

….is a bitch.  Mother Nature decided to make sure we understood what those awesome tailwinds could also mean.  Egads, I’m pooped.

Today we road from Tucson to Nogales…essentially, the distance we road the first 2 days of last week.  This is a different week.  Last week was a lovely tour through the historic towns, with pleasant distances; this week the goal is a century every day.  Now, the human and I won’t be aiming for every day, but we will be getting in at least 70 per day.

But, today’s ride was due south with a little westerly push at the end.  And the winds?  From the south, becoming more westerly.  Yes, indeed, today was payback time.  Winds were sustained in the high 20’s with gusts reaching 40.  Woohoo!  Not.  Climbing Mt. Lemmon yesterday was easier than heading south.  Heck, we rode the granny gear most of the way.

Blah….tired does not describe my wheels.  But while I got my chain cleaned and my tires washed, the human sipped down juice that Edwin’s human bought.  We are truly pampered.  We worked for it, but we are spoiled.

If it is Saturday…

…it must be Mount Lemmon?!?!?!?

In the winter, back in the cold, frozen north where pretty bikes like me must hibernate until Spring, the humans often do “bicycle shaped exercise” by riding indoors.  They put some training video on one computer, and a foreign movie on another and ride.  They don’t go anywhere, but they pedal and pedal and pedal.

My fellow bike George….oh, wait, let me quick introduce George.  George never gets out.  Ever.  George only lives in the basement, on the trainer.  George is an original Georgena Terry bike that the human bought directly from Georgena when the warehouse was shutting down (geek points…talking to and buying directly from *the* goddess of bicycle design!!)  George doesn’t quite fit the human, but it is close enough to use on the trainer.

So, anyway, my fellow bike George likes to gloat that the human rides hard when they put in the Mt Lemmon virtual reality disk.  George claims that the video is really pretty.  Did I mention that George gloats every winter?  Well, let me tell you…when I get back I’m going to tell George that the video does not do the ride justice.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

The human and I rode solo as the 3 Amigos (Edwin, Moots, and myself — see how happy we look coming up Mule Pass?!!?) have split for the season (we’ll get back together in July when Moots and her human visit us…woohoo!).  For the next week we ride by ourselves.  33108290701_26ee9f0a97_o

But, we headed up the mountain. Took a while to get to the start of the climb, but once we started climbing…oh, the views, the views.  Absolutely gorgeous.  And, a really nice shoulder on the highway.  We rode about 12 miles up the mountain….until we had to turn around to meet Edwin’s human for lunch.  Oh, what fun!

But, tomorrow starts the new week.  Oooo…the riders look strong.  We’ll be shot off the back in no time….but we won’t let that stop us.  We’ll keep riding and riding…and maybe, just maybe we’ll find someone to ride with.  If not, they human says we have some good books lined up to listen to.  Today we learned about the tea trade routes….who knows what we might learn?

Just a Nice week of Riding

Well, dear reader, that darn human has silenced me.  First, the human hogged the PC to do work.  Work!  Hello, human?!?!?!  This is a vacation!!!  I don’t care aboutn logistics for our southern crossing in fall….that is *months* away.  I care about now!  And I have a need to express my inner thoughts, to explore my artistic side, do I not?

But, then…to add insult to injury, just when I thought I’d get to post again, the human goes and loses the power cord.  Left it in Tombstone.  Tombstone of all places.  The city that prides itself on maintaining its 1850’s look and feel, complete with dirt streets and re-enactors in costume.  What need would they of a power cord?  Jeez….until we go it back (thanks, Doug!) the human wouldn’t let me post.  Again…that stupid work.  I have *got* to put a stop to that.

But, here I am, posting away….where are we?  Benson.  Not the most exciting of towns, but a nice jumping off point for today’s ride back to Tucson.  Since last we talked, we’ve spent a night in Patagonia (very cool, laid back vibe, and the humans say that the pizza at Velvet Elvis was awesome).

Then a night in Tombstone.  Kitchy Tombstone.  But, this year there was a brewery and we went…twice.  Yes, I got to go to the brewery.  Due to some amazing tailwinds we got to town really early, so the humans went and had a beer, sat around to make sure they were good to go, went back to the hotel, only to be told, “Nope.  Come back in an hour.”  So, back we went with another crew.  Needless to say, the Tombstone Brewery is really good.

After Tombstone, it was Bisbee.  Despite the fact that I get locked up in a shed all night, I still like Bisbee.  Don’t know why.  Perhaps it is the clash between the old copper mine and the artists; perhaps it is the good food options; perhaps it is the fact that every street says, “Come explore” with the steep grades, tiny (or not) old houses, and steps that seem to go on forever.

And, then, it was to Benson.  Not my favorite city on this route, but always a fun day of riding with a long lunch at Kartchner Caverns.  This year, we took a different route, passing by the fort to get the human a pass.  Next week we want to ride through the fort starting Monday and you can only get a pass on one side of the fort so we stopped by on our way to Benson.  Fort Huachuca is amazing for riding.  Big rolling hills with fast downhills followed by steep up hills and gorgeous scenery.  Wheee……whump.. ..wheee.. ..whump.

The weather this week was great.  The first day had those stiff headwinds, but since then, favorable winds and sometimes massive tailwinds.  Heehee…one ride we averaged almost 24 mph over a 15 mile stretch.   Oh, to be that fast always.

And, best of all, Edwin has kept the air intake system on his human working well so we’ve had Edwin and his human for company the whole trip.  And for most of it, Moots and its human have joined us…..the southern trio reunion…..oh, what fun we’ve been having….

The Wind Abates for No One

Strong rider.  Weak rider.  Fast rider. Slow rider.  None are immune to the punishment of the wind.  And, today, we took a pounding from the wind.  Sixty miles of which more than 50 were into the wind — a nice strong wind with gusts approaching 30 miles/hour.  Oh, and did I mention, it was all up hill?  Yeah….that, too.  Well, except for one gorgeous 5 mile downhill stretch where we coasted at a pleasant 25 mph.

I’m tired.  What?  Yes, the human may be the engine, but I also had to listen to that wind and I also had to work to keep the bike upright when the human started to flag.  But, you know, it was a really pretty ride.  Mission Road is simply gorgeous.  But, right now, I could use a little pampering and a good nights rest.

Tomorrow, we have a “marshmallow” ride.  Heehee…that’s what my buddy Moots calls it…a marshmallow ride — .  A teensy 30 mile ride.  Given that it is uphill and the winds will still be in our faces, methinks Moots might me a little less sarcastic tomorrow night. We’ll see.

I’m Free!

I know, I know, I’ve used that title before, but, seriously….(cue Roger Daltry) I’m free-I’m free, And freedom tastes of reality, I’m free-I’m free, An’ I’m waiting for you to follow me.(end cue)….hard not to hear that song screaming in your head at the start of a trip, eh?

The humans finally came to rescue us this AM when the trailer opened.  It was cold last night (in the 30’s), but before the humans got there one of our favorite crew (you know…they’re *all* our favorites) pulled us out into the sunshine so we could warm up.  Amazing how warm that sun here in Tucson can make you feel.

But, finally, we got to get out of the boxes.  Well, sort of.  So many people to greet.  So 20170225_0939091many lives to catch up on it took us a very long time to become whole again.

You’d never know that this was a tour and not some bizarre family reunion — a family where everyone except for Susan and her sister Beth, no two people look alike; a family where everyone seems to like everyone else.  Hugs, smiles and laughter abounded.

Best part?  Even us bikes get to play.  Oh sure, I was eager to see Moots again.  The humans hugged and caught up while Moots and I quietly caught up — Moots is sporting a spiffy new derailleur and saddle.  But, here at Desert Camp, the humans actually acknowledge us bikes…oooing and awwwing over the new kids…checking out the new gear.  All while summarizing the last year.  It was a fun day!

And I got to ride!  Just a little.  We took a  spin down the bike trail.  Oh, the sun was so warm, the breeze just pleasant, the cacti…well…were cacti. And chipmunks like chipmunks everywhere darting across the trail trying to trip up the bikes.  Ha!  I’ve seen that trick before.

But, now I sleep.  Time to settle in and get ready for our ride tomorrow.  Yay!  We’re riding!

 

 

 

If it is February, it must be Arizona

Toes!  Warm toes!  What?  A bike doesn’t have toes?  That is a very specist comment, don’t you think?  My toes may not look like yours, but I have toes.  And right now they’re warm. So there!

Edwin and I left home a couple of weeks back, but for the last week we’ve been in the tender loving care of Susan and Beth as we’ve traveled from Wisconsin to Arizona.  Those women are a blast to be around.  But don’t tell them that those of us in the trailer are listening to their stories and their jokes.  Oh, we can hear them.  Load and clear.  And they’re fun!  More important, isn’t it so nice that they took us down in the trailer so we didn’t have to suffer the indignities of being tossed around by baggage handlers?!?!  So nice these women.  

Now that we’re in Arizona, all that is left is to await the humans.  They’re still in Wisconsin slaving away and won’t get here until Friday.  Arggghh…sure it is warmer here, but I am really, really wanting to get out of this box and stretch!  Beth and Sue got to go hiking, but we’re still in these boxes.   I mean, I know the humans were careful when they packed us, but when they closed the box, the handlebars shifted just a skosch and now I’ve got this spoke just poking me in just the wrong spot.  Blah. 

But, just a couple more days and I can jump out of this box and start riding.  My friend Moots from the southern crossing is coming and I can’t wait to catch up.  We’ll be riding.  Riding.  Eating.  Riding.  Eating.  Riding.  Chit chatting.  And riding.  Yay!  Desert Camp!