Day 6: 81.1 miles; 2,100’ elevation gain

Click to see image enlarged

Click to see image enlarged

Click to see image enlarged

After a good night’s sleep we prepared for the last leg of our trip. I noticed our back brake was rubbing on the rim when I was checking the tires in the morning. Quick adjustment, I thought. I started playing with the spoke tension on the wheels, quickly got them so out-of-round that they wouldn’t roll at all, then spent a half hour putting things to right. Consequently we were among the last out from the motel that day.

The first 25 miles were wonderful. It was straight, easy riding. We were clipping along at a good pace (19-20 mph) even though it was a steady, slight climb. The air was moist and cool as we rode through the irrigated pecan groves. We were relaxed. What a great way to end a trip!

Of course, everything changes. The winds returned at the 40 mile point. The heat started baking us. It was about 85 degrees and the wind had gusts to 22 mph. Our bodies were aching for a rest. We had pretty much gotten to the end of our reserves. We stuck it out. It wasn’t daunting, just challenging.

Along the way we saw a bar dressed up like a longhorn skull, a nice mission along a river and cicadas as big as cigars dotting the road. There were scores of local bicyclists riding downhill and downwind back to Tucson. How we envied them! They’d all gotten up earlier than we had, ridden toward Nogales and now were going back. We were sorely tempted to turn around and join them, just for the thrill of moving at a good pace again.

We rode this leg with a guy named Bruce who shared the windbreaking with us. We were greeted  in Nogales by the roaring sound of cicadas alongside the road. They sounded like an approaching train. We rode straight to the border because we knew we wouldn’t be getting back on the bike once we stopped pedaling that day. We took each other’s pictures, then returned to the hotel nearby.

Our farewell banquet was quite pleasant, although once again without protein. It was fun to visit with the other riders and listen to the mariachi singer. The group was all smiles. It had been more than 500 miles in 6 days. We were all proud of ourselves.

The next day we bused back to Phoenix, repacked the bike into its suitcases, and flew home. Goodbye to blue skies and 90°+ temps. Home to overcast skies and 55° temperatures. What a trip!

Globe to Tucson