Tag Archives: Arizona
Feb 23, 2014

Last days of sun

Saturday, February 22 – Sitting at SeaTac waiting for our shuttle home.

What a difference a few hours makes. We used to be in sunshine and hot, now we’re sitting in an ice-cold parking garage, thankful that it’s not snowing. But first, a review of our last three days.

Mt. LemmonWednesday we decided we needed a challenge, so we headed up Gates Pass.  We got a late start because it was so cold out, nearly 52 degrees! Once the sun came out and warmed stuff up, we took off. Gates is a low pass with only about 3 miles of climbing at a generally gentle pace. As we neared the top, it kicked up to 15% in two stretches. That felt like the work that real climbers do.

We flew down the backside of the pass and stopped at the Sonoran Desert Museum. We incorrectly thought it was part of the National Park so weren’t prepared for a hiking experience which cost money. So we settled for some baked goods and continued riding.

We were feeling peppier than ever so we stretched our ride out to the north and west, eventually returning to town along one of the river bike trails. We clocked in at 54 miles for the day! Now we’re riding!frog-mountain

That night we took Steve and Patricia out for dinner at a neighborhood Ethiopian spot. The food was good and the company was marvelous.

Thursday we wanted to stretch our legs one last time before I tore down the bike. This time we headed NE to Mt. Lemmon. It is a 25 mile climb averaging 6%. We weren’t going to do that since it took us 15 miles to get to the bottom. But we set our goal as the Babad Do’Ag overlook, 2.5 miles up. It was a tough, serpentine climb. The grade was about 6% most of the time.

We made it up without much hassle. Lots of younger stronger riders flew past us. I thought we must have looked like gramma and granpa to them. Sheila pointed out that in our helmets we just looked like fit riders, going slowly. Maybe I’ll get a mane of white hair for my helmet so they can tell we have a reason for our lack of speed.

spencer-packingAfter that we cruised downhill – what a blast! Stopped for a snack at Le Buzz, a bikers coffee shop. Chatted with some folks who were also in Tucson for sunshine and cycling. Then home and I started breaking down the bike. It was pleasant out on Steve and Patricia’s patio.

Friday Steve took us to the airport early in the morning so we could rent a car. We then drove to Phoenix to see our friends Gail and Tom.  It was a pleasant 2 hour drive in our brand new Chrysler 200 (a car big enough to transport our bike gear to the airport Saturday). We caught up with their stories and they ours. Went to lunch at a Thai restaurant downtown which was incredibly noisy. Evidently that is de rigeur for happening restaurants. Who knew? Later, Sheila, Gail and I went to see a Chihuly installation at the Desert Botanical Garden. While we’ve been to the Chilhuly at Seattle Center this one was all dessert specific art. Quite beautiful. We were walking through gardens of cacti, then suddenly there’d be a big arrangement of glass spikes or flowing glass spires. We enjoyed both the gardens and the installation as you can see in the gallery below. But sadly, we failed to take any photos of them!

Our evening ended with a return drive to Tucson, after which we got up early to begin our travels home. not much to say about the flights. We tried to get bumped from our Seattle flight and would have gotten bumped had a San Antonio flight not been delayed. Then when we arrived at Seattle, they couldn’t get the jetway to connect, so we had to taxi out to a different gate. The shuttle we were waiting for arrived fairly quickly and we’re back.

Isn’t it nice to be home again?! Even if it is gray and 40 degrees!

Feb 18, 2014

Riding with a Seattle transplant

Today we headed out to ride with Bridget, a Seattleite who fell in love and moved to Tucson. She was thrilled to be able to talk about Capitol Hill, lakes, Cascade bike rides, and all things Northwest. We also got to meet her husband, Tony, as he joined us on what turned out to be […]

Feb 17, 2014

Sunshine = biking as a way of life

It’s Monday, Presidents’ Day. We just got in from a 41 mile ride around parts of Tucson we’ve never seen. This time we were led by our host Steve Wilson. He and his partner Patricia are putting us up in their lovely home in central Tucson for the remainder of our stay. We spent most […]

Feb 15, 2014

Tucson – February 2014

We flew from cold, wet Seattle to hot, sunny Tucson on February 12. We have 10 days to play in the sunshine, due to Spencer’s school schedule. Our plan is to spend 4 nights with our friend Susan Reed (who we met last winter down here) then Sunday we move to Steve Wilson’s place. We’d […]

Jan 18, 2013

Warm? In Tucson?

Our last four days in Tucson were unseasonable compared to what we’d been experiencing. They were warm. I mean, it got all the way up to 71 degrees! It was like being…..being….being in the desert Southwest. Who’d a thought it? We took full advantage of the switch from highs of 46 to get out and […]

Jan 17, 2013

Vacation in the ice box

January 10-14, 2013 was the coldest stretch of weather they’ve had in Tucson (and throughout the SW) since 1971. No day got warmer than 45 degrees. The lows at night ranged from 27-17 degrees. It was generally sunny, but it was definitely NOT riding weather. We hunkered down to wait it out. To be honest, […]

Jan 10, 2013

Desert riding

We had two main goals for our trip: getting into the nice, warm sunshine and riding our tandem. The first four days down here allowed us to make progress on both of them. The sun shone, although it was not quite as warm as we would have liked. It ranged from low 60s to 71 […]

Jan 6, 2013

Heading for Arizona Sun

As is our wont, we decided to slip out of the cold, rainy  Northwest to get some sunshine, recharge our batteries, and do some riding in the Southwest. Since Spencer now works half time, it was pretty easy to cobble together a 3-week trip to Tucson. We thought we’d drive down for a change so […]

Apr 16, 2011

2011 Spring Break Tucson

January 16, 2011……..I mean April 16, 2011, dawned cold and dismal, as had most days this winter in Seattle. But it was to change dramatically for us. We were heading for Tucson, Arizona for a week of R&R. The omens were positive. Our flight left at a respectable hour of noon. It was nonstop. Our […]

Apr 3, 2004

Spring Break in Tucson

The Reader’s Digest version is we rode 255 miles in 5 days while staying with folks we met on the GABA ride last September. (Actually it was 6 days, but we took one off because Sheila got stung by a scorpion!) We flew into Tucson on Saturday April 3rd. Anabel and Denise (shown left in […]