Men from the sky! At one time I counted 16 coming down! The skydivers at Eloy, AZ have entertained us for 3 days, it is now time to drive on (peddle on if you are Corey). We had great weather, mostly in the 60’s with low 40’s at night. Even though we stayed in a tent, there were hot showers, washing machines, a restaurant and a saloon. In old West fashion, people are pretty friendly! Back to the wilderness of the desert for us.
The beauty of the Arizona desert
After peddling over 20 miles, Corey encountered his 4th flat tire on this trip! This is aggravating so we looked up a bike shop in Tucson (Ordinary Bike Shop). They were very helpful. We bought 2 new tires and special sealant for the tubes. And $76 later, we were on our way. We backtracked to Ironwood Forest National Monument (near Marana, AZ) and spent the night. This place is secluded, wide-open, and a beautiful spot. We were the only campers.
Ironwoods Forest Campsite
Ironwoods Forest NM is beautiful and wildlife is everywhere. A rare sighting indeed, a mountain lion crossed our path about 2 miles from our campsite as we drove in. What a site! We also saw roadrunners scurrying through the brush; and at night, coyotes howling! But the weather did turn nasty as bouts of showers and breezes came through at night. Rain wasn’t bad but the gusts were something. At times, the gusts were over 25 mph but then things would go eerily calm. And with no trees, nothing to stop the wind! In the morning, we fought mud and because it rains so infrequent, the mud sticks to everything. A park ranger visited us in the morning (Kyle from N. Dakota) that was recently assigned to this area. Great conversation and we promoted our mission (Mission 22 bicycle trip).
City Slickers, Mitch and Curly
On January 20th, Corey biked to our next spot just south of Tucson. We figured 35 miles but it ended up being only 20. Back roads from Ironwoods brought us to Snyder Hill BLM (South Tucson). This was much better traveling and little traffic. It also enabled us to visit Saguaro National Park which is a gem – must see place. The bad thing; weather continued to worsen as winds became sustained out of the southwest 20-30 mph. And Corey was riding straight into the wind! It was the hardest 20 miles he has ever done (even worse than the up hill climb in San Diego!).
Our night at Snyder Hill BLM was crowded. Lots of RV’s parked here and why not. It’s free! Not a very big spot as it is just off the highway with picturesque views. At night the wind picked up (if you can imagine) to near 50 mph! Fortunately, we put out tents in a somewhat protected area (When there are no trees and land is relatively flat, this is hard to do.) And it rained…and rained… and rained some more. In the morning it was clearing and the wind subsided somewhat but temps were in upper 30’s! Yikes! And this is suppose to be the warm Southwest desert?!
Snyder hill Campsite
Being on the south side of Tucson, Corey’s ride was 48 mile to Benson. We were going to stay at BLM land at Cochise Stronghold. It is 22 miles up in a nearby canyon but they have snow on the ground. So we got a hotel for an extra night in Tombstone. Below freezing temps and snow/rain just made it a safety hazard. The trip to Tombstone was only 20 miles and given the weather conditions, it was worth the extra day. We do miss the mid 60’s we had back in Phoenix. Dreaming of warmer weather.
Corey rolling down Hwy 80 in Arizona (towards Tombstone)
For my friends at RES, what famous gunfight took place at Tombstone, AZ? Do you know the year? Who was the famous sheriff? Do you know his friends’ names? On Saturday night we were going to stay at Cochise Stronghold, a canyon up in the mountains Do you know why it is called that? What Indians inhabited this area before white men drove them out? Who was Geronimo? When you research this area, keep in mind, history is often written by the victors. Do you suppose the Indians might have a different point of view? We will be heading into the next state soon. Can you name which state that is?
Snow-capped mountains in Tombstone
Three days of long rides and we finally made it to Tombstone! And we timed it perfectly to watch the Patriots play football!
Stay tune, Hope to be through New Mexico and into El Paso, Texas in a week! 😏
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