Tucson AZ: Starting Point

I spent the entire day fiddling with my gear, deciding what to take and what to leave behind.  Temperatures in southern Arizona had been cold, with many nights down in the 20s, although the forecast was for warmer weather.  In the end, we decided to nix the tenting this trip and stay in low-end motels.  Without a tent or sleeping bag, I had plenty of pannier space.  I decided to take all four bags anyway for better weight distribution, and felt funny with them being almost half empty.

I dragged out my laptop and charger to take along, then weighed them in at over 8 pounds.  That’s a benefit-to-weight ratio I couldn’t tolerate, and so left them behind.  Probably for the better – no need to get my nose buried in an electronic screen.   I brought along some extra glove liners but otherwise I felt like I had enough layers to stay warm.

Just for reference, I weighed my packed gear as follows:

Bicycle with racks: 36.4 lb
Packed front bag: 3.0 lb (camera, maps, snacks, gloves, skull cap)
Packed rear trunk: 4.8 lb (tools, tubes, lock, click-stand, lights)
Packed front panniers: 8.2 lb (clothes)
Packed rear panniers 11.2 lb (clothes, toiletries, rain gear)
Rider 169.6 lb
Total 236.0 lb

Total bike and gear = 66.4 lb

Jesse showed up at 4PM, parked his van, and we were off in the X5 by 4:30PM.  I was really pumped to be going, talking excitedly with Jesse, because I managed to take at least two wrong turns just getting away from Mesa.  We rolled down AZ79 again through Florence, and Mandy (my GPS) tried desperately and in vain to get me over to I-10.

When we reached Tucson, Mandy continued to try nudge us west onto I-10, but I wouldn’t bite.  I finally did though, and Mandy took us on a crazy stop-light-ridden crawl along Grand Avenue in SW Tucson before finally finding the freeway.  I guess she was getting back at me for ignoring her.

Finally found the Holiday Inn on S. Palo Verde Rd, near both the Tucson Airport and Davis-Monthan AFB.  We found very nice rooms that Linda had booked for only $40 on Priceline.  Such a deal.  And with citrus-mint soap!

Jesse selected Denny’s for dinner.  We had a very friendly and outspoken server who was particularly taken by Jesse’s iPhone4.  Jesse had a very good prime rib fajita-like skillet dish, while I had good old-fashioned comfort food – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and brown gravy.

From Denny’s we drove south down Palo Verde to check out the bike passage, and found it non-existent.  Jesse was a little concerned about getting out of south Tucson,so it was a good thing we checked.  Valencia eastward looked good, and Avernon Way heading south also looked pretty good.  I had fun returning to the hotel – seems I got 90° out-of-phase and got turned around – Mandy to the rescue.

I spent the rest of the evening getting gear ready for the morning, entertained by a dose of NFR rodeo finals on ESPN-2.