Despite the fact that the Good Days Café sat right outside, I lobbied this morning for the Gadsden Hotel. I knew it was a famous local landmark, and figured it would be a good place for breakfast. Besides, we might as well take in one of the sights.
The Gadsden Hotel lobby is quite striking, with beautiful stone columns and very tall ceilings adorned with stained glass. The breakfast diner section was closed off so we ended up in the main restaurant to sit. A big breakfast was enjoyed by all, and afterwards we lingered around the place exploring.
Finally starting out west, we encountered one seriously beautiful morning to ride. AZ80 took us on a very slow climb away from Douglas and Agua Prieta parallel to the Mexico border. About 20 miles in the ascent sections increased as we approached Bisbee, and we finally stopped at the Lowell traffic circle to regroup. Nursing a sore lip and backside, Gary decided to take the potentially shorter route through the town of Bisbee proper, taking AZ83 northwest and then AZ90. The rest of us decided to head south and then west on AZ92 through the Palominas Valley. So long Gary!
A couple steep climbs greeted us on AZ92, and then a happy downhill stretch to a Safeway, where we all stopped for provisions. I scored a whole box of Fig Newtons and a big bottle of Gatorade, then picked up a Twix candy bar for good measure. A little later when I spied Phil drinking chocolate milk, I ran in to buy one of my own. Ya gotta love the roar of one’s appetite while on tour.
AZ92 continued downhill nicely for at least another 8 miles, then flattened out. Dave decided to pace with me for quite a bit of it and we enjoyed a long flat ride west amid flowing brown grasses, with the Huachuca Mountain range looming larger and larger behind them with each mile. Dave and I stopped often to simply appreciate our surroundings.
I looked long and hard for the Mexican food truck in Palominas but never spied it. If that lady had been serving her vegetable soup I would have bought some in a heartbeat.
Out of Palominas we faced what felt like a long 8-9 mile climb into the foothills – a test for me. Dave and I regrouped with Jack and Phil just after we turned north, and we spent some minutes enjoying the sunshine. Light breezes, about 70F, beautiful place to be. Jack would say it doesn’t get any better. In fact, I’m certain he did.
We continued north, encountering a few rollers, and then finally started moving nicely aided by the gradual descent into the Sierra Vista Southeast area. We found Buffalo Soldier Road (also known to Jack as Buffalo Sulfur Road) and discovered a dandy bicycle lane beside it – sweet!
A stop at Circle K got us fully tanked up for the evening with snacks and beer. A series of missteps later had us at our motel, an off-the-beaten-track sort of place called the Sun Canyon Inn, where a nice talkative lady checked us in. Gary was already checked in, and we learned from him that he’d had a very good ride, maybe only 6 miles shorter than ours.
The five of us convened in one room for happy hour, which was topped off by three HUGE pizzas from Pizza Hut – quite a bit more than we could eat. Still we put a good dent in all of them – mushroom-sausage, vegetarian, and ham-pineapple. The evening finally fizzled out watching mindless NBA action, followed by mindless college football (Boise St. – Air Force).
Another very fine day on tour.
Finished Cycle: Nov 20, 2015, 4:36:11 PM
Route: New Route
Explorer Link: http://cyclemeter.com/51ced2364be66c17/Cycle-20151120-0735
Ride Time: 5:15:39
Stopped Time: 3:44:58
Distance: 61.20 miles
Average: 11.63 mph
Fastest Speed: 32.23 mph