Everyone’s starting to feel the end of the tour. As planned, Gary got up real early this morning to begin his ride. His plan is to finish before noon in order to meet his wife. Dave got up and had a bite with him as a goodbye – right neighborly of him.
The rest of us, including Dave, started out in the Wild Horse Restaurant for breakfast a bit later. I cannot remember what we had, except that Phil’s eggs benedict looked pretty good to me. Sure seems a shame to be contemplating the end of the tour. We’re all finally getting into some riding shape.
Out and packed, standing in the cold in downtown Patagonia. Of course, I farted around for a while with Chamois Butter, arm warmers, ibuprofen, the usual. We hit it southwest onto AZ82 and immediately found the rolling marvelous again, predominantly downhill with a healthy breeze from the east.
We spun through some beautiful dry canyons, with Sonoita Creek at its base to the right. I imagined the birding here sensational in season. I stopped frequently to sit in the quiet and observe, but only saw a few cardinals and hawks, maybe a flycatcher or two. The sun warmed us up, and well, it just doesn’t get any better.
We continued on rollers but downhill, finally reaching S. River Road where Jack and I caught up with Phil and Dave waiting for us. Gary had taken this shortcut earlier, which heads west over to I-19, cutting Nogales out of the route. We instead continued southwest, encountering a few good hills as both Nogales AZ and Nogales Mexico loomed in front of us.
We rolled onto Grand Avenue and regrouped again. Only 100 yards down the road lay Zulas Restaurant, which gets decent reviews on Yelp. None of us were too hungry, but strolled in anyway. Enchiladas, machaca, and ensaladas later, we were glad we decided to stop.
Instead of navigating through the thick of town, we took Western Avenue directly over to I-19 and pedaled up the ramp. With some relief I noticed a “Bike Use Shoulder Only” sign, indicating that bikes were OK on this stretch of interstate.
A couple of things notable here. Fortunately, the going continued downhill, to my surprise. I had mistakenly figured that a 130° vector change would certainly kill our downhill roll. Unfortunately, the 10 foot wide shoulder was completely bush-hammered in preparation for resurface, which created an especially harsh ride. The roll on my Surly was bearable, although I didn’t dare try to take any photos. Phil and Dave, with graphite-epoxy frames and skinny 100 psi tires, ended up taking to the smooth edge of the right hand lane. That unnerved me a little bit, with 75 mph traffic, but to each his own. Fortunately the traffic was thin here on Sunday morning.
Seven miles brought us to the Ruby Road exit and continuation on the I-19 frontage road – MUCH better passage. North to Rio Rico Dr., then east. As we rode, an ultra-steep hill rose in front of us, so steep I wondered if we’d have to walk it. Fortune intervened again – we turned left onto Pendleton Road avoiding the climb.
I mused at the street signs up Pendleton. Circulo Cerro, Camino Oceano, Calle Pulpo, Avenida Ostion, with the nearest ocean 4 hours away by car.
Via Palo Parado, we returned to the frontage road for the final few miles. Jack and I eventually stopped for a good 15 minutes, savoring the tail end of the tour, nibbling our remaining snacks. We reached Tubac and spun through town among the art shops, taking the backroads to the resort.
When we got there, both of us were feeling the weather and road so fine that we didn’t want to dismount. We spun around the resort a little bit trying to possibly spy Linda on the golf course, to no effect. Checking in, we met Phil and Dave, and very soon the four of us were planted outside at the Stables’ Grille, sipping beverages and watching golfers finish up on a par-3.
One highly successful tour, I would say. We’re taking away so much: dozens of photographs, somewhat improved fitness, a renewed love of the road, and a few chain tattoos. Wonderful memories.
Linda, Lisa, and Peggy met us later to enjoy an outdoor fiesta, complete with cava, beer, and nibbles. After a few hours, we adjourned to the restaurant for a grand dinner, a true reunion of old friends, hosted by Dave and Phil. A better end to the tour could not be had!
Finished Cycle: Nov 22, 2015, 2:45:17 PM
Route: New Route
Explorer Link: http://cyclemeter.com/51ced2364be66c17/Cycle-20151122-0905
Ride Time: 3:24:41
Stopped Time: 2:14:41
Distance: 45.12 miles
Average: 13.23 mph
Fastest Speed: 35.85 mph