Tucson and Southeast Arizona

I left Phoenix and headed southeast towards Tucson. I was not sure if I would then go straight east to New Mexico or head directly south to Mexico through Nogales. I finally decided to head for El Paso and then down to Big Bend National Park. More on that later.

On the way to Tucson I encountered a number of cotton fields, irrigated by many canals of course.

A nice sunset in the bush north of Tucson.

I’ve seen a number of roadrunners the past few days. They usually do run, but can fly if I get too close. I never gave them much thought but while waiting for my room in a Tucson hotel parking lot, this roadrunner just walked by.

I started humming the roadrunner song in my head and could not get rid of it. I have not seen any coyotes though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwYQsZuh2CM

I stayed in Tucson for a couple days to rest and have my bike worked on. It needed a new head tube bearing and I don’t have the tools to make that repair so I left it for the bike shop mechanics. With time on my hands I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art. There was an exhibit that included part of the actual former border wall between the US and Mexico. The US side had numerous signs and warnings while the Mexican side had photos of migrants, old clothes, water bottles and memorials. It is a sad statement on how nations try to keep people out. What if there were no borders, no passports, no customs, no immigration control? Shouldn’t people be allowed to travel wherever they want to? What right do governments have to restrict where we can go? Don’t get me started on this one. Or do.

  

  

This exhibit reflects the strong mexican influence in Tucson over the years. Tucson belonged to Mexico from their independence 1821 to 1853, when the US acquired the area in the Gladsden purchase. Read only the black letters, then only the white letters.

Che’s Lounge, HAHA.

Th easiest job in south Arizona must be to be a weather forecaster. Sunny every day. I’m not complaining. It is hot but that’s better than rain. Here was the forecast the day before I left Tucson. If you live here you better like the sun.

There were some nice bike paths leaving Tucson but… watch out for venomous creatures? I was already paranoid about getting bit by a rattlesnake.

It’s almost unheard of for a bike tourist to ride on interstate, controlled access, highways. First of all, bicycles are normally prohibited. Second, why would you want to? In most of the country, when the interstate highways were built, they they did not follow the existing two lane highways. So cyclists are able to use the old roads. But for some reason, in Arizona, they simply expanded the existing highways and paved over them so there is no alternative. For this reason, bicycles are allowed on the interstate. At first I was aghast–I would never ride on an interstate highway. But it turned out the alternatives were highly inconvenient. So I gave it a try for about 100 miles. It was actually not that bad. The traffic is constant of course, but with a wide shoulder I just put Pandora on my phone and set it to the Led Zeppelin channel and jammed to geezer rock for seven hours a day. No need to worry about navigation, or people coming up behind you.

The biggest problem was all the debris on the shoulder. Tons of tore up tires and other junk. The wires in the tires gave me three flat tires the first day.

Apparently this trailer of cars caught fire and burned. The whole west bound lane of I10 was closed. It must have been a heck of a blaze.

With clear skies camping has been great in Arizona. Here is a cool shot of the new moon on the road to New Nexico.

I stopped one day in the small town of Willcox, AZ and got a motel for the night. Strollling around looking for dinner I passed by this great tree.

Across the street was Rodney’s–a true hole in the wall restaurant. No seating, just order and go. Great food, and cheap. I got a cheeseburger and fries. Rodney was a real character.

Back in my room I devoured the cheeseburger and it reminded me of the great Saturday Night Live cheeseburger sketch with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd an Bill Murray. Younger readers may not be aware of this but in the 70s and early 80s Belushi was hilarious on SNL. He left us too soon. Here is one of the absurd cheeseburger skits.

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v16038377qEdkrym4

Today is my last day in Arizona. I will cross over into New Mexico on Oct. 25. I won’t spend as much time there as I originally wanted due to the approaching winter weather. But I will make it back there next spring. Meanwhile, Arizona gets a thumbs up from me. I had some tough days here–long hills, headwinds and bad roads, but sunny every day and beautiful views. It’s a great state. Here is my current location.

One last shot. I was bumping along this gravel road and broke another spoke. Only the second one this whole trip. The other was in northern Ontario. The road does not look that bad, but there were some serious washboard sections.

That’s it for now. Next stop: New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

One Response to “Tucson and Southeast Arizona”

  1. Deirdre Brownlow says:

    Great reflections of this leg of the trip. We loved New Mexico also. Glad your doing great and still going forward. Crazy about all the flat tires though. Am looking forward to your report on Big Bend Natl. Park. Until next time. Beep beep…..

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