Sunday, May 25, 2014

Council Rocks, Last Big Ride Before Antelope Wells

Wow, it's getting close. Another longish ride this weekend, with the goal of camping out someplace to see if the stuff on the bike actually makes sense. My plan for the Divide is to head for hotels wherever I can find them, but I know that some times I either won't make the distance, or weather will interrupt, or the timing just won't be right for a hotel stay, so nice to know that we have a workable camping solution.

Rolled out of Tucson about 6 am or a bit after and headed down Mission Road for Green Valley. I expected to get passed by the "Shootout" which I thought started at 6:30 from UA.  Never did see them, instead saw a bunch of riders in little groups going North on Mission ( wonder if it has anything to do with the traffic tickets that were handed out last weekend for riders blowing some of the stop signs ? )

Got to Green Valley and stopped for breakfast. Best part of the day I think.  Then headed over towards Madera Canyon and then took Box Canyon road to get over to Highway 83 and Sonoita.  Box Canyon cuts through the Santa Rita range and exits the range close to where Rosemont wants to build that ill conceived mine that will destroy wildlife and water for the whole Santa Rita area.  This part of the ride went pretty well, finally crossing the Arizona Trail and getting to Hwy 83.

Santa Ritas from Box Canyon Road before we start climbing

Yep, it's a mountain pass

Looking down at Box Canyon

Once you get to 83, you are in another world.  It's high grassland, rolling plains, completely different than the Sonoran Desert around Tucson.  I stopped at the Shell at the intersection of 83 and 82 and got a soda, a piece of chicken and a chimi.  The gas station/restaurant seemed to have two types of clients, either cowboys with numbers on their backs ( for a rodeo someplace ? ) or people buying Bud to take to Parker Canyon Lake or one of the other lakes.  ( Look, Bud Light is not beer people ! )

Left the Shell and headed east towards Eglin and Whetstone.  Pretty fast riding actually with a good tailwind behind me and I crossed the southern end of the Whetstones.  That would make 3 ranges so far, the Sierrita foothills getting to Green Valley, the Santa Ritas in Box Canyon and now a bit of the Whetstones.
Not the Sonoran Desert

A stop at another Shell at the intersection of 82 and 90, and then on east towards Tombstone.  I crossed the San Pedro and stopped at the "ghost town" of Fairbank.  Looked at the one room schoolhouse and the remains of the once bustling train station.  When I crossed over the San Pedro I could look down and see the railbed of the old railroad.  Would make a nice Rails to Trails project sometime.

Train Station

Fairbank Schoolhouse

Left Fairbank, and then on to 80 to roll pass BootHill and onto Allen Street in Tombstone.  Didn't take any pictures, my thoughts were only on food.  I conspicuously walked my bike up the middle of Allen with a mix of tourists and wild west re-enactors all over the place and me the only cyclist !  Tied up the bike in front of a restaurant and went for a great steak and baked potato.  Then it was time to leave, so headed back the way I came and I went up MiddleMarch road towards the Dragoons.  I took FR687 past Slavin Gulch on my way to Council Rocks, but darkness fell, I had about 123 miles in me and saw this really big rock with a flattish surface on top and decided that would be the place to put my sleeping gear.
Turn from MiddleMarch Road onto FR 687 with Dragoons in front of me

Loosing Daylight
The stars were beautiful, slept for a couple of hours until the local off road contingent decided to make several buzzes down the road with lights blazing.  I was far enough off the road that it wasn't a problem other than the racket. Leroy and Cletus gave up around 11:30 or so and it was a pretty good night.

Up to a surprisingly chilly cloudy morning.  A Hostess fruit pie for breakfast and then to Council Rocks where Cochise agreed to "come in".  Some neat grinding holes and some pictographs that I took pictures of.  It's always impressive to think of those who came before us, who lived in this land for thousands of years before us with our technology.

Kitchen Fixtures

Dragoons have big rocks like this all over

Makes you wonder

Cut across Stronghold Ranch to Dragoon Mountain Road, and lots of up and down stuff to St David, then Benson with breakfast #2 at Rebs.  Another stint on Interstate 10, to Marsh Station, and back home via bikepaths and assorted streets with a pretty good headwind.  Wind is just plain hard on the bicycle and it got warm.   And more gas station food for lunch in Vail ( ala what I'll find on the Divide ), it was a pretty good cheesburger, that I ate outside sitting on a bag of firewood.

So the weekend was about 213 miles and maybe 7000 feet or so, a couple of honorable rides.  No major problems.  I do need to replace some brake pads and both tires ( one was leaking and down to 15 lbs when I got home, but I can't find the leak ( even with water )).   Will think about the clothing just a little bit, but I think I am pretty much as ready as I am going to be.


  1. Nice shake down run 7 write up & pics

    --I have been riding in the cold and rain, am envious