Saturday, February 13, 2021

Diablo Mountains

Had seen this area when I rode to Buenos Aires from the Arivaca Highway on Batamote road and wondered what was over there. Then I saw some posts from other riders about some "Hunter Access Road" and so decided to give it a shot.

The starting point is just west of the Border Patrol CP on I-19. There is a frontage road on the west side of the freeway and you see the Hunter Access sign and turn in and just park right there.

Pretty straightforward riding, I did this in two parts, going about 10 miles and then turning around the first day and then the next day going to Arivaca and heading east from there to where I got the previous day, that piece was about 28 miles, starting from the Arivaca Community Center out and back.

The country is so dry right now, we need rain badly. #megadrought

Climbing up from the start

Rough country on either side of the road

After the pass ... turnaround point

Baboquivari ( zoomed in )

On the way back to start .. Elephant Head shows 

Grove of cottonwoods is protected from the ATV's

Day 2 rolling from Arivaca .. still in what passes for suburbia down there

Sign in here

Riding along, pretty good road 

Solar powered windmill

Where we turned around the day before

Same area different view ( you can see this from Arivaca Highway if you look in the right place )


Hola vaca's


Friday, February 12, 2021

Cienega Creek from the North

Another exploration of the area to the east of the Empire Mountains on Sun, Dec 27.  I just wanted to get all the way to Cienega Creek and back from Old Sonoita Highway and it worked out pretty well.

Parked on Old Sonoita about 1.4 miles from the Highway 83 intersection, there's a wide spot there. Pulled the bike out and rolled back down the hill to where the ATV people park, through the AZ State Land gate and south we went.

The first part is all rollers and rollers, then it flattens out a little bit. It's just miles of pretty empty country back there with the occasional ATV. For a Sunday it was really pretty empty. Maybe one ATV in the morning and two or three in the afternoon as I was heading back, so not too bad.

The whole thing was rideable, even for me, except for one or two wash descents that I walked down and tried to climb out of on the other side but stalled. 

Got to the sheets of metal hanging in the middle of Cienega creek, had a little something to eat and headed back. Ended up with about 5 hours of riding more or less, 3700 feet of climbing and 25 miles. Think it's on Strava at  https://www.strava.com/activities/4527245912 

Empire foothills 










Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Ride to Cienega Creek Narrows

Lately I have been looking at maps, continually trying to find new places to go and explore. I find it's a lot of fun, sometimes you don't know what you're getting into, you get out someplace and run into private property and that route fails, but others work out pretty nicely.

One that really interested me was written up by Scott Morris: http://topofusion.com/diary/2012/03/27/empire-rita-loop

He and a few friends rode from Sahuarita Road down between the Empire's and the Whetstone's, past

Wild Turkeys in the brush 

Empire Ranch, to Sonoita and back to Sahuarita Rd using the AZ Trail. I've ridden the AZ trail piece a couple of times ( it's hard ), but wanted to checkout the east side of the route, so Sunday found me at Empire Ranch with the goal of heading up to a place called The Narrows on Cienega Creek

Late start on Sunday, drove to Empire Ranch and was rolling out of their parking lot at the Ranch Headquarters at 10 am. The first part is a pretty nice easy downhill towards an offshoot of Cienega Creek that has a lot of big cottonwoods in it. I saw some wild turkeys, right in front of me, and got one photo of them disappearing into the brush by the time I got my phone out of my pocket.

More riding past some cattle corrals, a place where the route goes to the east and climbs a bit near some power lines and then downhill to Cienega Creek. I passed some ATV folks that were fixing a flat, and then got to the Creek. And there was water !  This year is probably going to be the driest on record for Southern Arizona with maybe 4.5 inches so far, so seeing running water is pretty amazing. Enough water that I got in above my knees and was holding the back of the bike up to keep bottom bracket and rear hub dry.
Water in Cienega Creek

Water is special

Next crossing 

Better place to cross is to the front of the bike 


Rode out of the creek, back into it a couple of more times and then climbed once and back down to the Narrows. I didn't see the flood control gauge ( there is supposed to be one there ), but I did see the sheets of metal and remember seeing a cactus growing out of an "area closed" sign.

Dirt road backstreets

Metal strips still here 


On the way back a guy in a pickup truck says "you got out here on that ?" ... think he was a little impressed. Pretty easy ride back to Ranch Headquarters and drive home. Nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Love the views 

Clear for miles



Have to ride to the Narrows from Sahuarita Road next.  


Monday, September 7, 2020

UME 2020

Four of us were pushing up above Alta, towards Sugarloaf. Kymberly, Jason, Jennifer and me. Someone would be in front and then need to stop and rest and someone else would pass them and we'd leapfrog our way to the top.

We got passed by some guys on electric mountain bikes. You could hear their motors straining under the load .. I got new respect for an e-bike right there. One said "it's an easy spin to the top" ... it wasn't. Frigging liar.

So, we started at 6 am at Liberty Park in downtown Salt Lake. Tim had organized this ride to show off some of the cycling available in Utah and it served up about 850 miles of pavement, dirt roads, and some single track. As I write this back at home, several guys are still hammering away. Some 21 riders started and 12 of us scratched in the first day, along with yours truly.

Had a burrito at the hotel for breakfast, some juice and coffee, then scored a latte across from the Park right before the start. Because of Corona, there wasn't a group start but a set of small groups and I rolled with three or four others at 6:15.

Thru some neighborhoods, then along a few surface streets and some bike path that took us high above Salt Lake City heading south. We got to where 210 started and there was a straight up-ish grade .. harbinger of things to come.  We did a few miles on some nice single track to the right of the main road in Little Cottonwood Canyon .. I rode most of it, but a few places were rocky enough and the grade was enough that I just quickly walked over the rocks.  Then got onto the pavement and I was climbing pretty well and I continued with a few out of breath stops into Alta.

The Entrance to Something

Alta


I thought there was a place to eat and looked around and found the Goldminers Daughter and waited about 10 minutes for it to open and fix me a burger. It was good, but I only ate 1/2 of it, and drank a couple of Cokes, then packed up and headed up. 

Think this is where the e-bike guys zoomed by

When I got past Catherine's Pass I had forgotten we still had to go to Sugarloaf .. couple of minutes later the reality dawned on me. Then I caught up with Jason and Jennifer.  The four of us climbed and walked and rode a little bit and pushed some more. Someplace in there I forgot to just stop, drink and eat and I started burning matches I didn't have. After the e-bike guys passed us we finally got to the top. I sat in the Alta lift chair and forgot to take a required selfie and started down the back side.

Sitting in the chair at the top of Sugarloaf ... felt good right then :-)

I walked a little steep downhill section and then looked way in the distance and I saw the e-bike guys going up another big climb way in the distance. I really, really thought that was our route and it let all the air out of my sails ( and there wasn't much there in the first place ).  I sat down, found a little shade and chilled for a bit. Jason and Jennifer passed me, then Kymberly passed. Decided to get up, tried to eat a GU and threw up.  Laid down for 5 minutes and felt better and decided to head on towards Midway.

I rode some, walked a couple of little steep places and was feeling pretty good till I got to Mineral Basin Road. To be honest, it was like some 4WD vehicle torture test site. Big burly boulders, places to get tires stuck, water under rocks, did I say boulders ??  Steep descents, feet sliding out. Totally outside my riding ability by an order of magnitude.  Surprised my ankles held up.

I finally got to the bottom where it turned into a regular road, and I got to a little turn with a sign for Midway and the GPS showed a big climb. At that point I was maybe 38 miles into the thing, and I needed water. So I stopped at the American fork River, filtered a bunch of water and then found a place to setup my tent for the night. I was totally fried, bonked, exhausted and went right to sleep without eating and frankly I could not eat.

Woke up around 9:30 or so and wanted to get some food in, so heated up some water and had a cup of soup. Couldn't eat the noodles, but the broth was really good, and then back to sleep. Was pretty nice except for the ATV's that wanted to drive up and down the road, but they gave it up around 11:30 pm

Got up, packed up and started up the switchbacks and I had nothing, Absolutely nothing in the gas tank. Ate a GU and some candy, still nothing. I had coffee earlier, nothing. So I walked pretty much the whole damm climb. Got to the top and my ride down was wobbly due to exhaustion, but was getting it done.

Midway is a pretty little town, stopped and got some breakfast, but the legs were dead. Tim had FB posted about it being dry ahead. Then I looked at trackleaders and saw Kymberly had stopped and that Jason and Jennifer were in town, and then looked up and there they were riding by !

Figured I would have to lie around Midway till the next morning to be able to tackle the trail and I simply didn't have the desire. I sat in Midway Park, got on the phone, scored a Lyft ride and a rental and at 3:30 was rolling out of SLC airport in I-15 headed south.

Stopped at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, loved it, walked around a bit and to be honest, I was exhausted on just a short little walk ... huffing and puffing and sweating and wondering what is wrong with me ???  When I was doing that I was glad I wasn't stuck on some mountain south of Midway.

North Rim Sunset 


Tim did a nice job setting up a challenging course, but it's a bit much for me. I know some of the guys just rode right on through all of that .. there are some really strong skilled riders still out there.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

That Didn't Happen

My first DNS ( did not start )

Was pretty pumped to go ride Stagecoach 400 this year. Signed up, packed the bike in the car and drove to Idyllwild. Took the scenic route up S2 so I could see what some of the desert areas looked like. It rained a lot on the drive over, in lots of places where I've only seen hot dryness.

Got into Idy, checked into the hotel and listened to the rain at night. Up the next morning, scored some breakfast and went to a shop there and bought some rain pants ( since I forget mine .. lying on the chair by my desk ! ).  Loaded up the bike and went out in the rain and up the first big hill just like I had done before ... windy, rainy, sloppy, water all over the place ... I had a good time actually !  Was fun to see the route on my new Wahoo Roam.

Back to the hotel, dried off some and went for a burger. I think my stomach was already a bit "off", remember eating maybe 2/3 of it.  Went back to the hotel and napped.  Didn't feel all that great, putting some of it to "butterflies". 

Went to the rider's meeting, met a bunch of other riders, talked about rides and stuff, that's always fun. Brendan and Meg talked about some of the reroutes we'd be doing because of the rain. Wasn't clear exactly where those would be, just figured if it wasn't passable, we'd bail for pavement.

Back to the hotel and I didn't feel good. Slept a little and then woke up and just barely made it to the bathroom. After a couple of trips my system was empty. Started thinking "do I have the freaking Covid ?" ... lots of worry.

Got up weak and empty on Friday morning for the Grand Depart .... and decided to bail for home. Got my trash in the car and drove home to Tucson, all 420 miles of it. Took a nap, had a tiny bit of soup and then went to bed for about 15 hours or so with a little fever. Better to be sick at home than some hotel room in another state.

Went out in the garage a few minues ago, and my bike is sitting there all ready to go, but I wasn't.  Watching trackleaders and wishing I was out there. Looked like it was a really hard, cold, wet ride and would be memorable for all that started it.

Good Luck everyone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bellbreaker 2020

"Where are you headed" he says
"Tucson" Says me 
"Do you know how far it is"
"Yeah, I think it's about 14 or 15 miles"  ( I was a little east of Piety Hill on Redington Road )
"There's a lot of climbing to do"
"Yeah, it's kinda downhill in a bit"
"No, there's a lot of climbing, lot of ups and downs, think you'll be ok"
"Yeah I think so"

The black Jeep Patriot continued feeling it's way down the rubbly road and I continued pushing my very tired butt up, hoping to get to Piety Hill and at least do that nice downhill to the A7 Ranch headquarters, then somehow get to the AZ Trailhead and get off most of Redington by sundown. I think it was about 4 pm ... the sun goes down quickly at this time of the year.

So there we are on a Sunday evening, having started this crazy ride on Saturday morning at about 7:15 am. Tired, just wanting to be done, and knowing I still had 15 or 16 more miles of pavement to get to where I parked my car.

Saturday morning was promising as all of these rides are. Blue Dog Bicycles hosted Bellbreaker this year, with a changed route because of snow on top of Mt Lemmon. Most riders got to the shop in plenty of time to chat a little, score some breakfast that was being cooked on spot and look at each other's rides. There were the fast people, with almost nothing being carried, on a gravel only bike. And the in between people with a little bit of stuff. And then there were clowns like me with the full bike packing suite.

Getting ready at BlueDog

7:15 came, no countdown, we just rolled out, down Mountain to the Rillito path and headed east. I had my buff on and I looked a bit like Kenny from South Park, all bundled up. Was freezing cold down by the river where the cold air settles. At Udall Park, I stopped to pee and unlayer some, as the main group headed east, the last I would see of most of them. 

Quick stop for a Coke at the Circle K on TV and then up Redington. I've done that route several times and think I set a new slow, just couldn't get my ST. But I passed a couple of people, then stopped and got passed by them. Chatted with a girl who had a van, was sitting on a rock with cool music playing and her orange and white cat was just chilling out with her. 

Back up Redington. Lots of water on the road, it had frozen overnight and there were little bits of ice in the potholes. Someplace on the back side of Redington, I looked at the time and realized I had been going for 5 hours and was just now on San Pedro road.

San Pedro valley

Getting to the San Manuel turnoff was pretty easy, then got the dirt section to Mammoth. Crossed the San Pedro with a little bit of water in it, pretty good rolling to Mammoth. I took a picture at the old bar, then got to the Mexican restaurant and scored some tacos and rice and beans. The food was great, and I got another Coke from the Circle K and a to go asada burrito. Three other riders were leaving and I tagged on their back for a bit and followed them on the dirt road going towards Dudleyville. They moved away and I fell back ... thought I had eaten enough, maybe not ?? .... wheels coming off ... riding slower ... this sucks.

This would have been a fun place 

I think I ate enough

Through the mud puddles, slight detour near the railroad siding that was on private land, had to heft the bike over a locked gate ( might have been a few feet off course ?? ) .. Finally I get to Freeman Road.

Getting dark on Freeman road looking towards the Galiuro Mountains

Know I had a GU, drank some Coke, but just no strength. Rode some, got pass the memorial markers, it's getting dark, it's getting cold, the sun is down. Someplace way up ahead I think I see a red bicycle taillight. Out of energy and cold maybe 3 miles from the AZ Trail trailhead, I pull over and camp. 7 pm, tired, asleep.

Cold. Wake up to pee. Cold. Back in the sleeping bag. 3:15 I wake up. Figure I better get my ST and head out. Pack up, ride a little in the cold and dark, walk more than I should. Two vehicles at the trail head, no lights, I move on.

Turned onto Willow Springs road in the dark. Ride some, walk a little. Slow, cold, tired. Get a little more energy as the sun comes up and I'm going through the Willow Springs archway. Turn onto the gas line road, climb the green gate and get on the bypass for 77.  Three more gates, heavy assed bicycle. Get through it.

Mexican restaurant in Oracle. It was warm inside. Iced tea and huevos ranchers and a hot tortilla. So damn good. Cleaned my plate. Saw some strong people had quit. Thought about quitting. Pain in the ass to ride home after quitting. Pain in the ass to keep riding. Better to finish than quit. Rode up the hill, scored a chocolate mile and orange juice at the Circle K at the top of the hill.

Fun to ride downhill to San Manuel, but knowing every inch of elevation would have to be regained.

Starbucks drink, some candy, 15 minutes there, left. Breezy heading south, saw three gals riding going north. Stopped, ate a little.

Long ways in either direction

Back up that hill. Probably the slowest I've ever done it. Saw the jeep guy near Piety Hill. Yeah, got some food, got camping stuff, can just hangout another night if I don't make it, but screw that, time to go home.

Cross the AZ trail and my speed picks up. Suddenly I can ride the climbs ... no more walking, like I'm some kinda rejuvenated or something.  I had fun going downhill, getting dark, with red necks blasting their guns away on the north side of the road at three or four places, rolling along. 

Snow and Granite in the Rincons

At the top of the switchbacks the view was amazing, sundown, lights on in Tucson, pitch black otherwise, red sky, lights on in campers along the switchbacks. Getting cold. Gonna make it.

Bombing the downhill, so much fun, splashed through the creek at the bottom. Turn on my tail light ( bonus, it's not discharged like it was during Sunset ! ).  Pretty well lit, if they run my ass over at least that wasn't the reason.

Nice way to end a day

I get to Bear Canyon and go into the pizza place. Got a grinder for some dumb reason ... wasn't what I wanted at all, nibbled at it, ate some of the fries, downed a glass of orange soda, left most of the sandwich on the table, outta there.

Got down TV and survived, didn't get ran over. Got to the Rillito bike path. Safe now. Coyotes howling in the river, howled back at them. Craycroft, Swan, Alvernon, Country Club, Campbell, finally Mountain. Up the hill to Paul's house, got my car, and drove two blocks to Blue Dog. Took a picture at 9:02 and I'm done.

Done

So about 38 hours to do 200 miles. Gotta be the oldest person to do this ride ... like Ever !  Good to be done.  Something like 92 miles on Saturday and 108 on Sunday.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Sunset Limited

Four hundred miles from Tucson to Las Cruces.  Seemed like a fun thing to do, when I first heard that Blue Dog Bicycles was going to sponsor it and so I went to their kickoff meeting back in September.

It all seemed straightforward, ride from Tucson over Redington Pass to Benson ( which I had done ), and then from Benson over MiddleMarch ( also done ) and then into the Chiricahua Mountains, Portal and through New Mexico to El Paso and then north to Cruces.  Why not ?  Signed up and ready to go.

Day 1 - Tucson to Benson

Got up on Friday morning and it was raining just a little bit so I got my rain layer out ( which I was thinking about leaving at home ).  I rode to Blue Dog and waited for the others to show up, coffee'd up at Starbucks and around 7:15 we began to ride out.  Like most of these big group rides, everyone was all excited and we made great time getting to the Circle K on Tanque Verde, the last stop before Benson.  I got a Coke and a Fanta there and left pretty quickly.  Nate, who organized the ride, passed me a couple of minutes later and then we started up Redington road.
Nate presiding over the festivities 

Redington is a nice climb, and Nate was waiting at the top. Matthew was up there also and we chatted for seconds before rolling along. I looked down and there were 3 riders abreast perhaps 4 or 5 switchbacks downhill.  Kept on going, maybe a bit slower than I've done the ride over to the San Pedro before, but it went well.  When I got to the river, I was going to take that little shortcut past the ranch houses and the fields, but the river was running strong because of the rain that had fallen, I put one wheel in and it sunk and I said "no way" and beat a quick retreat.  You could see all of the rain off on the San Pedro road, and back behind me up in the mountains .. lots of thunder and booming.
Get out of the road little guy
Dark and Stormy
Ponies at the Circle K

San Pedro road had some mud, but was starting to dry out.  I got a turtle out of the road so he didn't get ran over, not that much traffic out there, but good for him to be someplace else. Near Cascabel, I stopped for a couple of minutes and it was totally quiet and then I heard the crunching of gravel and here comes Ian. He had a flat tire right in the parking lot before the group left, had taken maybe a half hour or more to get it fixed and had caught up. He quickly rode out of sight and that was the last rider I saw on the course. After a while I got to Pomerene, and I was pretty dehydrated ... had plenty of water, but hadn't drank enough because it was cloudy and such up in the mountains and I got into a deficit situation.  Sure could have used a little store or gas station, but there is nothing except a Post Office in Pomerene.  So I rode on into Benson and stopped at the first Circle K.  A Big Gulp hit the spot as I sat and drank it. Few minutes later, I headed for the Horseshoe Cafe which was really busy,  I wasn't ready to eat, so got a grilled ham and cheese to go, and went outside. Turned on my rear light and it was dead ... must've left the thing on all day.  This meant I was going to have to ride down AZ 80 toward St David with no taillight.  As I pondered that, I rode past a little motel and decided it was time to bag it for the night, recharge myself and my batteries and hit it in the morning. $40 for a room worked out just fine.

Day 2 - Benson to Chiricahua Mtns

Early up, rolling just before sunrise. Ate that ham and cheese sandwich in my room, swung by the food mart and then went south. St David was quiet, and the ride down 80 to Clifford Ranch road went well, but it is a LOT easier going the other way like I did during the Cochise Classic.  At Clifford Ranch road, there is a big windmill and you take the road east towards MiddleMarch road.  It rode well, till a little section that was overgrown with cat claw. I thought it was fun, I pushed a little bit to get around most of the cat claw, got to the top  of a rise, took some pictures, and then I saw a badger run out in front of me. He ran for maybe 20 or 30 feet and then bailed back into the brush. Cool !
Catclaw and barbed wire on the crossover
Middlemarch ( you can see the sheeps head )
Survived the Climb

MiddleMarch road is just a wide, pretty well graded pain, getting hot, sweaty.  I passed Slavin Gulch road, stopped for a second, and got to the top and met Tyler, who was running the Salsa Cycles aid station. He cooked up a brat and had some bacon already cooked and it was soooo good !  He had a couple of ice cold sodas, and I could have sat there and BS'd all afternoon, but made myself get up and start downhill towards Pearce. There is nothing in Pearce, in spite of Google saying that TJ's is there !  ( I did remember that ).  On to Sunizona and I stopped at Sandy's, got another grilled ham and cheese and took half of it to go.  They were really wonderful people there, highly recommend it.

Nice ride towards the mountains, but the wind changed and it was getting tiring.  At someplace I saw a cell tower, checked my phone, and nope ... still no service !  ( must've been another carrier ).  Into the Chiricahua's near sundown and started looking for a camping spot and as it was getting dark, passed from private property into the forest, found a little road that turned near a windmill and I stopped.
Saturday night

Put the bike down and saw something running and it was a little skunk leaving the area.  I camped, cooked a stroganoff thing I had bought ( not that good ), and went to bed. Before getting into the bivy, heard a rustling and there was another skunk .. he left when I shined my light on him.  The stars were spectacular, and the old windmill groaned in the wind.

Day 3 - Chiricahua Mtns to Hachita

Sunday morning. Tried to ride before dawn and didn't really get the sun on me until the top of Onion Saddle. It was a nice climb, dark and cool in the shadows, and beautiful views. At the top you can see forever, I think it's about 7400 feet. A fast downhill pretty much all the way to Portal, passing the Southwest Research station, and seeing a lot of deer along the road near the campgrounds down there.
Nice morning


The Portal Lodge's breakfast was delicious and got me recharged for the later morning.  Leaving Portal had a nice downhill, but a strong south wind, when I turned north I was flying !  The ride to Animas went well but it was sure good to find the Bootheel grocery open as you leave Animas.  Such a little town, out in the middle of nowhere.
Portal deer

More riding, heading east on NM 9.  Stopped at the only tree to drink some and rest for a couple of minutes before the Playas training center.

almost to Hachita
Not McDonald's
Then over the next range of mountains and I was coming into Hachita when I passed Jeff's Bike Ranch and Martin, a GDMBR rider was out front telling me "they're all here". Turned out Nate and Simone had stopped and were heading back to Tucson.  There were some hot dogs, and Jeff came in and fixed me a pitcher of lemonade which really hit the spot.  Nate and Simone and the guys left, I talked with Lisa, another GDMBR rider for a few minutes and then I left, so I could get out of town before sundown.  I stopped at the grocery and talked with Jeff for a bit and he took my photo.  The shadows were getting long and I made about 8 miles before I saw a little road off to the left and I cut onto it and bivied for the night.  The stars were even more spectacular and there was lightening off to the east.  Cows and coyotes for company.

Day 4 - Hachita to El Paso
New Mexico sunrises rock
Basin and Range

Up, made coffee, rolled out.  Lots of Border Patrol on this road ... like every mile or so it seemed. Passed the BP Ramsey station, and just kept going. Not that much to say or comment about as it was just flattish, more Basin and Range country with easy climbs. I stopped at a place called Hermanos which was a cattle collection point.  Took a couple of pictures and felt something funny and realized my leg was covered in mosquitoes.  Time to leave !

Finally got to Columbus and hit the little restaurant. She fixed me a steak and scrambled egg plate with beans and tortillas ... it tasted so good !!  Seriously, food is such a treat when you have been riding for a while, but this was good even if you weren't starving !

I called Susan from the little park there, where the old guys were sitting around. You know in some ways, I am one of those old guys, was thinking I could just sit there a complain about the kids or something. But it's getting warm and I need to get to El Paso.

That part was hot. There was a bag of ice I should have bought in Columbus, and as the miles ticked on I really regretted not buying it, and filling up all of my bottles.  My water got hot and there was little shade. Got pass all of the interesting terrain stuff and then wind was changing blowing right at me.  The last few miles before Santa Theresa were hard and slow.  Finally, I got there and turned and immediately I was zooming along the Decominici highway at 20 something mph.  There was dirt blowing all over the place, I was over on the newly build highway skirting all of the traffic. As I crossed into Texas it began to rain.  Stopped at a Subway and the guy asked me where I came from and said "Hachita" ... he hadn't heard of it.

So it was getting dark and I wasn't sure about camping along the bike path and really wanted something besides Subway, so I found a hotel for the night and figured I could start early and get to Las Cruces and back to El Paso to make a 1:30 Amtrak back to Tucson.

Day 5 - El Paso to Las Cruces

Pretty ride. Light rain at the start, you ride on some concrete bike path, and then along the levee system on either side of the river.  Crossed the Rio Grande several times, and then there was an easy street ride into Las Cruces, past the University and suddenly we are done.
Urban bike path
Rio Grande

Done
I got a coffee the folks at Outdoor Adventures and got an Uber on the phone and he was there in no time at all.  Marzan pulled up and we started trying to figure out how to get my bike in his car. He didn't think the seat went down so we tried it without folding it down.  No way !  Was thinking we were going to have to cancel the ride when I saw there was a cutout from the trunk area and then we noticed the two little handles on either side that released the seats ..  yay, they folded down, the bike fit  ( with the wheels off ) and away we went.

El Paso Amtrak station is a beautiful building constructed in 1904.  The train was supposed to arrive at 1:30 but kept getting pushed back and finally got there at 5:45.  Lots of clouds and it all made for a beautiful sunset as we rolled towards Tucson. Got into Tucson at about 11:30, put the bike together and rode home and it was done.
Trizzle, trazzle, trozzle, trone .. time for this one to go home

Was really nice to see my blue dot "bounce" when I got to Las Cruces, especially after bailing on ATR two years in a row.  This was a fun ride, and hats off to Blue Dog Bicycles, Overland Adventures and Salsa Bikes for setting this up and supporting it.  Next up is doing the Mount Lemmon Gravel Grinder on Oct 26.