Sunday, September 07, 2008
Saguaro National Park by Bike
Ride in Peace
Saguaro Nat'l Park rests on the border near Mexico, the United States, and Oodam Reservations. Although you would not find it drawn on a map, this area is also a spiritual border or sorts, between the seen and unseen. Just as if you were standing in Arizona, the United States--seeing over the border into Old Mexico, so too can you be in this world and see into the other.
Gates Pass, at the top--Thomas Gates carved this route out with his mule team in the 1890's.
It's going to be 102 degrees in Tucson today--we've left early and already at the top of Gates Pass, about 7:30 a.m. the temps are in the 90's.
This it the top of Gates Pass looking East toward the heart of Tucson.
I have applied a ton of sunscreen, only to have most of it melt away in the heat of the morning.
Going up Gates Pass, I spied Stef--I recognized him by our Team Mooney Jersey.
Saguaro Nat'l Park is probably one of the most beautiful places on Earth. As it is such an extraordinary locale, extraordinary things will be there for you to discover.
The Wolf, Gentle Readers--said to ride the Park for Eternity. Should you visit, you may see him. Do not be afraid! Just know that for what ever reason, he rides in two worlds. I do not know what kind of spirit he is--just that when ever we are in the Park, we always see him on this road. He appears for a few moments then vanishes. He takes human form--mostly. He is always as you see him here--cold, hot, rain, bitter cold, and always riding alone. Actually we saw him twice--just as we entered the McCain Loop. I got that first quick shot. I was a bit more prepared with the camera, and got this better photo. If you must encounter phantoms, best that they seem content, right?
Out of the Nat'l Park boundary and on the way to the airport for pancakes!
John said he'd buy this time. We were just gonna high-tail it home because of the heat, but breakfast at the airport is something that I didn't want to miss.
Having breakfast gave us a chance to visit and and catch up on things.
For this ride, we wanted to put in some more miles. We're on the one of the Brevet routes, either the 400 km or the 300 km--I can't remember which.
The farms are still out here, not yet over-run by development. You can see the Owl Heads in the foreground. These are the hills on the other side of Dog Mtn where I live. As you get closer to them, they look remarkably like gigantic owl's heads peering at you from miles away.
Looking West, towards the Oodam Indian lands.
On the Brevet course. Check out the palm trees on the right side of the road.
These huge palm trees are like dancers--they sway and wave in the strong breezes out here in the farmland.
Picacho Peak is about 20 miles from where we are at this point on the Brevet course.
Old Marana Post Office.
There's the familiar Circle K--a much needed controle for Randonneurs while riding the Brevets. Dog Mtn and my house are about 15 miles in the foreground, and then Mt. Lemmon in the background.
After we get some water, John, Kathy and I ride the frontage road until Tangerine Rd. The tandem heads back to Continental Ranch, and I made my long and hot six-mile climb up to my house. It was 102 degrees and those last six miles are by far the hardest six miles of the day.