Friday, October 28, 2011

The Purple Stain

The Purple Stain is a Time Traveler.

My apologies to you Gentler Reader of This Blog--busy days have kept me away from the bike and away from the Triple B Ranch--the original name of the blog when I set it up back in 2005. Things are changing and in the changes it strikes me that here in Interzone, the Seen and the Unseen can be passed through ever so lightly--as they exist together--right on the border where one memory--one collective memory of a place--fades and then rises into the next.

Here too, some of my memories appeared like a reminder, or a signal or sign--that I am traveling and will continue to travel--forever. Riding a bike instead of walking or even driving--the flow of the world changes. You are quite aware of the Seen and Unseen at the same time.

100 year old Trees.

The trees here are very much alive, and I've noticed them changing as Winter approaches. Leaves fall off like our work clothes slip off each night before we go to bed.

100 year old streets.

Maybe not people riding horseback, but probably automobiles as early as the teens on these streets. I am probably not the only bloke to ride his bike into downtown in this manner.

Neighborhood of Old East Lawrence.

Might the street and the trees have such a memory of a bone-shaken rider on a cool mid-day Autumn afternoon? It feels like I'm flowing through a dream, mes amis--am I slipping through thoughts of the trees?

The Pig--one of many cafes in Interzone.

Liberty Hall's southeast corner--built in 1877.

The Ethridge Hotel on that corner--first built in 1858 and then burned by Quantrail's Raiders in 1861.

I'm going with Rico as he gets a haircut in the building here to the left. I have to tell you that the light for photographs was the best--I wish I had a better camera for you mes amis.

Elevator in the old building--which dimension shall we enter? Push a button and find out, Gentle Reader of This Blog...

Third Floor. Rico waits for his appointment in the Salon.

When we ride up the elevator to the third floor, mes amis, I am amazed--I see an old building but I sense many things. Inside the Salon, I can't sit still--its like I hear and see everything, but at the same time there's nothing there! I am right at the line of Now and Then--it is very fluid--things are moving, Time is moving and swirling--here is like a rock in a stream. As time rolls and sweeps over this spot, there's a ripple and swirl of the energy.

The room has a memory.

I feel and and see--but not with eyes--but in my mind the people and the place--but they are fleeting images. Paint and objects are a thin vail to the past. Did Those of the Past have a sense of Those of the Future? What would be here? Who would be here? We never think about that and it does not really occupy my thoughts--but sometimes, if you are fortunate and in the right place at the right time--that thought and that memory can be walked right into.

The Irony.

I know that I was in, or very near, a place where Time and Being ripple and somehow flow together and mix--what ever it is or whom ever it is left me this clue or message. The Kitchen Clock. The Kitchen Clock--we had this exact same plastic clock in our kitchen back in Tulsa where I grew up--in our little house. It was next to our kitchen sink and the window. It was there for almost 50 years--It was the clock that read the time and told me when and where--everything we did and that I did, I did around what the time was on this clock for all of my life in that house. My God what if it was the same clock? Not one just like it--but the very one? From our house and our kitchen? I don't know why and I don't understand this message, but the fact that it a time machine of sorts--well, I have to appreciate the intention. The message and the meaning are for me I know--but what is it? If there is something for me to find--where is it?

The Salon.

Well, when you find yourself in these situations like I did--it's not really scary. It is mysterious and fascinating. I though for a moment that someone was having a pretty good laugh at me stumbling around what could be to them the obvious.

I look for the way to the meaning.

While Rico gets his hair cut, I look around the place, and tread lightly--for who would appear or what would change made me a bit wary. If there are those that travel through time and memory--for why they would want or need to is a mystery to me--how do they do it? Is it a door? A few steps up and then a left and you're in? Who watches and who takes care of the places like these? To make sure someone like me doesn't go where they are not supposed to go? If it is not who--that what?

Our bikes parked outside.

Outside in the sunshine of the afternoon, I see my Campus Bike. I'll take it and go down to the LBS. That is what I'm to do I feel--leave the flow, stand on the bank and let the droplets of my short swim in Time's cool waters evaporate from my mind.

Hotel for Time Travelers.

My gut feeling is that travelers might stay here a night or two--have a breakfast or dinner--before they embark. The Ethridge was built in 1858. Legend is that William Quantril had breakfast here while his Bushwackers sacked and burned Lawrence, back in August of 1861. I read that Quantail's men rode to Lawrence by way of Eudora, and the route, which I know well from my commutes to work and from my rides back into town from the Wilds, took them riding past The Little House. It wasn't here then of course, but there are a few houses still standing where Quantril's Army rode past. I ride past them too. Quantril burned down the Ethridge--it was rebuilt shortly after. Just about all of Lawrence was burned. I wonder what building or what was on the site of the Salon?

Lawrence has always been a bike town.

The Local Bike Shop.

The LBS was a factory or some sort of machine shop for many many years--100 years ago. Then it was an Army Navy Surplus Store--now a bike shop for about 25 or 30 years.

The Tavern.

Rico and I meet up after his hair cut as I'm walking down the street and looking for photographs to take. We decide we'll head home--but first I suggest we slip into our favorite pub and have a pint. I wonder if I'll meet a Time Traveler one day? I know its not too flattering to name him or her so--but for now I'll call 'em The Purple Stain. Until that Time, my Dear Fellow,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Last Ride of Beer and Bikes

After a 30 mile ride from Dog Mtn to Downtown Tucson.

I had one more long ride Friday Night--Saturday morning I'd be catching a shuttle to Phoenix and then flying into Kansas City. I thought for sure after the recon ride I did with Le Tigre covering the Rillito River bike trail joining up with the Santa Cruz bike trail, I'd be at Stef's place in no time. Unfortunately I couldn't find and missed the ways to catch on to the trail--which I could sometimes see from where I was--So Gentle Readers of This Blog I rode mostly South to Downtown via the old El Tour Tucson Death Route--on Silverbell Rd.

Down from Dog Mtn via Twin Peaks Rd. on my way to Silverbell to catch the Santa Cruz River Bike Path.

I had a pretty good hunch that I could save a lot of time by going West on the new Twin Peaks Interchange. Its all new pavement and I ride very fast, mes amis. I knew I'd be able to quickly catch the Santa Cruz--it was early evening and I had to be down town by 6pm. I gave my self just over an hour and a half to make the Mercado by 6pm and Stef's party.

I'm in familiar territory of Continental Ranch.

Silverbell Rd is fast and I know it from my rides with John and Kathy. Its also re-paved and I know I can use it to quickly get onto the Santa Cruz to ride to downtown before heavy traffic sets in. I certainly don't want to be on Silverbell during Friday-Night rush hour traffic.

Newly paved Silverbell Rd heading South. That's Pusch Ridge and with Mt. Lemmon behind--looking East.

I have to tell you that I did not see or could not see where to get onto the Santa Cruz--maybe some of you will be reading this and say to your selves, "Oh man, you were so close!" but after some frustrating dead-ends, the only choice I had was to ride Silverbell into downtown--that leg of El Tour that everyone dreaded back in the old days.

The road is beat up and narrow. Sand and mud wash out over the bike lane, and the locals are not friendly and they drive fast. There's also a grueling headwind to boot. To make a very long 30 mile story short, Gentle Reader of This Blog, I got the Hell beat out of me riding with a fury to get this Beer Party before sundown and/or getting run over.

I'm happy to report that I made it--and all that was on my mind was a cold beer that Stef would have waiting for me--and FOOD. I was starving mes amis! Anyway, Silverbell is a shit road and I'm glad I had the Old Raleigh with the big tires to help me get to Downtown Tucson without a flat or a crash.

Its a tough road and I had a tough bike. Also I begged my next door neighbor Brucie to come pick me up after the party. I had ridden 200 miles for the week and 30 more home in the dark is something that I couldn't do--especially after 30 miles of rugged Silverbell. Thank God Brucie agreed to come fetch me--I was able to enjoy a few more beers and relax.

I am just going to make it!

I am at the Mercado!

Yes! Where is the food?!! Where is the Beer?!!

I have to tell you all that while I rode the last few miles into the Barrio Del Tucson--and the rough pavement gave way to the old neighborhoods of the city--the sights and sounds of the Old Pueblo--and the aroma of burritos and tacos and frejoles cooking filled the evening air--oh how did wish I still lived here.

The food! The cool night creeping in like a fat grey cat to replace the relentless all-day glare of the Sun. For those few miles everyone was home, with the family, and setting in for the evening meal--which I could smell cooking from every kitchen on every block it seemed!

I was so busy busting my ass to get the Party--I forgot to find out where the Party actually was located... This is Stef and Angela's place, but the door is locked and no one's home. Lucky for me, Foxx, Stef's young son saw me and told me where to ride to--down the street!

Me and Stef.

I got to see and talk to many old friends. Stef's book will come out this November sometime--here is the link to a preview of Tucson Spokes mes amis. I hope you enjoy!

1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix. What a bike, mes amis!

Just one flat the week I was in Tucson. Just over 200 miles for the week as well--that's the most for me in a long time. I have to say I was a bit sunburned and my legs were stiff and sore on the flight home. Needless to say I slept on the plane like a log.

Thanks for coming along on this trip back to Tucson. Thanks for reading my blog. I just get busy and can't always post in timely manner but I will try!

Cheers! Bruce

Foothills of Tucson

Tulsa Boy and Kid from Brooklyn.

You all probably recognize Boss Man. We met up and put in a few miles. Boss took the morning off to meet me--I rode down into town on my old commute route I'd take to the Desert San.

Luckily the day before I took a day off from riding, and my buddy Phil picked me up and we out and had a steak dinner--he also took me by the Hardware Store so I could get some things to fix my irrigation system--Thanks Phil!

Sunrise up over Mt. Lemmon, mes amis!

I've put in some miles--just about every morning riding at sun-up to meet the lads!

This is the best time of the morning--a bit cool, but the sun warms you quickly.

I'm motivated by Boss promising to buy me a cup of coffee at the cafe we're meeting at today. Because I didn't rent a car, I'm having to ride, Gentle Readers of This Blog, 15 miles just to get into town. Going out and riding with the guys is one thing, but when you have to run errands and get food and stuff--well quickly you realize how many miles you gotta go. Tucson is a bike friendly city but out where I live things are far away. Short bike trips don't exist--oh yeah and the climbing. I have a new found understanding and respect for those that can go car free--it takes grit! Having to ride over 15 miles home back up into the foothills of Dog Mtn is work.

Southern foothills of Pusch Ridge.

I'll have to ride down and around the tip of the Ridge that you see there, ride on the other side to meet Boss Man at Ina and Oracle Rds right there at the Starbucks--as you can see, I have a few miles to go.

Oro Valley on La Canada riding South.

I'll make up some time by flying through Oro Valley. That up there is La Canada which is newly paved and will take me, with pristine bike lane, to Ina Rd. I'll turn East and then be a few miles from Ina and Oracle. In the picture above, you can see downtown Tucson to the far left hidden the the smog and dust.

That light up there is Ina and Oracle--one the busiest intersections in Tucson.

I meet up with Boss and the Starbucks is hoppin' with everyone getting coffee to go and sitting outside to take cell phone calls or check email in the sunshine of the patio before heading into the office.

The Boss can see that I'm pretty wiped-out, so we sit and relax awhile while I inhale three bagels and gulp down two tall Americanos. We have a few laughs and get caught up on things--what we're doing, plans for Christmas (I plan to be back to escape the snow) and mostly I get a chance to wake up.

Things are intense at this Starbucks because its busy and crowded. Boss, accustom to living in NYC is right at home. Since I've been living in KS, I'm used to hopping on the bike and being in Corn Flake Country within a few blocks!

Boss Man on the bike.

The Boss is a fearless, strong, and tough rider. Hot or cold does not phase him--traffic never bothers him. I just noticed how busy and fast everything was around me--after being on country roads where you see more deer and antelope and chickens on Old McDonald's farm than people. Here it seems you got to watch that some bimbo doesn't run you down pulling out of a McDonalds whilst stuffing Egg McFatGrease in their face.

Riding up Ina Rd at a good clip--here are the Catalina Foothills, mes amis.

Boss and I had our laughs and jokes--always the best riding with him. The coffee was just what I needed. The air was warming up and the morning beautiful. Boss and I put in some quick miles and then, alas, he had to run, and then get ready to head into his office at the U of A.

At the Starbucks, we talked a little bit about what happened early January last year--the shooting that took place at the Safeway there at Ina and Oracle. That's where Boss and his family shop. We rode past that location on all our training rides on the weekends, and I every day for years on my commute. I can't believe a year has almost gone by.

I could see the make-shift shrine from across the street while we had coffee--so on the way back to Dog Mtn, riding West on Ina at almost Oracle, I pulled over in the bike lane and took this quick photo. Its right off the road on the NE corner. This is a very busy intersection so I would not advise stopping too long.

Ina and Oracle.

These are the six who where killed that Saturday morning back in January. Click on the photo if you want to be able to read the names. Anyhow, Congresswoman Giffords had the same set up at the Safeway up in Rancho Vistoso where I shopped, and I met her in much the same way--on a weekend out riding my bike. I stopped to get water and she was buying a bag of ice. It was very common to see her staff setting up her greeting booths at the local Safeway stores in her district on the weekends.

Climbing back up to Dog Mtn!

Climbing--and its hot--and I gotta pee. Ten miles and two tall espresso drinks later--I have to see a man about a horse--

Jack Pot! I'm very glad this old guy was still here--one of the last things to get picked up from the road construction crews!

The Tortolita Range, the last leg on my ride back up to Dog Mtn.

I was lucky to have a tailwind on Moore road, mes amis! Now I'm making some time!

Mt. Lemmon behind me--I stop to take a parting look and photo for you. My hope is that I'm back here soon, and then one day climbing Mt. Lemmon with my friends.

I'll stop in for a quick lunch--I'm starved, plus when I get home there's more work to do around the house before I leave.

Such a big macho truck to haul around a Gringo with a small penis!

Big trucks like this, like in Kansas, are used for work on the farm--or by the Mexicans here, like in Kansas, used for work to earn a living. These kinds of trucks you see are not work trucks--they're driven by white guys that want the world to know how manly they are. These babies are expensive to drive around, and you need a disposable income to have one--like this guy who really didn't look like he did.

Almost home.

I have ridden almost 200 miles for the week. The weather has been perfect! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Cheers! Bruce

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Le Tigre de Tucson

Le Tigre and I meet on the Rillito River Bike Path for some serious riding!

Old School Chum and Independently Wealthy local Tucson Boy and I arrange an early morning ride, Gentler Readers of This Blog. We will ride on the Rillito River Bike Path, and Le Tigre will guide me on the new connection where it meets the Santa Cruz Bike Path. I don't think its officially open yet but many of the Tucson Cyclist have been taking it for a weeks now. I'll use this trip to recon for Friday Night's Beer and Bikes event at Stef's house in the Mercado near Down Town.

Only just opened, I'm on Twin Peaks Rd--that's Panther Peak in the background in Continental Ranch--which is on the West side of Interstate 10.

I thought I'd ride down to a cafe where I could have a quick breakfast, then meet up with Le Tigre for our ride to Down Town via the Santa Cruz.

A bit of a chill this morning.

Twin Peaks take me pretty far pretty fast--but then I have to back-track a little to the cafe. From there, I can shoot down Thornydale, onto River Rd to La Cholla, where I'll see Le Tigre.

At the Cafe--had to fix a flat.

When I pulled into the Cafe, I discovered that I had a puncture, and the piece of wire was still stuck in the tire. I got my coffee and breakfast, and then warmed by the coffee I got the tube patched up. I gave myself plenty of time to head out this morning, so a flat--my first in a long time--was not a big deal. It just takes some time to get the tire up to 100 psi with my hand-pump. But I was good to go and now the Sun was warming me up and I felt strong. Back on familiar roads--River Rd, mes amis, a commute route of mine for years--I made good time to the bike path.

About River Rd and La Cholla, just on the bike path.

Construction is finally complete--this was being worked on for years--When Le Tigre and I head this way, it will be the first time for me--I'm pretty excited. Soon there will be a bike path all around the City of Tucson--awesome.

Le Tigre--

On our way on the new bike path!

Riding under Interstate 10.

You know I've read a lot about the Santa Cruz and Rillito Bike Paths connecting, but what most of the writers fail to do is actually tell you anything remotely relevant. Its just like they're re-hashing a poorly written press release. Years ago I called Matt Zoll, and some others at the River Parks/Bike Committee--asking about how far East I could ride on the bike path--if I could ride from say, Sabino Canyon area on dirt until I reached the paved part--Mr. Zoll and many of the other staff admitted that they actually didn't know.

So I needed Le Tigre to guide me. There were a few times the bike path branched off in different directions--Le Tigre told me not to got that way because it dead-ends. There needs to be a few signs to help people out for awhile--or even every few miles a sign with a map--not just of the bike trail but the streets that connect to it--just saying.

All new bike trail--heading South on the Santa Cruz.

Riding past the old Pecan Grove near the open pit mine.

I know where we are, but I'm not really sure where we are some of the time. That is the case on the Santa Cruz. Like the Pecan Grove and the Pit--you would drive past them every day on I-10 but really there seems to be a lot space between the Interstate and the Santa Cruz--and what I thought looked like Silverbell Rd just to the West. Le Tigre rides fast and I was trying to keep up, take a few pictures for you, and catch up on my friend's life these last six months since I've seen him!

"A" Mountain--or before 1919, Sentinel Peak.

When we arrive, or should I say, when we plop out on Congress Ave--we're just a few blocks from the Mercado and Stef's place. I suddenly know right where we are when we get off the bike path. We'll make a quick trip to the house.

Made it!

I may have to ride back home Friday Night after the party (hope I can get a ride) so I'm glad I got this far. I've ridden 32 miles from my house--then to meet Le Tigre--to get here. Friday I'll ride the path again, and I hope to make a grand entry for the party!

Down Town Tucson Streets.

Now we'll ride through the barrio, across the University of Arizona Campus, to Le Tigre's Casa--and I'll get some air, and extra water bottle to carry for my trip back home to Dog Mtn--and I'll clean up a little before I meet some old Desert San friends for a quick lunch.

Centro neighborhoods--these homes date from the early 1920s. This is the real Tucson, mes amis!

Le Tigre speaking the local dialect with a young woman--she's trying to find her way and Le Tigre helps out--he is the Prince of this City, mes amis!

Old Home from a historic barrio neighborhood that's still looking good!

Live, Love, Sing, Dance, and have Fun!

About to ride into our old Uof A haunts.

Thanks to Le Tigre, we got through the barrio without getting shot--just playing! There are some well known cyclist from Sonora, Mexico and the people who live in barrio respect them--and all cyclists. Not like the Old Gringos with their Buicks and entitlements, only coming to town when Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin start getting to cold for their blood.

Cafes and bicycles as we near the University Campus.

The Frog and Firkin--our favorite pub on University Ave, down by the Main Gate! I love this place dearly, mes amis...

Slow down Le Tigre!

Old Main, built 1881, University of Arizona Campus.

Student Union.

The Old Student Union was just about to be torn down when I arrived here to work in the University Archives in 1999. During most of my Graduate school days, the Mall and the Union were being renovated and rebuilt. Very nice now and glad I got to use it for awhile while I worked here.

The famous chemistry building on the Mall.

Bear Down Gym.

Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Go! Fight!
Go Fight Win!
Bear Down
(Actual Fight song of The University of Arizona Wild Cats)

Too Cool for School.

Now we're on Le Tigre's old commute route to work and to school. The Kid is fast! I'm trying to take pictures and he's rolling away from me! Actually its good we're on the move because he's keeping me on time for my date at the San.

Trying to keep up with Le Tigre.

Le Tigre is still fit and nimble--we make it through the busy campus like two flying arrows.

Through the old neighborhoods of the city.

A few miles winding our way to Le Tigre's place on a calm and cool Fall day in Tucson was the best for me, Gentle Readers of This Blog. The weather perfect--the blazing heat of the Summer has past, and days are mellow and sleepy-dream-like.

Le Tigre and I visit for a short while and I filled up my tires with air--got some cold water and a spare bottle from Le Tigre as I left his cozy adobe for what would be a long, hot climb to Dog Mtn.

I arrived for my lunch date with Desert San friends at a local spot we all enjoyed. Lunch was great and I was starved. Lots of laughs and catching up on who got sacked and who moved on, etc etc. Then we said our farewells.

Swan--my old commute! Still a challenging climb right out the door after work--always very hot no matter what time of year.

I'm doing okay climbing Swan up into the Foothills!

I rode my old Foothills commute route back home. The only thing different is that I'd get to ride up La Canada as its newly finished, instead of weaving my way through the neighborhoods of Oro Valley. It was hot, and late afternoon--this would end up being a 70 mile ride today for me.

The other side of the Ridge.

In the photo above, I've ridden from down by the Desert San, climbed Swan, traveled on Ina Rd that hugs the Ridge on the other side of the mountains--around the base there on the right, and now up La Canada through Oro Valley. Then I still have to climb to Dog Mtn!

Long day in the saddle.

Raleigh Super Grand Prix--my father bought me this bike at Vendebles Bike Shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma--my home town--in 1977 when I was in High School. The bike is still pretty much original save the Brooks and the rear wheel--still looks and feels brand new!

I put in some miles this week, mes amis, and I'm glad I had this sturdy bike to take me everywhere. I didn't rent a car--because to be honest money is tight now with rent here in Lawrence and still having a mortgage in Tucson.

I'm a cyclists, and a Tucson Cyclist. Many people would trade a lot more to have the weather and the roads and the time to ride like this. Thanks to Le Tigre for guiding me around the city, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Cheers! Bruce