Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Way the Navajo Know Them

My commute home

The Navajo tell me that there are too many horses in the High Country.  I know because when I first drove up to The College on narrow and rugged Route 12 from Window Rock, I met a couple of these wild creatures standing defiantly in the road such that I had to stop. 

And when I say wild I mean, long shaggy mane, mud smeared, and “Spirited.”  These were Mustangs – and I have to tell you – to them, I was some kind of uneasy annoyance. They weren’t arrogant so much as – the best I can do is say – dangerously regal.

These were not Gran’ma Indian’s ponies grazing beside the road.  As I rolled down my car window to say something like “shoo!” or “git!”  They stood glaring at me with trigger-ready eyes.  They smelled something about me, sensed I was a strange thing – their look pierced into me as they formed an idea as to what I was – and this same moment I realized I among the Wild Ones!

They bolt and sprint fiercely offended, “Ehh! Be gone from us!”  And then a short distance away glare and stand stiff.

It was scary for a heartbeat, but at the same time exhilarating!  These were not feral horses, because I know – you too would know because this kind of encounter takes hold to tell you!

We rode in a big van provided by The College to the Shiprock Campus, and also provided was Kurt, our driver from the Maintenance Department, to take us the long way to the annual College Christmas party.  I rode shotgun and while people slept, Kurt told me all the names of the mountains the way the Navajo know them. 

The other members of the staff in the van seem very quiet when we see the Wild Ones – they don’t use the Spanish word Mustang.  I am filled with emotion and try to find and feel what was so close when I first met the ponies on the Route 12.

Kurt says so many, too many…  Struggling to live.  It is Winter and the snow is deep.  The ponies are smeared in that red mud – the same that is smeared on the pickups and caked on the souls of The People’s boots.  I think it breaks their hearts as we ride by in the van, to see the ponies bewildered, angry, and starving – longing for the Creator.
Cheers,  Bruce

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Exploring is Not Boring

Wearing my RUSA Vest just in case
The College is pretty much deserted as it's Fall Break for the students.  A skeleton crew is keeping things going.  I'm getting my head around my position, and settling in okay I think.  It was the weekend and Friday the rains came, and then the snow- I decided I needed to get out of TS - 39 and just embrace this new place where I now live!

The snow was coming down real good, Gentler Reader of This Blog - so to be on the safe side, I wore my Randonneur's vest, which is water-proof and wind-proof, and you can see it for miles.  If I got myself stuck or in trouble, at least I could be spotted.  I also put part of a John Brown Belt (hope I got that right) on the Campus Bike so as not to be mistaken for an Elk or a deer - or anything else by a hunter.

I put this on the bike so I could be seen if got lost too.  Also, the road from the trailer park to my office can get a bit busy with people going to work and school - this makes me more visible.

I was not sure what to expect actually.  The trail starts right by my house, so I thought I'd give it try.  I should be able to ride okay!  While not a mountain bike, The Desert San Campus Bike I would say is like a jeep - it has a triple ring on the front like a mountain bike - shifts great - and fenders should keep me dry and clean.  As long as I just pedal and keep going, I should be alright.

On the The College Fitness Path!
Right away I took off and I was surprised how easily I cut through the three inches of fluffy snow on the fitness path!  I think I averaged about seven mph for the three miles I road.  I just took it easy, mes amis, because I'd not ridden on the path but only knew it was supposed to circle around the main campus.  I couldn't make out my landmarks from the last ride to Tsaile Lake - Tsaile Peak and Black Pinnacle, and really not even The College.

No worries - The College comes into view and I know where I am.  I would say this is about the half-way point in my ride.  This is pretty close to the eastern entrance to the campus.

A few times I was not quite sure which way to go.  The path has black gravel and by just swiping my foot in the snow I could see if I was on it.  Otherwise, thick gooey vermilion mud underneath!

Foothills of the Chuska Mtns
Navajo people are telling me that I'll be able to find roads that lead up into the mountains, and I will find great beauty!  But maybe need to wait for better weather I think.  I'm not quite equipped to venture out in these kinds of conditions until I really know my way around - have the right bike for the job, and gear to survive a few days in snow.

The altitude made this a workout!  I was only out for an hour but that was okay.  My bike clothes keep me surprisingly dry and comfortable.  I should have no problem riding to work in any conditions.  If it was pouring rain and I drove to work, it would take me the same amount of time to walk from the car to the library as it would to ride from TS 39 to the office.

But every day I try something new and try to discover some unseen part of this place that will help me know and belong.

Cheers!  Bruce

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bruce Back On-Line - Starting a New Job

Dear Gentle Reader of This Blog,

I was hired as Systems Librarian at The College, up on the Navajo Reservation.  I started the job on November 11th, and left Lawrence, Kansas November 8th.  While back in Tucson, Little Egypt sent me word about a job up there in Navajo Country, so like all the other scores of jobs I applied for this past year, I hammered out the application, sent in the resume, and waited for the email form-letter type response from some HR Associate saying I was not being considered - if even that...

After a year of applying for jobs as a librarian, I found myself now with two job offers.  One back in Kansas (it would be just a half-time cataloger) and then another from The College.

So, I am preparing to drive back to Kansas from Tucson- I have a phone interview with some great folks from Ottawa University in Ottawa, KS - about 25 miles from Lawrence.  I like them and they seem to like me - believe me after working with some pretty shitty people, mainly in academic libraries, I can pretty much sniff out the losers/the library and their staff that suck.  But this time I was talking to some real professionals - it was a relief!

They wanted me I was pretty sure, because the library director said she wanted to meet me and see if when I met them - we could make something work.  This was a bit different I thought - also the library director was South African, so maybe they do things a bit differently there.  Okay - cool.

For The College job, I started emailing and calling the director - to put out some feelers, and to let him know that I was in Arizona, and if I was being considered as a candidate, I'd come by the college up there and check it out.

Well, people weren't going to be interviewed until late October the Library Director told me.  So I was on my way and thought I really didn't have a chance anyhow.  As I was driving home, almost to Hatch, New Mexico (which means I was a good day's drive into my trip back to KS) I get a call from HR saying that my interview for the position was to be in a few days...

HR people, no matter from what company or what organization - are retarded

I'm at The College as Systems Librarian because the HR Rep from Ottawa University (also retarded) fucked up some paper work - delaying me actually signing the dotted line to work at OU there in Kansas  - I was offered the job back in Arizona - more money, full-time, and a good position for a librarian with my skills - so I accepted the The College job, and sent a quick email to Ottawa saying I changed my mind.

See I had told The College that had they called me just a day earlier, I would have driven up to Tsaile, up in the Four Corners Region, and interviewed.  Now I was back in Kansas and I didn't have the money (I didn't mes amis...) to turn around and make a trip back even if I wanted to - so I declined an interview.  The Library Director worked it out so I could have a phone interview - so what the heck, okay that's good for me.

And while waiting for Ottawa paperwork so I could officially start there, I was offered the job at The College.

Yeah, I had moving adventures - packing my shit up and maxing out my credit cards on hotel and gas - but I made it, Gentle Readers of This Blog! I made it!

My last night in Lawrence, KS - at the bike shop to get spare parts.

The Library, and my new office!


Here's my trailer - TS-39, a small but pretty much brand new trailer.  I feel very lucky, and I am grateful to the Nation for this!

The trailer park and TS-39 are just about a mile from the Library, so as you can see, the Desert San Campus Bike is back in service!  The trailer park is for faculty and staff that work at The College, as everyone calls it around here.  Gas, food, everything out here is expensive - and its a long drive.  To save gas, plus since I've spent almost every penny I have to get up here for the job, I bike in to save precious fuel.

As always, click on the photos to get a bigger image of them mes amis.  So here after the first week I went out on the Desert San for a look around - wow is what I said too!

I live about 30 miles from Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument.  Tsaile, Arizona is on the east end of the canyon, and Chile, Arizona is on the western side.  The road to Chinle from Tsaile is wide and a good road to bike on.  I'm sure when the time comes you'll see many photos of the canyon, the Visitor's Center - and all the sights in between!

I've brought the Mighty Trek and when I can (snow here now, Gentle Reader) we'll be back on the roads in Arizona!

Okay, so I ride down to Tsaile Lake, about a mile from the campus.  Tsaile is part of some words that The People use to describe the water and the sounds it makes coming down the mountains (Chuska Mtns) which forms the lake.  The lake waters flow down into where starts not far from these photos the eastern boundry of Canyon de Chelly.

That is Tsaile Peak on the left, and over on the right, Black Pinnacle.  It is a cool crisp afternoon as well, mes amis...

Up until about two years ago, a lot of the campus roads were like this!  This road will take you about 20 miles down to part of Canyon de Chelly, but then it ends.  Only a few people live out here, and there is no back road to get to Chinle, or so The People tell me - the problem is, they say, you would have to climb down into the canyon, and then climb out - which is impossible.

The Navajo way of seeing the world, living within it, and with a balance of Harmony, Reverence, and Humility, is something I'm trying to get my head around.  There is Purity on many levels here, and you can feel it in every breath you take - yet every single road sign, stop sign, billboard, everywhere you go - every inch of it - is "tagged" or  taken with blight, or the Other...

What is Beauty?  What is Evil?  What is Wealth?  What is Poverty?  Would you see The People as poor compared to your material wealth?  Or would you see them as The People who live in the Mind of The Creator?

Tsaile Peak reflected in Tsaile Lake...

Another shot of Black Pinnacle - pretty much I'm just trying to get a feel as to where I am - you know it's a very primal thing - like being born again and waking up for the first time ; here I AM - where am I?  That is there, and this is there - that is over there... so I am in the world!

Some Navajo people I work with say, oh yes, you can go up there and get on top - you'll have to do some climbing!

That Arizona Sun, mes amis!  I think approving of my arrival into this country...

This is the fitness trail that you can take around the campus - people will run and walk, later ski in the winter.  This is up closer where my trailer TS 39 is and the campus are situated.

I need to get home as the Sun is going down quickly!  Here's the Library where I work.  We're at 7200 feet and I have to say that I can tell the altitude is having an effect on me - the roads I'm on are a bit hilly and I found myself out of breath often.  The first week I found I got tired quickly.

If by chance you are a reader of this blog, Gentle Reader, and you find yourself out this way, please do stop in and say hello.  I can offer you a place to stay - a floor at least, and of course a hot meal and a place to rest.  If you have your bikes, want to hike, or see The College - I will be happy to be your host.  My hope is that soon I'll know my way around - by bike, car, and by foot - so I can help you in any way I can.

Because my Internet is so slow - or sometimes it doesn't even work.  I'll probably have to write the blog off-line and then from work when I have a bit of time, up load everything.

Cheers!  Bruce

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Cold morning climb on Old 59
I rode the Lawrence Bike Club's Octoginta 2013 - an 80 mile tour of beautiful Fall farm fields and back country roads of Kansas Territory.  Ahh...  Autumn in the saddle!  A bit chilly but I got it right and dressed just right, mes amis!  A constant wind that couldn't make up its mind - which translates to in yer face headwind - kept things on the cool side.

Sue and Natalia at the start on Mass Ave
You know if you've ever participated in El Tour De Tucson, you know that every bloke is just chompin' at the bit to blast off in a mist of testosterone, butterflies, and bravado.  The whole thing is an accident waiting to happen.  The reality is that you end up riding at a snail's pace until you see an opening to get the Hell outta the stampede.  The trouble is that every rider around you has seen their chance to bolt as well --- man its a bit scary.

But here, everybody just chilled out, and I must say to my amazement, rode in a orderly and carefree fashion until we all well out of town.  People were laughing and saying hi to friends.  It was the most sane thing I've ever witnessed.

All the glitter boys got up front - and that's okay.  They too took things nice and easy, and really the ride started out of town with the first big-ass hill and introduction of the wind.  Of course the Wind wins the day!

I tried to ride with my friends, but I actually found myself able to hang on to a fast front group at a nice easy pace.  On the first climb, and really early in this ride, I got dropped.  Mostly I rode by myself for about 10 miles.  I slowed down to talk with some of the Retro Guys, and then a bunch of us suddenly found ourselves together again - so we went into our club pace line and steamed along to the first controle/SAG.

A great breakfast there put on by Sunflower  -

Some people were just wanting to do the 45 mile, while others were trying to decide about the 80 mile course.  Me I made up my mind to ride the 80, and loaded up with as much of the free stuff as I could - lines for the bathroom get long, and food lines long too - so best if you have to wait your turn for a porta-john you don't have to wait for food - eat while in line.

Natalia thought it was funny that I stashed one of the large bread rolls in my jersey and she wanted a picture.

Mile 50
It was a windy and cold one, Gentle Readers of This Blog - but I feel I rode strong.  After riding 70 miles with Le Tigre in Tucson, I felt 80 would be no problem.  But you know, I worked hard to stay with my group of friends, but they were too fast and I had to back off and ride at my own pace.

I did ride with several people on and off, just to chat and have a friend - which is very much appreciated by everyone at all levels.  Very fast dudes would slow down, talk with me for a bit, then see a chance to roll on.  I did the same.  Really it was windy and there was a chill - and there were many hills!  Why just go out and kill yourself?

There was no traffic on many of these roads, and the colors of the trees were such that it was a vivid show of Fall and the season coming on.  And very serene silence took over for many miles as I could feel and almost hear my heart working to get me up and over the next hill.

Soon a friendly group of about 15 riders came up and I jumped in the pace line - this took me close to the end with only about 10 miles to go.  I was sure glad they showed up as we all talked and laughed and looked at and pointed to deer watching us go past, and wild turkeys nervously peering through patches of Winter Wheat.  They were much faster than me but they weren't in a hurry.

As we got closer to Lawrence, the group got into urban ride mode and they formed up into what seemed a platoon of men and machine and flew away.

I was not far behind, and when we got into Downtown, the group flung apart as people went their way home or to their cars - no medals or awards to give out to the Speedy Weedies - so the ride is done.

I wanted a big bowl of the famous stew promised to all at the end of the ride - like a picnic lunch and dinner in the park.  There were all my friends looking like I felt - tired and glad to be finished - warming themselves in the warm sun that finally came out.

Two bowls of soup later - a few jokes - and many stories about the ride, I rode home back to the Little House to take a two hour nap.  And all was good!

Cheers!  Bruce

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farewell Ride - Owl Head Butte

Interstate 10 and Frontage Rd
Basically I was in Tucson for just over two months, Gentle Readers of This Blog - it started with our plan to evict our piece of shit renter from our house in Dog Mtn.  He was a chronic late-payer - and he pretty much figured that since we were not going to renew his lease, he just wouldn't pay rent.  He came up with some very elaborate lies - had cancer, grandma died, etc etc - and finally he pissed Little Egypt off such that she sent me down to evict him.  I did take him to court - which really surprised him as he felt he had done nothing wrong. "It's not like I'm five months behind on the rent or anything," he said.  He also stated he had never lied to us - when I mentioned the fact that he lied on his application, and that he in fact had seven felony arrest for fraud - that got the ball rolling.

I really leaned on him to pay my the rent he owed so he could get out of going to court and all the shit that would follow.  I gave him a fair chance to pay up before the court date.  We had arranged to meet at 3 pm one afternoon to go over the details - I arrived and waited and waited - I sent him a text at 3:15 saying where are you?  He sent me a text "Just leaving"

That really pissed me off - when he arrived 25 minutes late, I told him to go fuck himself.  Being late for an important appointment - like having not to go to court and have a judgement against you - you would think you'd be on fucking time - well he wasn't.  He ran down the street chasing after me begging me to stop.  It was pathetic.  "I'll have the money!  I'll have the money!" I've heard that one before from the asshole.

So he was out and then I started the process of taking back my place.  He left a suitcase in my garage with many legal documents that also pertained to his ex-girlfriend.  To make a long story short, it painted a picture of two people in deep financial trouble - her with the IRS and him with the courts in several states.  He also had about five collection agencies after him for unpaid bills and debts.  When he got utility bills, he just threw them in the trash.  All the utilities were in collection, and many were in his ex-girlfriend's name - they owed several thousand dollars for electricity, cable, water, trash, etc.

I called one of Tucson's oldest and "most respected" collection agencies.  I took said piece of shit renter to court and got a sizable judgement against him - of course he did not show in court (having been in court many time before and knowing how they worked) the very nice and articulate manager of the collection agency told me flat out, from all the information I had "gathered" on my tenants, that no collection agency would take my case - you'd get no money from these guys and spend more trying to get them than you would ever collect.

In other words, they were such rotten apples that no one would bother -

I spent five weeks cleaning (which wasn't so bad - the fuck kept the house very tidy) and did some touch-up painting.  I fixed the irrigation system and then I had to do some tile work in the kitchen.  I made the house look great inside and out, ready to sell or rent again.

That left me another month to ride the bike around Tucson - which I did mes amis!  Many good rides by myself and with Le Tigre.  All in all, I rode about 350 miles.

Here are some photos of my last ride on my favorite course - the Owl Head Ranch Ride!

Le Tigre is a good sport and drives out to Dog Mtn early Sunday morning.  We fly down Tangerine Rd at high speed with almost no traffic to be seen.  The Sun starts to warm us up as we sail North with the tailwind on the Frontage Rd.  By the time we reach Park Link Rd, we've ridden 25 miles of our 70 mile ride!

We'll have an 18-mile, slightly up-hill ride to Hwy 79.  I love this part of the desert because it is pretty much un-touched by hungry land developers.  It is much like what the first white people saw, starting with Father Kino in 1592.

I have been riding Dr. B's LeMond - the bike fits me perfectly!  The Titanium frame is ever so comfortable too!  Yes we are just enjoying a great ride - and I'm thinking about all the great friends I have and have had here in Tucson.  It is hard to believe that two months has passed so quickly...

The Road

I have to say that with Le T setting a fast pace (with some wind and a climb) we are making rather good time, mes amis!

Already we are at the half way point, at Cattle Tank Rd.  That's what Park Link used to look like when I first rode out here many years ago.  The pavement made it an even more great bike ride.  One thing however, all the new road signs put up in 2010 - and I do mean all of them - are all shot up with bullet holes from shotguns and high-powered rifles.  I hope to never encounter somebody driving out here, probably drinking, and shooting stuff...

Believe it or not, but I am actually 10 pounds lighter.  Well, the battle to slim down continues, Gentle Readers of This Blog - I'm a fattie for sure.  But I have so much fun on the bike!  And I can keep up (mostly) with my fiends - but the weight thing partly runs in my family.  My doctors tell me that I am very fit for 50 year old guy.

This is Hwy 79 and Mt. Lemmon is up ahead.  I must tell you that this stretch of road for me was always very brutal.  Its about five miles of climbing (to the snow line) and then a five mile super fast descent to Hwy 77, which is Oracle Rd.  I will report that with Le Tigre (up ahead of me there in the photo) and with the LeMond, I had no trouble and was very happy I didn't suffer going up.

After the climb, everything else is down-hill back to Dog Mtn - very fast mes amis!  We were soon coasting through Catalina, then Oracle, and then on Tangerine Rd once again!  We rode the 70 miles and our average speed was 15mph - not bad for all the climbing and wind we had.

One thing about Tucson, I had limited access to the web and I kind of neglected the blog - but you guys have seen enough pictures of me enjoying the sunshine!  I will try to keep up and revive the blog - and want to improve the quality of my writing too.  This is just a quick ride report - I'm back in Kansas and doing well - its getting colder and possibly the days to ride may be few and far between!

Cheers!  Bruce

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Live to Ride, Ride to Live Another Day

East on Moore Road, Mt. Lemmon, and Sun God
I decide that while I'm here in Tucson, I'll make a trip to The Hungry Fox - a long-time and well-known down-home county style dinner.  Gentle Readers of This Blog, when you go in and see the regulars, you see very obese, elderly folk - many with oxygen tanks and walkers - this is the food of yore...  What our ancestors ate to harden their arteries and lead them to an early grave.  But it is the best fookin' biscuits and gravy and hash browns and grits you ever ate!  The difference between them and me is that I'm riding 30 miles to have breakfast, and then riding 30 miles home.  I'll burn four or five thousand calories while they drive home and watch TV.

I am wearing lots of sunscreen these days, mainly on my nose
I have to to tell you that it got very hot - very hot indeed!  I can still do the old commute route, but I must tell you mes amis - going on 90 degrees by 9 am - I was feeling the heat!  

Intersection of Swan and Broadway, Tucson, Arizona
 After riding across the city, and over the Foothills, I shot down Swan Ave at 35 mph until I reached The Fox!  I was starving, mes amis!

After about three large glasses of water, I finally cooled off.  The rush was over and everything was low-key and relaxed.  I had a great waitress named Audrey - she reminded me of a girl I was in love with years ago back in Tulsa - her name was Laura McDonagh - tall and thin, pearl white complection, blue eyes, and jet black hair...

Tucson's Tiki bar circa 1950s
Tucson has had a Tiki bar - Kon Tiki, since the 1950's here in this spot - right next to the Hungry Fox.  I have been here once with Canadian Friends - they seem to know about these places...  Anyway, I got totally shit-faced here on exotic concoctions while cuddling with lovely Canadian Girls.  

Phil and Judy's Shop
 I ride a few miles to drop in on Phil and/or Judy - to pay my respects and have Phil just eye-ball the bike.  Right away Phil notices a big problem.  He says that the rim on the back wheel is shot - he sees cracks in the rim from across the room, I kid you not, Gentle Reader of This Blog!

Then I see the cracks and Phil says that he hopes I can get a ride home because the wheel is about to fail.  He said I'd know it failed when my face impacted on the pavement.  I don't think he was joking that much.

Explaining that this LeMond was borrowed from Dr. B, I was kind of in a fix - Phil assured me that he had seen this very same wheel (Bontreger Elite) and said that they are P.O.S.  so he started to hunt me up a wheel to borrow.

Luckily I remembered that Le Tigre has some wheels, and after a quick call, I got hold of him (on assignment for wealthy patron who cannot be named) and he had Mrs. Le Tigre put a handful of wheel outside that I could go by and get and see if one would work.

I also knew that my neighbor was a few miles up the street getting a haircut - I was able to get a secure a ride back up to Dog Mtn!

Phil saves my life once again...
 Phil said that the wheel might last for about two miles but that was it - he explained that when you have these race wheels with only a few bladed spokes, they have to be set up very tight - making them light and fast but prone to fail.  Every mile I rode, the more the wheel cracked.  I made it to the shop just in time!

And to think I was sailing down Swan Rd at 35 mph only a few hours before.  Had the wheel failed, I probably would have broken my neck...

So I live to ride another day - Cheers!  Bruce

Monday, September 09, 2013

Angels and Fry Bread

Le Tigre and I make a trip out to the Tohono O'odam Reservation.  I wanted to see the Old Mission again.  My joke is that Le T is a dead-ringer for Father Kino!

Its Monsoon time here in Tucson, mes amis!  And really, since I've been here August and now into September, there has been a lot of rain.  Le Tigre and I meet at about River and Campbell, right on the River Bike Path - and it looks like we might have some weather to deal with!

Rain or Shine - we decide we'll go as far as we can, and if the rain comes down hard, we'll duck into a cafe.  We have a head wind, and lots of lightning - but maybe things will blow over by the time we reach the Mission.

This is the Mountain Bridge over the river, and my old commute route from when I used to work at UofA.  We'll ride South, through the UofA Campus, and then Downtown, and then South Tucson -- and then the Rez!

I'm riding Dr. Barber's LeMond "Arrivee" that he loaned me - the titanium frame, and the race wheels are the best!  Le Tigre helped me fix it up, as really all Dr. B had was the frame and a few wheels.  Le Tigre and I re-wrapped the handle bars, tuned up the brakes and shifters, added a cassette I had from another old set of wheels - and we were good to go.  I brought my pedals and my Brooks saddle--

Old Main is getting a face lift...  Bear Down!

You can just see the bell in the tower up there under the clock.  The bell was saved from the USS Arizona, which was sunk in Pearl Harbor - actually saved from a scrap heap from you navy Lt. and alumni of UofA - he bought for about $200 dollars and donated to the University.  I believe this is the forward bell - the aft bell is on display at the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, which I have seen.  The Park Rangers at Pearl did not know the story of this bell and how it was saved.  The bell is rung on December 7th, but also on graduation days.

Its early, Gentle Readers of This Blog - Tucson sleeps in while we glide down through campus and along University Blvd, heading Downtown.

Old School Chum, Le Tigre de Tucson

Neighborhood church in the Barrio.

Its been a wet Monsoon, and we get a break from the hot Tucson Sunshine - which I don't mind at all - but Monsoon Time in Tucson if beautiful too!  I will certainly miss it when I leave back for KS

South Tucson sites, mes amis!

We're on Mission Rd, and about to cross the tracks, as it were, and shortly we'll be riding on the Rez

"A" Mountain.  Build in 1916 by UofA Students - kind of during a party/picnic before a football game.  Always painted white, it got painted Red White and Blue during the recent war years - which some people didn't like (mainly local politicians trying to gain attention to themselves) and then got painted green on St. Patrick's Day - but now its white again.  Good...

We take part of the bike path, which now is many many miles long and all around Tucson.  Rain and wind are building!  Will it storm?

We are close, mes amis, and we should be able to see Mission San Xaiver coming up soon - like a white diamond!

Suddenly the clouds clear and the wind subsides - the Mission appears before us!

With the Mission in view, we decide to sprint and make it before the rain sets in - we make it!

This is a rare site, as scaffolding usually covers most of the Mission - years of restoration and here we are and the Mission is gleaming!

Pilgrims come to the Mission, and Indian Ladies sell Fry Bread - and as soon as you arrive, you're greeted by the "Reservation Dogs" they know when the Pilgrims arrive, Fry Bread soon is being made, and maybe you might give them a bit - or if you spill some, they will take care of it!

We are not the first visitors to arrive, and it is very early in the morning - the dogs are on the lookout for that Fry Bread.

Okay - like where are those Indian Ladies selling Fry Bread?  They must be coming soon - where is the Fry Bread?!

The sister chase the dogs out of the Church, but when you go inside and kneel to pray, or take pictures or whatever - the dogs come in and say to you in dog language, "Pray for Fry Bread!"

Father Kino (he was Italian) arrived in the Tohono O'odam village here around 1692.  The foundations of the Mission he started putting in about 1700.

From One World into the Other...

Ponies or Roulers, the faithful have been traveling to the Mission for hundreds of years.  And the dogs faithfully wait for Fry Bread.

There has been so much rain since I've been here, that we could have sat on the very same hillside in the cool grass.

Angels and Titanium

The Place where the People dance - Eons before the Black Robes...

Pretty nice house on the Rez!

The Road to the Mission - Mission Rd.

We'll make a right turn and head back to Tucson - with a nice tailwind, mes amis!

Father Kino?

Downtown Tucson in view!

There's remnants of a pecan grove on part of the Santa Cruz River Bike Path.  They line the open pit mine that has been there forever, and the trees seem to have been abandoned.  I have picked and filled my pockets with as many pecans as I can carry, as they the best tasting pecans I've eaten.  But you do not want to fall into the pit, as you would surely perish!

Cheers!  Bruce