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