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Category Archives: Guest Blog

An Arizona Bike Tour: Reflections On Relationships Made

The final day of our bike tour in Arizona found us wandering through shops in Tubac and enjoying various massage options at the resort.  Nearly everyone opted to skip today’s final ride given that many of us maxed ourselves out on yesterday’s extended mileage options.

There are some true artisans in town and the array of shops offer something for everyone. Our tour leaders steered me toward Solo for a look at a selection of used cowboy boots while the extensive collection of one of a kind pieces of silver and turquoise jewelry at Old Presidio Traders drew many of my tour mates.

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Biking Into Spanish Mission History – The Tour Rolls Into Tubac

As we descended upon the breakfast place next door this morning – great spot called the Gathering Grounds – everyone was excited for another sunny day. A burrito loaded with poblanos, spinach, avocado, green chilies and black beans seemed to be calling my name but a mouthwatering display of pastries was awfully tempting. Thankfully, our leaders had enough insight to pick up some of the “sweet stuff” to add to our lunch! 

Today’s ride led us over a beautiful route where the only vehicle was saw was the Sojourn van. In addition to far-reaching views, we rode through unusual rock formations as we climbed to a picturesque lake, certainly a rare desert oasis.  Half the group chose to shuttle ahead to walk the trails around the lake while the rest of us tackled the climb. As we all re-grouped for picnic overlooking the lake, I marveled at how our leaders, so supportive during our rides, found time to prepare delicious Southwestern spread for lunch.

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Arizona Wine Country – A Bicycling Vacation Paradise

I have to admit, I could happily spend the winter months doing our Arizona bike tours one after another though my wife and my boss probably wouldn’t approve. Leaving Tucson behind, we climbed steadily to a stunning plateau showcasing mountain vistas and miles of traffic-free riding!

Our first stop would be Arizona’s oldest vineyard to learn the history of winemaking in the region and to enjoy a sampling during our catered lunch.  Lori, the granddaughter of the winery founder, took great pride in showcasing the fruits of her family’s labor. It’s incredible that most all of the moisture for growth in Arizona’s Wine Country comes during a two month period of sudden downpours during the summer.

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Biking Through Cactus Forests to the Arizona Desert Museum

An early flat tire was a blessing in disguise as I chose to join some fellow riders in the support van. Always one to push myself to ride every mile, it was fun to spend a few minutes chatting with some of my fellow travelers who were engrossed in conversation about the settling of the American West as they leapfrogged ahead for the shorter ride option.

Today presented many different ride options including the moderate ascent over Gates Pass.  Needless to say, there were a surprising number of us who tackled this more challenging ride.  These “epic” options create an friendly camaraderie as we encourage and challenge each other on the way up then share high fives at the top.

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A Fantastic Road Ride for All – Biking in Saguaro East

Writing in from our bike tour in Arizona – Day Two!  As we meandered east today, I couldn’t help but think how grateful I was to revel in summer-like conditions during our ride: sunny and warm, not a cloud in the sky!  It was evident that our ‘packtrain’ of sorts developed an early bond as we all paused for refreshments at the surreal sight of the Airplane Graveyard. Decommissioned (retired) planes stretch as far as the eye can see and the sheer numbers make me wonder what these aircraft experienced in a past life.  Pushing on toward open desert excited me as our destination was one of those special places set aside solely for the “benefit and enjoyment of the people” – one of our nation’s amazing National Parks.

The loop around Saguaro National Park is extremely well-suited for bicycles whether you choose to ride casually and soak in the scenery or let it all out, swooping over the rolling terrain.  I’ve never witnessed such profuse numbers of statuesque cacti in one place in my life, and for good reason given the plants’ seriously limited ability to grow elsewhere. When we paused for lunch we were treated to a wonderful spread put on by our fearless leaders. I have no idea how they managed to find time to accomplish such an inviting array of foods amidst the events of the day – it was truly delicious!

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