Friday, March 18, 2011

Back to Tombstone

The final gathering of our tribe: Hillary: Rich and Sue Anne get in the St. Patrick's day spirit!

And we're back! We rolled back into Tombstone after a hearty breakfast of fried potatoes & 3 meat scramble. The weather cooperated well, hardly any wind, sunny and warm. Many of the tribe opted to lounge by the pool in the afternoon: r&r! Tomorrow is the last day of riding: the week passed so quickly!

Tonight's dinner was an Irish Fest: Green salad, corned beef, cabbage, potatoes & carrots. Chocolate pudding for dessert and everyone was full and happy. Dave led the last map meeting and everyone is squared away on the logistics for tomorrow's ride & shuttle. I think everyone had a great week!

We're on to Tucson and the back to Seattle for a couple of weeks. Rain! I could get used to this sunshine. On return we head to a sold out Texas Hill Country tour. It will be amazing! We'll see Kevin, Joe and Jack back on this ride.

Talking about rides: Utah is close to full so if you're thinking about this great ride sign up soon! We're also working these rides: Oregon Coastal Odyssey, Oregon Gorge, Montana and Sierra Sampler. I would recommend any of these for great riding, scenery and food! Sierra is a must for anyone up to a challenge! It's a great ride: lots of climbing and some pretty amazing descents. A couple days in Mammouth for exploring and riding is a great change for the end of this ride.

Thanks to all the riders and staff on Arizona for a great week. We hope to see you on the road this summer!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Day Off

The Bicycle Brothel: a sign on the side of a restaurant, (what this tribe does best!), my kind of spider web, stairs!

What a great day off! ( For the tribe, at least. ) The tribe feasted on a breakfast of spinach & mushroom scramble, bacon & all the trimmings, then made their way into town for more coffee and exploring. Part of the tribe opted to ride out to the wildlife preserve, almost all downhill, and shuttle back; part of the tribe opted to shuttle out and ride back, almost all uphill. I'm thinking the second group may not have been quite awake when they made their plans!

Jack and I wandered through town, visited the Bicycle Brothel and a few shops. The Brothel is really cool: more of a bike memorabilia museum than an actual bike shop. You could spend hours leafing through the books and pictures, ogling the collection of bikes and paraphernalia.

We arrived back to camp to prepare a feast for our weary tribe. Broccoli salad, apple poppy seed Waldorf salad, Caesar salad, grilled New York steaks, steamed potatoes and more rum cakes & strawberry rhubarb sauce for dessert. After dinner part of the staff and a bunch of the tribe headed into town for the pre-St. Patrick's day pub crawl. They made it to the oldest bar in Arizona, the smallest bar in Arizona, (3 seats), and the newest brewery in Arizona. I'm not sure if they had to crawl home, but I wouldn't have wanted to face those stairs!

Unfortunately, we had a couple leave the ride due to a medical emergency: our best wishes are with them!

Thursday's St. Patty's Day ride is a pretty easy jaunt through the country back to Tombstone where we will have our final map meeting and dinner for the week. Friday will be a quick ride to Benson and then on to a shuttle back to Tucson. (Hillary: you do have to go through a border patrol check, be nice to the guys!) ((Last year on her way to this ride Hillary was stopped at the check point in Western Arizona and had her vehicle completely taken apart and searched. Can't help but keep giving her a bad time.))

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lieutenant Colonel Underpants & the Missing Port a Potty Mystery

LC Underpants & his fearless port a potty crew! Rich & Sue Anne, refueling after a hard day. Kevin! The tribe at dinner in Bisbee

We have a new hero in our ranks! Arriving at the park in Bisbee to set up for two days we were horrified to find that all of the pipes had broke in the restrooms over the winter and the city has of yet not fixed them! 50 people and one toilet! Oh No! What to do?!?

Leave it to Lieutenant Colonel Underpants (aka: Fearless Leader Dave) to save the day! A regiment of 15 minutes guys, 15 minutes gals, a potty pass and some very understanding tribe members, we survived until LC Underpants could wrangle a couple of port a potties! By dinner time all was well and things were moving along! Good job LC Underpants!

What a way to end a day of beautiful riding! After a breakfast of build your own breakfast burritos, everyone made it up the last little hill, showered and made time to explore Bisbee. Bisbee is a mining town: it is built on the edge of the Copper Queen Mine. An extremely eclectic community: the houses are built into the hillsides and staircases snake their way up and around the hills. STEEP staircases. Bisbee hosts and annual SOS (save our staircases) run that encompasses the majority of the stairs and streets. It has grown to attract thousands! Bisbee is also home to: the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel (housed in an original brothel), a fabulous brewery; St. Elmo's:the oldest bar in Arizona; great restaurants; antique shops & galleries. For the "off" day tribe members are wandering the streets and stairs or riding out to a wild life preserve about 20 miles outside of town. Sand Hill Cranes winter here and two years ago I identified 3 species of owls. Pretty cool.

This is such an awesome tribe: so appreciative of everything! Haven't had a whiner yet! Not that we ever have any of those!

Dinner tonight was: tossed greens & vegetable salad: spicy noodle & cabbage salad: curried chicken & vegetables; peanut yam tofu: basmati rice: steamed green beans: and Nana's amazing rum cakes for dessert. (Every year older Nana gets the more rum ends up in the cake!)

So off to town for some exploring and pictures, then back to work. Tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day: any guesses at what's for dinner tomorrow night?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Bikes at the hotel: Kevin "hard at work" once again! A view on the ride: Door of an old church: Sue Anne and Rich "hard at work". What's up with this staff?

Another amazing day for a bike ride in the country! Out of the cactus and choyas and onto rolling hills skirting gentleman ranches and vineyards. One of the buildings at the winery where lunch stop was set up was originally built as a brothel!

No wind: the last couple of years the wind has been, at times, ferocious. The weather was warm: hot in the late afternoon, but not unbearable.

The tribe rolled into the hotel in Tombstone and were treated to air-conditioned rooms and a sparkling blue pool. This was a great change from the camp ground we used to use! After a shower and a beer (or two) the tribe hoofed it into town to experience the history of the old, old west. This is the place that the movies were made about: Doc Holiday and Wyatt Erp ruled the town. Or at least they thought so: Big Nosed Kate was really in charge! The Big Nosed Kate Saloon is on top of the tourist things to see, along with the old graveyard and the OK Corral.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, built in 1882, is still standing and used for it's original purpose.

Dinner tonight was: Southwestern wedge salad, honey spiced pork chops, corn on the cob, yukon gold potatoes, cowboy beans and Texas pecan pie bars for dessert. The tribe cleaned up: the four pecan bars left were consumed this morning for breakfast!

After a refreshing night in the hotel the tribe dined on a breakfast of build your own breakfast burritos and fried potatoes. On to Bisbee for two days: wait till you see pictures of this odd town!

Dias de los Muertos

Kevin and Jack hard at work once again!
Fresh Mexican pineapples.
A mural on the wall in the old "mission" in Patagonia.
Door in the courtyard of the "mission".
Choya: definition: stay away!

No: it was not the day of the dead cyclists! But Patagonia, unbeknownst to me, has a "museum" that is recognized by the Smithsonian Institute as the one of the largest displays honoring Dias de los Muertos. This is a three day celebration Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Skulls and skeletons are prominent in Patagonia!

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride: quite a little climb up to lunch! Gradual but long. Everyone did great. The weather was amazing and very little wind. What a great tribe we have this week!

Everyone was up early and into town to see the sights. The old mission in town was open this year. It was built in the early 1900's as a private home and then converted into a bar for years and then a night club until a couple of years ago. The artwork on the walls was all commissioned to local artists and is quite interesting. The architecture is fabulous. When you're in Patagonia this is a must see. (It is for sale if you're interested!)

Dinner tonight was: spinach salad with honey mustard dressing, pasta salad, Greek lemon chicken, curried rice and lentil beans, fresh asparagus, fresh mexican pineapple, pickles green cherry tomatoes, and brownies for dessert. The tribe did a good job of cleaning up and headed across the street to the local bar for a beer. The bar was built in the 30's and was quite the cowboy bar for many a year.

Tomorrow is a winding, rolling ride through the wine country to the historic town of Tombstone. (Yes! Arizona has a wine country!!) We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And they're off!!!

Kevin and Jack: working hard or hardly working?

The first gathering of the tribe.

Sunny Southern Arizona! It is so nice to be out of the rain! And, what a beautiful way to start the tour season! Unfortunately, the California Kick Start was canceled, (come on you guys! it wasn't that tough!) so this is our first tour of the year. Three days in a big yellow truck and we're off.

The weather this week is warm and sunny: averaging around 80*f every day. Today's ride takes our new tribe wandering through the high desert from Cactus Country RV Resort in Southern Tucson South and East through Sonoita to the little town of Patagonia. Patagonia is a very small blip on the radar, but attracts droves of tourists. The State Park outside of town host some of the best bird watching in the Southern states. We stay the night at the park in town: more of a vacant lot, but they call it a park. The town consists of a couple of restaurants, art shops, a great coffee shop, and a really cool natural food store.

This weeks tribe has members from as far away as Canada and Massachusetts! Escaping the cold no doubt. It is great to see Hillary back for another jaunt in the desert. ( I think she just wanted to hassle the border patrol again this year!) Our tour leader, Dave, is wetting his feet in leading his first supported tour. He does have a seasoned staff to help him along the way! Rich and Sue Anne, Jack, Kevin and Joe. (Joe just works the tours for the food!) I will try and post a few pictures of Kevin working. If I have the opportunity to see him working. His wife thinks he just goofs around. Really?

Last nights dinner was a hearty pasta meal that included: spring greens and nicoisse salad with white balsamic vinaigrette, garlic bread, seafood linguine, fettuccine with Italian sausage and red roasted peppers, dolmas & mufaletta, and homemade cookies for dessert. Pancakes and eggs for breakfast and the tribe is all carbed up to ride today's hills. Cute moment of the morning: one sleepy tribe member didn't quite realize the hard boiled eggs still had the shells on them. A little crunchy?

I was completely amazed that on this tour I have ONLY ONE VEGETARIAN! It has never happened before. We usually average about 20% of the tribe being non meat eaters. I'm sure it will catch up with me before the end of the season.

So off we go to another adventure in the wild wild West. Traversing the trails of the likes of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Erp. Avoiding Choya plants at all costs! And maybe I'll get to really see a Havalina.