Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homeward Bound

Bob after a long days ride, is that your second dessert? : the last mark of the morning to get us out of camp: LUNCH!  bikes all lined up and ready to go.

What a great group and a great trip!  I can not say that enough!  We finished up the last breakfast with Corned Beef hash and scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and oatmeal, then sent the tribe up the road to Benson to wait for the shuttle back to Tucson.  Everyone was in great spirits!  A few tribe members opted for additional miles to kill some time this morning!

We packed them a hearty lunch that included turkey bacon & swiss sandwiches, egg salad wraps, and hummus wraps.  Yumm.  I am looking forward to the Texas tour next month: there is still room if anyone wants to join in!  I am playing with the menu and will have some new, really yummy, surprises!

After getting the tribe on the road, Jack and I cleaned up and headed to the food bank.  I wrote that I would say more about this...and here goes!  I was blown away, to the point of tears: which is not unusual for me: at the reception we received from the staff at the food bank.  There is a huge need here in the Southern Arizona area for the services the food bank provides.  (There is everywhere, actually!)  We saw the lines yesterday.  The director informed us that they rarely get any fresh produce at this sight, and once the word gets out in the community about what we left, it would be gone in a short matter of time. What we take for granted daily; fresh fruit and veggies; is a luxury for these people.  We donated 138 pounds of fruits and veggies and 15 pounds of bread.  She also told us about some of the people in the area that they are just starting to reach.  They call them the "Hill People".  These are people that can not afford housing and live in the foothills outside of Tombstone.  They dig holes in the side of the foothills and cover the openings with what ever they can find to keep out the wind and cold.  This is where they live.  We see the run down housing and the poverty in all areas of the Western US as we travel.  It is heart wrenching when you see it close up and talk to the people that try to service them.  And, it seems that the areas that are the most in need are the areas that there are the least resources available!  I have worked with our local food bank and have never seen the shelves as bare as I did in this one.

Now that we are home, after 4 days travel through wind storms, rain storms, and snow storms; I am working with US Food Services in Tucson to deliver fresh fruit once a month to this food bank.  I am going to dedicate the tips that I make on these trips to support this.  I urge all of you to take a look at the food banks in your areas and see what you can do to help, or if you are inclined make a donation to the Tucson area food banks to help support the Tombstone location.  They can be found online at www.communityfoodbank.org

Home for two weeks, then on the road again!  This season is going to fly by!  We hope to see you on the road!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back to Tombstone.........

More pics from inside the Catholic Church: the last supper: look at that plate full of food!  This tribe can eat!

Yes, there were a few bleary eyes this morning!  Bad tribe!  But I understand you had a great time at the crawl!  Jack and I spent the evening watching a moving...we made it in the tent before the Crawling Tribe!

We were up early to prepare breakfast to fuel the ride back to Tombstone.  The tribe doesn't back track the previous route: they swing around the other side of the valley and into the back door of Tombstone.  It is another beautiful day for a bike ride!  Both of our youngsters are on their bikes today: they are such troopers!  Have I said this before?  I am impressed with not only them, but the tribe as a whole.  What a great attitude everyone has!  There are no whiners in this group!

On our way into Tombstone Jack and I stopped at the local food bank to see if they would accept the leftover produce and bakery products that we will have tomorrow.  It was commodities day at the food bank and there were about 60 people in line.  I found the director and she was ecstatic to see what we had in the morning.  I will expand on this tomorrow......it is an interesting story.

We made our way back to the hotel to set up tonight's feast.  We created a huge green salad, corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, bbq'd chicken breasts, and re-heated pesto-orzo for the vegimites.  (I use these terms with love and kindness!)  For dessert we had a treat!  Pound cake with Skagit Valley strawberries and fresh, hand whipped, whip cream.  I saw more than one tribe member take a second helping to the berries and cream!

After dinner our fearless leader, Chief Dave, lead his council in the final map meeting and awards ceremony.  It was fun to see who had the heaviest luggage, (Jack is making good use of the scale we gave him last year!) the least luggage, the most flat tires, etc!

This has been a great week.  It has gone by so quickly!  I will fill in quite a few blanks on my next post and add many more pics.  Good job tribe!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The St. Paddies Day Pub Crawl.....

Look at those smiles!  Our two youngsters....Bob starting the climb up the hill to camp in Bisbee...The Catholic Church in Bisbee: it's amazing...more pics to come.

NO, it is not quite St. Paddies Day, but the tribe got in the mood tonight after dinner!  Kevin, Joe, and Jack; along with a couple more un-named members of the tribal council; led the unsuspecting tribe members onto the war path to conquer 5 pubs in one night in downtown Bisbee.....did they succeed? I am not one to tell...but there were a few blurry eyes on the next morning!  They couldn't make it into room #6 (? it's one of the rooms...) at the old brothel....there are only 4 bar stools.  I thought it was made up, but no, it is the smallest bar in Arizona.  Right across the street from the oldest bar in Arizona and upstairs from the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel.  All situated in the old Brewery Alley and Brothel District!  What a torrid history this town has!

Quite a few of us learned a lot of the history of Bisbee, Jack and I much more than we knew even after a bunch of trips down here.  We took the trolley tour of old Bisbee and are eager to come back and learn and see more! Example: I did not know that during WWII the miners shut down production of the mine.  They were charged with treason, mining was so important to the support of the war, and 1186 miners were rounded up and interned in an old military camp and told never to return to Bisbee.  They were eventually cleared of charges, but never did return.  Then, during the 70's, when mining was suspended, the town cleared out to population zero.  You look at the buildings, the churches, the architecture...and you wonder how the town survived being a ghost town.  Thank the hippies.  They came from all over the California coast and took over the town.  Squatters rights.  They opened businesses, moved into the homes, took care of the properties, and saved the town.  Hence the eclectic nature of the town in modern times.  You have to experience Bisbee!

The tribe, before taking to the war path to town, spent the day exploring the town, taking the mine tour, or riding to the Conservatory in search of birds.  I heard there were a couple of owls and a few hawks this year.  You have to get there early to see the cranes....it was sleep in day.  The Bicycle Brothel opened for the tribe for a couple of hours, and a gift shop hosted wine and cheese during the afternoon: it is a friendly town!

We fed the tribe a great fajita dinner tonight: pork and peppers, tofu and peppers, refried beans, all the trimmings, and pecan pie bars and brownies for dessert.  AND: I bush whacked Dennis and forced him to take dinner to go.  HA. Got ya Dennis!  You are now, officially, one of my strays.

I spent the better part of the day cooking the YUMMIE corned beef for dinner tomorrow night!  Sorry, no green beer......

Tomorrow the tribe will rise and shine, with their blurry eyes, and head back to Tombstone, albeit a different route.  After two nights of chilly showers, the hotel rooms will be much appreciated!

Friday, March 16, 2012

On to Bisbee..

Dinner at Tombstone: house for sale in Bisbee....only 200,000...: Breakfast in Tombstone..boy these guys eat a lot!

AHHHH....what a comfy night for the tribe in a cozy, clean, warm hotel room...alas the last night of hot showers for two nights!

We could not ask for better weather for this week's ride!  It has been crisp in the mornings, but the days have been sunny and warm and very little wind.  Last week it was windy and rainy and cold here, and next week is projected to be the same.  Good timing oh Great Planning Guru at Adventure Cycling!

The ride went well for the tribe, the high point of the day: Our little student Sofi rode the whole route!  Way to go!  The staff has coined the phrase, "a Sofi Dismount", for her style of getting off of the bike.  It is quite an exercise in a cross between acrobatics and a running dismount.  Ask Joe to demonstrate some time: he does a great impersonation!

This tour has quite a few families riding together: fathers and son's, brothers.  The average age is quite a bit younger that we have seen on most of the tours, except for the family rides of course.  What a great way to bond!

Bisbee was bustling when we arrived this afternoon.  We are once again parked on top of a hill overlooking the town at a city park.  We were surprised to see that the road up to the park had been re-paved!  It was quite an obstacle course to get up and down in the past!

Tonight's dinner is a Bleau cheese salad, honey spiced pork chops, Indian vegetable curry, steamed potatoes,  and Texas Pecan Pie bars for dessert.  I forgot to deliver my disclaimer at the first map meeting: I control the quality of what you eat, not the quantity: and I have had a few "complaints" about TOO MUCH FOOD! I'M EATING TOO MUCH!  Especially from water stop Joe.........he's my new target to pick on!  It's so much fun..

We have a photographer following the tour and taking snaps for ACA.   Dennis is a character and taking tons of pics.  He will have them available on his web sight, so I will post that when I get it.  I keep trying to feed him......he says it isn't part of his deal with ACA.  I told him I pick up strays quite often.....I will wear him down.

Tomorrow is a layover day in Bisbee and we will be off to see what new and exciting things we can find.  It is quite a town!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tombstone....I Sense a Theme....

Staff's turn to eat: Marker Bob horsing around: the tribe bright and early at breakfast!

Day of the Dead....Tombstone...not a theme we want to explore!  But explore many of the tribe members did after rolling into town.  Shoot outs at the OK Corral, Big Nose Kate's Saloon...the Boot Hill Graveyard.  All the touristy things you can imagine!

It was a cold start this morning.  The temp fell to about 30*: we had ice on the water buckets!  It warmed up by 9:00 and the tribe rolled out to head to the Elgin Winery for an early lunch stop.  This winery is quite a going concern: exporting their wines all over the world.  We could not figure out how such a dry climate could produce grapes for all the small wineries here, until Gary (owner of the Elgin Winery) told us that they get about 30 inches of rainfall every summer.  Now we get it.  Besides the Tombstone label of wines, they produce a series of Four Monkey Wines that I have seen in the stores in Seattle.  The four Monkeys are handcrafted to express their Cheeky, Playful, Sinful and Naughty natures!  Pretty cute, and pretty yummy.

I had one tribe member reminiscing about past tours: he went back to when my son Scott was probably about 5 or 6 and wheeled his big wheel around camp in Utah, that "trunk" stocked with beer for sale! He also set up tents for $5!  What an entrepenure! He is not almost 18, graduating and heading of to boot camp for the Marine Corps....my how time flies.

Lunches have been a hit: home made peach chutney chicken salad and taziki veggie wraps as well as roasted red pepper hummus have been the favorites so far.  Dinner tonight was pasta: spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, Orzo with pesto, artichoke hearts, asparagus & greek olives, Caesar salad, broccoli salad, grilled garlic toast, and home made brownies to top the meal.  The tribe was pleased to have pasta after a long day on the road.

The weather has been great during the day: warm in the 70's and little wind.  We hope that it will continue on the rest of the week.  It is snowing in Seattle.....glad to be in the sun!  Sorry family!

The Day of the Dead and Portable Port a Potties!

Pics from the museum: Marker Bob and Dave with the portable port a potties!

No, fortunately it was not a tribe member!  It is the annual celebration of honoring the spirits of the deceased, and Patagonia has a museum dedicated to just that!  It is recognized by the Smithsonian as one of the largest collections of memorabilia....some of which is pictured above.  It was quite interesting!  There is also a museum of miniature Harley Davidson Motorcycles.  Some one went to a lot of work!

The day started bright and brisk.  We sent the tribe off after a breakfast of French Toast and scrambled eggs.  Spirits were high as the bikes got on the road.  The two young students, I didn't mention that they are from China, had an interesting day trying to adjust to their bikes.  They made 17 miles today: a great job for not having done this before!  One of the girls has yet to master dismounting.....that will be tomorrow's challenge!  We give them full credit for such effort, garnished with huge smiles and giggles!

We have a bonus addition to the trip this year!  Port a Potties on wheels!  They follow the tribe wherever they ride!  What a great idea! Many of the water stops don't have restrooms....great solution.

Dinner tonight was yellow curried chicken, peanut yam tofu, spicy cabbage salad, steamed asparagus and  Nana's rum cakes for dessert.  The tribe ate well!

This is a very social group: they are melding well.  We have quite a few new to Adventure Cycling...we hope to make this a great tour for all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day One

The first gathering of the tribe: tonight's menu: Sue on lunch stop!

It is sunny and warm in Arizona!  What a difference from Washington!  We loaded the truck in the snow! Our reward is sunshine and blue skies.  There is a bit of a breeze today: hopefully it will not pick up and give our tribe a bad time on their first day on the road.

Our new tribe gathered last night for orientation and dinner: our fearless leader Dave Patterson has a stellar crew to guide them along on this trip.  Jack P. on luggage, Marker Bob on route marking, Sue on lunch, Kevin as mechanic, and a newbie, Joe, on water stop.  It's going to be a great week!

The riders are a great group at all different skill levels!  We have two USC Juniors on spring break that chose this trip after googling adventures!  They were scheduled to go to Costa Rica and when that fell through they chose us!  There was quite a bit of short term training going on last night: their rented bikes are to big for them so Kevin worked his magic as best he could, and they did not know how to shift their bikes....and I'm not quite sure they have ever put up a tent before.  BUT: they are on the road and on to a great adventure!  I'm sure they'll do great!

We fed the tribe a healthy, well rounded meal of Spring Green Salad with toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette, Greek lemon chicken, basmati rice, grilled tomatoes, sautéed snap peas, stuffed portabellos for the vegimites, and home made cookies for dessert. Speaking of desserts: my mom, who will be 90 this year: spent the winter baking rum cakes!  We have quite the stock pile for the next couple of trips.

We are just South of Tucson at the Cactus Country RV Resort, and today we are headed to Patagonia.  I posted some great pics last year of the town, and hopefully today we will be able to visit the Museum of the day of the dead!  It should be an experience!

TIme to get on the road: I don't think we will have wireless tonight so I will update the trip tomorrow!