#SD2KW, Day 19, Rodeo to Columbus, 94 miles | Old Haunts

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Have you ever been to a place that you just knew you would return to? Maybe there was unfinished business or it was just that amazing?

On the other hand have you ever been to a place and known you wouldn’t be back because it was so remote or there was no reason?

Such was the case with Hachita, NM. Back in August 2021 we spent our last night on the Great Divide Ride sleeping in the Community Center in Hachita, NM (‘bout the middle of nowhere). Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever return.

But here we were today!

The plan was to ride to Hachita and stay however we arrived at 12:30pm and with the wind at our backs we sailed right through to Columbus chalking our longest ride yet on the Southern Tier at 94 miles and crossing the Continental Divide early this morning.

The temperature swings here in the Chihuahan desert can be as much as 40 degrees daily. In the mornings, it’s lower 30’s and by late afternoon in the comfortable 70’s so we frequently find ourselves taking layers off, putting sunscreen and chapstick on, and watering down.

Not only are we traveling a birding trail (by coincidence) it’s also a hub for stargazers due to clear nights, low population densities, high elevations and dry climate. We passed this sign this morning and thought… what if… It might someday be designated as an International Dark Sky Park.

Hitting the Lone Star state tomorrow but for tonight, good night from room #1 at the Hacienda.

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#SD2KW, Day 18, Douglas to Rodeo, 52miles | 50 x 80

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We rode over 50 miles on Historic Route 80. It was almost like riding on the Monon rail trail for a morning bike ride except… we had and a sweet (and I mean sweet) tail wind all afternoon into New Mexico.

Our reintroduction to cycling in New Mexico began in the midst of a high speed law enforcement chase. One “bad guy” going over 100 mph I think and three police officers in pursuit, with berries, cherries and sirens. No need to wave my little left arm up like I always do to let traffic know I see them. They were on a mission.

Keeping with tradition, we have choreographed a new state line jig for y’all. It’s our Mexican Hat (or for us, Helmet) Dance. Funny thing was, we did it right at the pull off by the state line sign while law enforcement continued the chase.

Today was just one of those idyllic days to ride. Clear sky, high desert, little traffic, shoulders and nice pavement. We don’t take it for granted.

We are staying in a little place just over the border, in a town called Rodeo (pronounced like the swanky street in California). Without C Stores or restaurants around we pooled our food together and this is what we have for lunch (and dinner). 🤣 And it tastes pretty darn good.

The birds in the trees (I think Cassin’s sparrows) chirped a victory song for us as we ended our ride at the Mountain Valley Lodge. Tomorrow more tail winds are predicted. Will they blow us into Texas?

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#SD2KW, Day 17, Bisbee to Douglas, 30 miles | Easy Peasy Ride

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Before leaving Bisbee we couldn’t resist taking one more stroll around town and taking a few more pics, especially since today was a short ride and mostly downhill. The hardest part of the day was out cycling the loose dogs in Douglas. #woof

After leaving Bisbee we passed an enormous mining operation, Lavender Pit of the Copper Queen Mine and on to Lowell where several vintage and antique cars lined the streets.

Once out in the country it was downhill to Douglas. Douglas is a border city and our hotel is two miles away from Mexico.

For the first time it was warm enough for short sleeves on our ride however it’s still in the low 30’s at night so no tenting.

Tomorrow we hit a new state line. Hello New Mexico! Currently accepting applications for dance choreographers for our traditional state line dance routines. 💃

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#SD2KW, Day 16, Tombstone to Bisbee, 25 miles | Climb and Wind #ouch

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Ride intel from Mike and Sue revealed a righteous climb into Bisbee. They weren’t wrong. 😅 Throw 17mph side and headwinds in and ya got yourself a showdown.

Seven mile climb with something to look at each pedal stroke. Not gonna complain. And the good thing is? There was smooth pavement, wide shoulders and we could blast down the other side.

Want to explain our precautions for riding on the road. This tour is a lot different than our off road tour on the Great Divide. Although we don’t have to sing jodies and recite states and capitals to scare the bears away, there can be traffic to contend with. By now you’ve noticed our bright vests and also our helmet mirrors that enable us to see approaching traffic.

The mirrors are helpful in that I can alert Tom (who rides in front) that there is an approaching vehicle. Many times I throw up my left hand and wave to let the motorist know I see them. Tom in turn, calls out road hazards (holes, debris, etc.) as he sees them.

Tom also rigged up a contraption for my seat bag that holds a flashing strobe light. We are selective about what we are willing to schlep across the country on bikes but this is a must.

On to Bisbee! It’s an old copper mining town in the Mule Mountains, and one of the most unique towns we’ve visited. Eclectic. Historic. Friendly. Artsy. Think of Jerome on steroids but in a good way.

Tom’s been taking care of making hotel/camping arrangements and navigation. I focus on weather, making vids and blogging. Tonight he selected Hotel LaMore which happens to be a favorite among paranormal enthusiasts. New owner John Michael (great name btw) is pumped to make this property a must-stay for Bisbee visitors. John Michael’s only owned the property for four months and has already created an unforgettable place to stay.

My favorite room is a sitting room where he’s hung unique Vietnamese lanterns. I just want to hang around the property to look at the relics and melding of early American history and the Chinese influence in this mining town.

If we had a do-over we may have pushed on to Douglass since it’s just 30 miles up the road, although it would have been unfortunate to miss Bisbee.

And it looks like there’s a 7:30am Mass at St. Patrick’s, located only a half mile away. So yay… we have time before we leave Bisbee.

Click on the image below to view more pics and vids and note that Tom has a new shirt on today! I, however, am still in the same shirt. Yes we wear the same clothes everyday. 😜

#SD2KW, Day 15, Sonoita to Tombstone, 44 miles | Tourists in Tombstone

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We chose to cycle the longer way out of Senoita through the vineyards on low traffic, picturesque roads. Though the vineyards were dormant they still offered much to look at. The solitude was the perfect way to begin a day of riding.

Once past the vineyard we rolled through Elgin which happens to be a very popular place for movie filming. Check out all the movies here.

I’d have never know this for it not for our friend Garry, a fellow travel lover and adventurer. He has a blog I follow faithfully when he’s on tour.

Little wonder Elgin is chosen for movie sets. It’s lovely and our pics don’t do it justice.

Then we had one long, groovy decent. So. Much. Fun. Until the climb into Tombstone. 😂

Once we climbed into Tombstone we found The Sagebrush Inn and toured the town. Our last stop was Big Nose Kate’s where we met owner and Army Veteran Steve. He’s owned Kate’s for 47 years and explained there’s been a lot of changes in the town. As you can imagine he had a LOT of stories to share.

And he dressed us up for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opp.

Our days end pretty early while bike traveling so once our bellies were full we headed back to play some gin (Tom won) and lube the bike chains.

Climbing to Bisbee tomorrow and will hit about 6,000 feet. Another hotel room (not mad about it) as night temps are in the upper 20’s. 🥶

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#SD2KW, Day 14, Tucson to Sonoita, 48 miles | Scenic Sonoita

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It was hard to get out of our sleeping bags at 36 degrees as we were toasty warm in our hat and puffies but we knew we had a hotel stay coming up and that’s always motivation to get going.

Once out of the tent and packing up Bill and Karen from Idaho stopped by. They’re on their way to Mexico to #EscapeTheCold like us. We swapped bike trip bucket lists with them. We moved the Idaho Hot Springs ride up on our list and I’m pretty sure they will one day ride The Great Divide.🚵

We climbed some hills today amidst stunning scenery, getting up over 5,000 feet just pedaling along, not setting any speed records but making relentless progress forward and grateful for fair weather and attentive drivers.

Someone asked how much water we carry. Great question! Well it’s not hot out here but we are still sweating and need plenty of water. We each carry two, one liter bottles and a reserve pint on the bike frame (just because it fits there). We are using the same liter bottles we bought in San Diego – we just refill them everyday. #ReduceReuse#Recycle

We’re staying at the Senoita Inn tonight – really nice digs!

Not only is the Senoita Inn lovely, it’s historic, close to a steak house and brewery and the barrel racer (as in rodeo) is super nice and accommodating. Thanks, Morgan!

After quickly unpacking, doing laundry, and taking showers we walked to the local brewery, ‘cause we had some celebrating to do – two weeks on the road already!

On the way home the craziest thing happened. It was dark and we were walking on the opposite side of the road from a girl holding the reins of a saddled but riderless horse. She asked us if we were the rider or if we’d seen a rider.👀 Apparently there is a missing horseback rider somewhere in Senoita.

Thanks for following along! Your prayers, comments and messages mean a lot.😊

#SD2KW, Day 13, Picacho Peak to Tucson, 54 miles | To and Through Tucson

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We left Picacho State Park all bundled up. It was chilly! But as the sun came out, the layers came off.

A seventeen mile ride on an I-10 frontage road kicked off our day with a relatively flat, little travelled road. As has been the case, there was a bit of headwind but it was less than 10mph.

Then we hit The Loop just outside of Tucson. It still amazes me that a cyclist can ride through a city on bike trails. Such is the case with Tucson. We visited here back in 2018 and knew we wanted to return. Little did we know it would be on our Cuttys on a cross country ride.

We stopped at a local brewery on the way to the campsite having put our 50 miles in early. Breweries are a great place to meet locals and learn more about the area.

But the real schooling came when we arrived to our campsite. Dang we’ve never seen anything like this KOA. Grapefruit, orange and lemon trees everywhere. Pick what you want and eat. They have a hot tub, pool, pickleball courts. There is a sink, small pavilion (with an electric light), picnic table, soft tent pad and fire pit at every tent site. It’s mostly for RVs but there a few tenters. Check out the vid for pics. Our needs are significantly less than this but it was so much fun to experience. And their service and hospitality were 💯

We met Mark who works at the KOA. He rode Southern Tier a couple years ago and signed up for the Stagecoach 400 in March. Go Mark!

After eating dinner (we were so hungry), Tom said “I don’t know if I’ve been any happier. I asked you mean ever in your life or on this trip?😂 Whodathunk? A restaurant in an RV park? The food was amazing!

On to more important things… apparently a second grade class at my alma mater St. Pius X Catholic School has been learning about our ride.😊 Josie wants to know what we do if it rains. 😊

Josie, think for a minute on your own about what we need. Then “turn and talk” to your neighbor (if it’s ok with Mrs. A and Mrs. W.) What did you come up with?

If it’s sprinkling we keep riding! If it starts to rain harder we put on a rain coat and waterproof gloves. If there is lightning we stop immediately. Lastly we always make sure cars can see us in the rainy weather by wearing bright jackets and having our back bike lights on. So far we have been lucky and haven’t had any rain except at night when we aren’t riding. Have a happy day in school!

Lights out early for us as usual ‘cause guess what we get to do tomorrow? Ride bikes! 🚴🏼‍♂️🚴🏼‍♀️

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#SD2KW, Day 12, Coolidge to Picacho Peak, 35 miles | Worth the Wait

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Besides taking in the football games in Coolidge we had another reason to ride a couple short days. We really wanted to visit Picacho (spanish for “peak”) Peak State Park. It was worth waiting for.

After a leisurely morning at the Grand Vista Motel we headed south toward Picacho. Heading out of town I kept noticing harvested cotton fields. Apparently that’s a huge cash crop for Coolidge. Who knew?

Every now and then we would just stop, take it all in and give thanks for everything, not just the sunshine but our faith, families, friends and each other.

Easy ride today that ended on a well paved frontage road next to I-10 with a stop at DQ and a quest for fresh fruit at the store next door. We didn’t find any apples but Jesse who rang us in for peanut M & Ms (‘cause they are like apples right?), threw in a free box of popcorn and said, “Keep making memories together.” Thanks Jesse… I strapped that to the front of my bike and we enjoyed it after our evening walk while watching the sun set.

Once at the state park we stopped in the Visitor Center, played with snakes and talked to a couple rangers about their wildlife cam and the park.

They were a bit surprised we’d be overnighting in a tent (getting down to 36 which means chilly pack up in the morning).🥶

If we’re ever back in the area we will stop here at Picacho State Park again. There’s a hike here that’s calling our name – and someone else we know. John, that’s a nod to you.🥾⛰️👀

Grateful for these trusty bikes as well! Salsa Cutthroats. 🌶️🚲🚵

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#SD2KW, Day 11, Apache Junction to Coolidge, 42 miles | Game Stop

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Game Stop. And I don’t mean the meme stock. 😂 Two playoff games gave us a good reason to stop early, get a bevvie and pizza and do some route planning.

Another beautiful day weather wise. We finally “found our warm” in Coolidge.

By far the best part of our ride was getting off road for five or so miles. It gave us little reminders of the Great Divide ride in 2021. No traffic. Off road.

We had three shouts outs that made us smile today.

1️⃣ The hostess at the KOA bought us coffee when she found out we were riding to Key West. She said we were her heroes.

2️⃣ Then we were riding through Queen Creek and a young guy in his car gave us a “heck yeah”, kept hollering and took video of us riding by on his phone.

3️⃣ Finally a road cyclist rode up by us at a stop light and asked us where we were going. When we said we were headed to Key West and he said “No $hit? Are you on Strava? I want to follow you.”😂

All in good fun and keeps us smiling. That, and warm temps. Coolidge hit 70 degrees today! We remain… in search of sun and warmth.

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#SD2KW, Day 10, Peoria to Apache Junction, 60 miles | Heading Off Route!

Riding Stats To Tempe | To Apache Junction

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Today was an urban day as we made our way through Peoria, Glendale, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and to our destination, Apache Junction. Here’s a screenshot of Google maps from my phone to give you an idea of the intricacies of navigating through a cluster of towns and a major metropolitan area.

The Phoenix area has a remarkable network of extensive bike trails and bike lanes that provide bridges and underpasses for cyclists and pedestrians. Oh if only the Monon had these back in Indy.😌

We don’t use Google to find our way but instead use a Garmin device made for bikes on which digital maps are loaded that we purchase from Adventure Cycling Association. There are eight Southern Tier maps (plus one down the Atlantic Coast we are using to get to Key West). Today we finished our first map as we entered Arizona State University in Tempe.

In addition to the digital maps on our Garmin which gives us turn by turn directions, we also have the paper maps that offer options on camping, stores, restaurants, and well duh … there are maps.

I say all this because this afternoon when we finished our first Adventure Cycling map, we are totally going off route because of the frigid temps up north. Bummer we will miss Emory Pass and visiting Silver City again. Not a bummer to miss frigid temps and possible snow at higher elevations. So for the rest of Arizona and all of New Mexico we are sans map.

Fellow bike travelers Mike and Sue did the same in early 2019 on their Southern Tier tour and have shared their bike itinerary with us. Check out their blog – they have cycled the perimeter of the US and they bring their bring their ukuleles. How cool is that? Thanks Mike and Sue!

Our stellar ride today ended in a KOA with fun neighbors, Buster and Jolly and their dog mom Collette who is traveling in her VW Beetle.

She’s written a book about her journey entitled “Be That Person.”

Just based on the van she drives and her choice of doggos it’s probs with the read.

Thanks for following along, and for the prayers and the encouraging words as we continue east in search of sun and warmth. Our legs and cardio get stronger each day!

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