The sun sets on yet another hot day in AZ. The monsoon season arrived a couple of weeks early so it actually rained, briefly today in some parts but in all parts, we were greeted to a great sunset. However, this is the end of a fun day that needs to be described in images and limited copy because probably none come here for what I say rather for what I see.
With a forecast high of 108, even with a humidity level of around 10%, it is still freakin hot in the afternoon. Yet, if you lived out here during the summer, you would learn to adjust your schedule to wake at around 4-ish, be out the door at 5-ish when it is 75-80, enjoy 4-5 hours of activity and then get the you know what back inside. As I have said hundreds of times, a summer out here is far, far, far, far, better than a winter in the Midwest. Or, you drive into the mountains, which I did today. At about mile 11, I parked at Windy Point Vista, got out the winter beater bike (even though it is summer) and looked down into the valley below.
Others were up here too, some preparing to down climb the rock walls but I was preparing to upclimb the road to Summerhaven, then to Ski Valley and then to the observatory. I shoved off and began the grind of about 15 miles, up..
After reaching the top of General Hastings Highway and just before it drops to the village of Summerhaven. I came across a cyclist on a mountain bike who was completely wiped out. His speech was barely coherent as he described ascending.....
...up the back side of Mount Lemmon. He had started in Oro Valley, gone through Catalina and Oracle before hitting the dirt road and planned to coast down the front side via the paved road I had ascended and then work back toward OV. Instead, he had enough and was calling someone to pick him up. Coasting down the mountain would not have been a problem but navigating back to Oro Valey in that heat????
Who would have thought I would not visit one but two ski slopes while out here, no way but yes. Above is one of the ski slopes that are very popular in the winter and early spring, about 2 miles above Summerhaven. However, the road does not stop there, it becomes steeper as you wind through thick forest to.....
...the observatory. My second time here on a bike but with the caveat that I did start at mile 11 rather than at the bottom.
Then I coasted down to Summerhaven and stopped at the Sawmill Restaurant. It was a lovely 78 degrees as I thoroughly enjoyed a salmon blt but wait, the story does not end here....
....Friday, I persuaded my loyal wife to accompany me on a hike to the top of Sombrero Peak. That woman is a real trooper, to be dragged with nary a complaint from the pool and out here to this! The trail is very sketchy, lots of loose gravel on steep, rocky sections and she navigated it all. Then, prior to the final down climb, I suggested she take a seat on a boulder and while sitting, her feet slid out from beneath her and she fell. Ouch. No damge other than a mark on her back where she hit a pointy rock. Then.....
.... we later headed out to eat. I had the windows cracked to release some air pressure and like everyone, once you jump in the furnace that is the inside of the car, you immediately jack on the air and roll up the windows. After doing so, Beth screamed. Looking over, I saw her hand pinned between the window and frame. Ouch again. That woman needs a vacation, from me. Well, we're home now and looking forward to having my ass kicked repeatedly on every ride for the rest of the season.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.