I wake up to the sun illuminating my tent and the sound of the air compressor from an RV in the tent site next to me. It’s windy and a fine silty sand covers everything, my skin included. When I try to put my contacts in, they burn and I resort to glasses. I discover a water pump near the main campground which is full of Arizona Conservation Corps volunteers.
It’s twenty miles into town, and I know the way, thanks to my maps. I’m back in the saddle, forgoing my bike shorts for a pair of shorts I’d meant to sleep in. At this point, my bike shorts reek, and even I can’t stand them. The Old Spanish Road is a popular bike route skirting the eastern edge of Tucson and Saguaro National Park. I’m buffeted by the wind, but I’m heading downhill all the way to the city.
I pass a few women in purple bike jerseys and say hi. I think I’ve seen the last of them when one bikes up beside me and starts asking me about my trip, where I’m going, where I’ve been. I find out that they’re part of a women’s triathlon training group, the Tucson Tri Girls. The woman invites me to meet the group at a Starbucks at the edge of town and I accept, happy to be able to follow her to a place where I can caffeinated and finally charge my phone so I can find the Air BnB place where I’m sleeping that night.
Inside I plug my phone into the only outlet I can find squeezed between two men who also appear to be carrying everything they own on their backs. I wait, stare at the wall, and wonder where the Tri Girls got off to. Frustrated at the slow rate of the phone charge, I rip my plug from the wall and head outside to find a gaggle of purple jerseys at one of the patio tables. I sit down and they pepper me with questions, interested in what I’m doing. I pepper them right back, asking for advice on what to do with my remaining four days in the city. I jot down some recommendations in my notebook. Sedona’s in the cards, and also the laundromat.
Animals Encountered: 2 dogs, 2 antelope herds, 1 road runner, uncountable # of Snowbirds
Want to know how it all, started? Check out the beginning when I was stuck in a snowbank in New Hampshire.