In the morning, my host points out to me that my bike has a flat tire. It’s a good thing I have people around who notice things like this! I have no technical knowledge of the mechanics of anything (bikes included), but I often have an intuitive sense about how machines come apart and fit back together.
I set about to yanking out the leaky tube which I discover has a very small puncture. Then edging in the new tube underneath the tire, squishing everything back into place, and pumping it up. I start pumping madly with my mini road pump. It’s really an emergency thing, not meant for this. At this rate I could be here pumping the rest of the day. Thankfully, my host comes out and offers me a bigger pump.
I like the way everything here is surrounded by mountains. It feels safe. Even when you’re in the matrix of city streets, you can see the craggy brown silhouettes rising into the blue sky. Very few buildings are more than two stories high, and the city sprawls out over 200 square miles. It feels like a small town until I try and bike out of it.
Now that my bike has two functional tires again, I head out for Sabino Canyon, the National Park that my hosts recommended I explore it’s a 13 mile ride there, and I make the mistake of trusting Google maps blindly. It routes me on a “bike friendly” road called Speedway. Unfortunately the thing lived up to it’s name and I am pushed nearly onto the sidewalk as trucks whizz by me. Luckily, my friend recommended some metal music to me before I left New Hampshire and that’s the only playlist that will get me through this shitty traffic situation.
Finally Google releases me from the dreaded speed road, and I’m off ascending a wide curving road, following signs toward the Canyon. I see a Snowbird in front of me and keep pace with him.
Of course at the Canyon, I lose my phone on a bench by the men’s bathroom and some nice ladies pick it up and return it to me when they see me looking for it. The Canyon is completely dry. The land is in a draught which explains the lack of water EVERYWHERE. Where the trails here are often impassable due to high water flow, they are now mere washes, sandy beds where javelinas travel in packs at night.
At this point I’m getting tired of my own inner monologue. This is a very strange thing for an introvert who often tries to escape social interaction nearly all the time. I wonder what happens when I rest in this discomfort a little longer.
I rest in it until dark, then give myself over. I text the boy and he picks me up so we can eat Mexican food and visit some bars together. The bars here are weird because you can pick out a can or bottle from a huge case or get something on tap. I don’t understand the difference because if you choose something from the case, you bring it to the bartender and he pours it into a glass for you.
We get drunk, I fall in love a little bit like I am apt to do. Driving through the night on roads criss-crossing the city, Arianna Grande on the radio, crooning. We end up at a place called the Shelter, an old fallout place that’s nearly empty. The room with the pool table is nearly empty and they play Jack White, exclusively.
“What song is this?”
“I don’t know. Do you?”
Only when you’re smitten by alcohol and dreams is a conversation like this revolutionary. I smile and put my arm around him. I’ve made a new friend.
Tomorrow I’m out of Tucson and off to see the dirty trails and red rock of Sedona 😀