By Fred Kamp
The OBS Touring Geezers have returned from their Spring Tour in Tucson. Two minor spills (on tracks) and two flats (one a faulty valve stem). The riding days were March 13-17, 2006, and two days were expended each in coming and going. Those participating:
- Gary and Suzanne Cannon
- Fred and Bonnie Kamp
- Joe and Margaret DiMonico
- Bob Kinsey
- Gary George and Carolyn Burchett
- Dwayne and Jerri Lee
- Jim and Joanna Gregg
- Tom Russell
- Gene Hall
- John and Kay Shenk
The weather coming and going was awful; the weather riding was great. At Geezer starting time (9:00 to 9:30am), the temp was in the high 40s or low 50s, warming up to 60s and 70s. Wind was not much of a factor until the last day, when the Friday riders started bucking a head wind going south from the Gregg’s Green Valley condo to the Amado lunch stop (12 mi). After lunch, it really increased going south to the artsy town of Tubac (another 9 miles). But, hoo-boy! Did they sail returning to the condo! There, the Greggs put on a fabulous farewell feed. The Greggs were spending the month of March in the Green Valley condo, about 20 miles south of Tucson, and came up to join us on Tucson rides.
Gary and Carolyn moved from Oklahoma City to Tucson about 9 years ago and Gary provided really great ride leader service for us. Gary was the founder of the old WIMP ride (Wounded In Many Places) for people recovering from surgery, etc. Carolyn returned to OKCY the third day of our visit to attend her mother’s birthday celebrations, but she provided excellent dining counseling while she was with us.
Tucson is a bike friendly community. A Tucson Metro bike map is available from the Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, 520-740-6746. The map is also good for all sorts of metro navigation. Streets on the map are marked as to the type of bicycling accommodation existing on them. These include:
- Shared use path. Paved 8-12 feet, separated from street.
- Bike Route. On lower volume streets with “Bike Route” signs. Max 30mph.
- Bus/Bike Lane. On major streets, 12 ft bus and right turn lane shared with bikes.
- Bike Route with striped shoulder. On major streets with “Bike Route” signs. 4-10 ft wide with paved shoulder, speed 25 mph or more.
And many others. The city is well gridded with these rideable streets.
If you lack local leadership you can get maps and cue sheets for over 13 rides from the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association www.bikegaba.org. We made our initial plans that way, choosing 5 or 6 rides, and mapping how to get to and from the various rides and our motel. However Gary George stepped right in as a ride leader and we became quite flexible (limp?) in varying our plans. The new plans included rides on riverside trails on the Rillito River and the Santa Cruz River (both sides). On the Rillito Trail ride, Gary led those who did not sag through the University of Arizona campus. The riverside trails are laid out at the normal ground level overlooking the river. Where the trail encounters a bridge crossing the river, the trail divides, with one branch giving access to the crossing street, and the other branch dipping down under the bridge, on the abutment, to carry through bike traffic.
One day we rode to the Saguaro National Park East, where the ladies met us with a picnic lunch. That ride used the separated trails along the Aviation Parkway and the Old Spanish Trail. Some rode the 8 mile loop in the park, with its sudden down hill just before a sharp curve, and its long uphill, and some sagged it, thanks to Suzanne running a loop shuttle. The loop offered a view of not only the tall Saguaro cactus, but many other types. Although conditions were quite dry, several of the plants were blooming.
Most every one took a tour of the aircraft “bone yard” at Davis- Monthan AFB which is adjacent to Tucson. This was a special tour arranged by Jim Gregg with Sam Malone, formerly of OKC, who now works at the AFB. The bone yard contains 6000 mothballed planes, mostly military, of every imaginable type and vintage. They are out in the open in orderly rows. Gary Cannon was given a special close up tour of one of the F-4 Phantoms since he had worked on such planes in Thailand in the preceding century. Some also toured the Pima County Air Museum which is spectacular. It contains 5 large hangars containing many interesting aircraft as well as 20-40 acres of aircraft displayed outside.
Gary George took us to the neat Ajo bike shop, where we browsed for several hours. Bob Kinsey, our new recruit to the Geezers, had a rare case of Pre-Buyers Remorse and barely escaped buying a new bike. A similar case seemed to grip Dwayne who also managed to escape with an intact wallet. Bob later encountered a Performance Bike Store and was last seen seeking a support group to help him not buy a bike.
Suzanne led us to many exciting dining experiences by interrogating about anyone she saw about good places. This was particularly true of places serving exceptional pie. With so many people involved it was frequently difficult to get separate checks. This was solved by putting the itemized check all on Suzanne’s credit card. John would do the same for deserts. Later, John threw his and Suzanne’s bills into a spread sheet on his lap top to aid us in reimbursing him and Suzanne. Due to the lack of exact change, they may have made windfall amounts that we hope are not taxable.
While the guys were riding, or visiting museums or bike stores, the gals honed their shopping skills and visited cultural sites like the old San Xavier mission.
The Kamps, DiMonicos, Cannons, and Gene Hall and Tom Russell, in three vehicles, formed a caravan coming and going. We stopped at White Sands National Monument on the way to Tucson, and in Tombstone, AZ on the return. This permitted us to get our cars full of white sand, due the raging winds, and to “walk where Wyatt Earp walked”. In Tombstone, Suzanne tried a new dance step on her glasses and doing Wyatt’s walk was delayed until they were repaired in a nearby town.
Its now time to begin planning the next Geezer Tour.