Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All the Places I've Never Been

Scratch #5 Off the List

Places I've never been but would like to visit (not an exhaustive list)
1) India
2) Italy
3) South America
4) Africa
5) Arizona Canal east of Pima Road

Memorial Day Monday I rode Bip on a 35 mile round-trip along the Arizona Canal to the east, beyond Pima Road. It's more open out there, semi-rural, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land, where they still grow cotton and veggies and whatnot, although less and less these days as they find ways to lend, lease, rent or otherwise populate the land with freeways, casinos, resorts, commercial developments, and Major League Baseball training facilities.

 Irrigating Land, Four Peaks in the Background

It was above 90F today, and single-digit humidity with light winds. Which still feels pretty comfortable to ride in, but will dry you out like crazy. I drank about 75 ounces of water, and still lost five pounds of water weight. I was caked in my own salt when I got home. One of my cats figured I was a salt-lick. Yuck. I didn't quite make it out to Granite Reef dam, though. The sandpit-like surface of the canal was tiring me out, and I was starting to feel the heat. Although a bandanna dipped in the canal and slung around my neck was like a cowboy air conditioner. (Note to self: take a water filter or something similar next time, for unlimited nearby water supply, just in case).

Salt River Landfill

There's a big pit out there called "Salt River Landfill" which was swallowing truck after truck full of garbage. A photograph doesn't really capture how massive a hole it is. You can check it out here, to get a better idea. It's a really big pit.

Some Cormorants Along the Canal

Also Some Egrets

About halfway back on the return trip, I got a big goathead thorn stuck in my rear tire. Nasty bastard. I pulled it out, and it was Slime tube to the rescue. Final score: Slime tube 1, goathead thorn 0. Slime tube got an assist from the Crank Bros mini-pump. I rode home with lower pressure in the back than I usually run, and I kind of liked the extra squish, except for the mushiness in cornering. The tire made it all the way home easily. When I took it apart, though, there was green slime everywhere inside the tire. It gives "going green" a whole new meaning. 

After all that water-weight loss, recovery is pretty important I think. I took it easy for a couple of hours, downed water, carbs, protein, salty chips, pickles, etc. Also, I hope the guy who took a spill near the AZC MUP bridge along Pima is OK. He said he was. The thing is, when you come upon a guy laying on the ground with his bike, and he says he's OK, don't worry about it, should you take his word for it? Maybe he was just having cramps and needed a pickle. Get up. Go ride.



  1. Is that canal safe for swimming?
    I mean after 35 miles, I'd be tempted.
    Leptospirosis and all.

  2. I also live in the desert (La Quinta, California) so I hear what you're saying about recover. Although, I don't know that I agree with you that 90 degrees, even with very low humidity is comfortable. After all, that is 90 degrees in the shade!

    BTW, I just found your blog and I'm enjoying it very much

  3. limom, people do swim in them, although the current looked pretty fast here, and I've never tried it. According to the SRP canal safety rules, it's not permitted. Of course, neither are motorized vehicles, but I see those all the time.

    Cyclediva welcome to the blog! I am pretty sure that loving the Phoenix summer heat as much as I do is not normal, and does not represent a typical or completely sane response. But I've also done extreme cold and I much prefer the heat.

  4. i got 1, 3, 4 off my list. Been to the canal out there but not on a bike. Guess it doesn't count. My big goal is to bike the north rim. In my 20s I had all the time in the world. Would ski once a week while living in Phoenix. No more. Anyhoo, this is my grand canyon cycling list

  5. FraSiec I'm looking forward to your North Rim posts. I bet that will be awesome. You might feel the pull of the Kaibab Plateau and ride for weeks....

  6. sounds like a dream vacation. Best vacation I ever had was kayaking/camping in alaska one summer. A bike packing trip would be as good as it gets for me.

  7. Those pictures are amazing! Looks like an amazing trip.

  8. Dottie, I was looking for solitude with no cars around. Found it! :)


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