Friday October 21, 2022. My Warm Showers hosts Jim and Sonya suggested a ride to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where Sonya works. She’d be in the field that day with a group removing invasive plants. It was only a 15 mile trip out to the museum and I headed out into the warm Arizona morning with Papa Hobo sans panniers and three full water bottles.

Tucson, like all the larger Western cities I’ve visited, has excellent cycling infrastructure. On street bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and shared use paths abound. Those routes took me out to Gray’s Pass Rd where a gentle climb awaited. I did have one 90 degree day in CA, but it’s been over a month since I’ve had sustained heat like this. Lots of water, a sub, and power bars made that tolerable. Lots of sunscreen, too. Felt pretty good considering the relentless sun and sparse shade. I even took the long way home which added a few miles. The only complaint was the almost constant roads faults and bumps in the tar pavement, most likely from the temp variations between hot days and cool nights. I found myself standing a lot just to keep my rear from major trauma.

Jim invited me on his and his son’s 5 pm Friday ritual of “Riding to the ‘A'”. The “A” is on Sentinel Mountain where, in the 1910s, University of Arizona students used local basalt rock to construct a 160-ft-tall (49 m) block “A” on the mountain’s east face. I was back in town a little early and stopped at the Sky Bar for a beer and a slice of pizza from Brooklyn Pizza. Both were appreciated after a day riding in the sun.

I met Jim and Rudy at 4th & 5th and we took off for the peak. They led, I followed, snapping pics as I went. Rudy is studying urban planning and we talked about that, bike infrastructure and about a GIS (Geographic Information System) project he’s doing for class, something I’ve had a lot of experience doing in past lives. He’s mapping potential sites for wind turbines based on prevailing winds and proximity to power lines and a number of other factors. I asked if it was a semester project and he said no. A week. Wow, tough class!

Rudy left us at the local food co-op and Jim bought some things for dinner and I bought some wine. After the meal, we talked some more about families and travel. Jim offered to swap houses in the summer — them in State College and us in the Tucson heat. “Sure!” šŸ¤£ Sonya offered me apples and PBJ sandwiches for my train trip in the morning, and as I would be leaving early, I said my good-byes and thanks and headed to bed, feeling lucky and privileged to have been led to another phenomenal warm showers host.