Good Morning Arizona

01Mar12

After a long, ridiculous ride share experience we woke up in the Arizona desert at Gilbert Ray Campground about 15  miles from downtown Tucson. After driving all night in an old  Suburban we were dropped off in the early morning darkness. We awoke to hummingbirds and Saguaro cactus all around us. Wildflowers blooming here and there. The air was dry and the sun was up and blazing. It felt so good to be out of the vehicle. Funny, traveling seven times faster than we do on the bicycles is not seven times as fun.

Entrance to campground

Our sweet ramada

Our first day in the desert we lounged around and were able to switch campsites to obtain a site with a ramada, a sun shelter without walls complete with two picnic tables and an electric outlet! A sweet deal at ten dollars a night. Gilbert Ray Campground is located within the 20,000 acre Tucson Mountain Park bordering Saguaro National Park. The Saguaro cactus, pronounced Sah Wah Row is native to the Sonoran Desert and abounds in this region. Its blossom is the Arizona State flower.

On Monday, February 20th,  we biked over to the western district of the Saguaro National Park. We enjoyed the displays and watched a beautiful slide show with a surprising finale-the screen raised up and curtains parted to reveal the desert outside.

Saguaro National Park West entrance

Biking the McCain Loop between Gilbert Ray Campground and Saguaro NP

On Tuesday, Bryan took a solo ride on the Bajada loop road, a nice unpaved loop through park while Debi hung out in camp and fended off the little squirrels that had our site surrounded.  Later in the day we hiked Brown Mountain together.

Harris' Antelope Squirrel

Bajada Loop Road in Saguaro NP

foreboding one way section of the Bajada Loop road

Close up of Saguaro cactus

A Cholla, these buggers will try to jump a ride with you

View from Brown Mountain, a 20 year old Saguaro in front and our campground in the distance

Another view from Brown Mountain with giant Saguaro

Brittlebrush

Bryan following the trail

Saguaro sunset

On Wednesday morning we packed up to head into Tucson.  We had arranged to stay for a week at the Roadrunner Hostel just a few blocks from downtown Tucson.  We had been reading that Tucson is a bicycle friendly city and we wanted to take the time to explore.

Tucson is up next, more soon!

Debi and Bryan

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One Response to “Good Morning Arizona”

  1. I miss saguaros….

    great stuff.


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