Day 46 - Sonoita, Arizona

Another fabulous day of bike riding in the beautiful Arizona desert. Even a little rain didn't matter.

I started with a hearty breakfast and rhubarb pie a la mode at the Daily Diner in Bisbee. As I ride up to this place, an Australian shepard bounds over happy as could be to see me on the bike. The owner comes out and explains that he also bike tours, and he brings the dog with him in a trailer. When the dog sees a bike, he gets excited, because he thinks he's going on an adventure.

I had a great time talking with the guy from the Daily Diner as I ate and he baked pies. He said he has the dog fitted with a harness, and he has the dog help pull on big climbs. He showed me a picture of him and the dog while touring. A friend of his gave him the picture along with a poem written from the dog's perspective. It was very funny.

I don't think Monkey would go for it. I don't see Monkey pulling the bike. I see Monkey jumping out of the trailer to chase every small animal he sees. That's what whippets do. They don't sit and listen like Australian shepards.

The diner guy suggested I ride through Sierra Vista (a sprawling city next to Fort Huachuca) instead of Tombstone. He said the scenery was much better, and I could get any supplies I needed in town. I am good on supplies, but I am very swayed by scenery. So I blew off OK Corral. I think it was worth it.

There is a three mile steep climb, ending in a tunnel, to get out of Bisbee. Then you get 13 miles of glorious payback as you go down Tombstone Canyon.

TombstoneCanyon (208K)

When you turn off on the road to Sierra Vista, it keeps going down, and you go around the bend and you have this amazing vista.

SierraVistaPan (14K)

Sierra Vista is sprawled out on the plain in the floor of the valley. So is Fort Huachuca, which is why there were a bunch of fighter jets flying overhead all day.

As I was riding into town, a guy drives past me in a pickup truck from a landscaping company. The driver hops out and flags me down. He is a recumbent bike touring nut. "Is that a Reynolds?" (This is only the second time in history a person on the street has correctly identified my bike.)

We chatted for awhile. His name is Ron. He is a character. He is from Michigan. He has been car-free for four years. His wife divorced him, and he sold everything he owned, bought a Tour Easy and a BOB trailer, and hit the road. He supports himself by working in bike shops, landscaping, and house-sitting. (Many people in Arizona only live here part of the year it seems.) He abandoned a 20+ year career working as a janitor to do this. I guess that wouldn't be too hard to do, when you think about it. Ron is a very, very happy person. He has no posessions he can't pack in the BOB trailer. He uses the BOB trailer to haul stuff to landscaping jobs, too.

He said he originally was aiming to get to Oregon, because he had a job lined up with BikeE (a recumbent maker that folded without warning in a very notorious manner), but he decided to stay where he could ride all year. We compared notes on gear. I gave him my wholehearted endorsement of Under Armor.

I rode through the middle of Sierra Vista, and turned north. I had lunch at Huachuca City, at Sunny's Cafe, which does not sell camping supplies like you might think if you are from Maryland.

After Huachuca City, you have to re-earn that payback from the morning. It's a 13 mile steady climb to get to Sonoita. Sonoita is a fancy-pants town in the "wine country". It's very nice. I am staying in the Sonoita Inn, which is the only place to stay of any sort for 20 miles in any direction. It is a "Western Style Inn". The rooms have names. I am in the "Pine Tree Room". It is very beautiful. It is expensive. I am somewhat ashamed of myself for being here, and I wish Debbie was here so I could justify it to myself. (It is less expensive, however, than every place we stayed when Debbie visited in Texas.) I will camp again soon, I promise. Here is a picture of the lounge area.

SonoitaInn (57K)

I'm sitting in that couch by the fire while I'm writing this. I feel very spoiled and lazy.

Now it's time to go get some dinner.

Back. I walked next door to the Steak Out, which is a very, very good steak house. I had a monstrous T-Bone. I know I am really in the west, because all the walls were covered in dead animals.

Cow (210K) Buffalo (193K) Pig (201K)

Here is the map for today.

Actual46 (134K)