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Well, this day combines the all the challenges of the last four days into one ride - it's the longest ride, plus I climb a gain in elevation that overall is equivalent to Day 1, plus it's the worst day for wind. I wanted to make sure I got to Tucson before nightfall, so I leave at 6AM in the dark with the goal of reaching Tucson by 4pm so that I would have a 2-hr contingency of daylight. This means I would have to average 13 mph including stops.

I summarize the day with a slide show (one shot per ten miles) along with a selection of interesting shots (to me, anyways!) along with commentary:

More Shots

Mile 25 Near Why, Arizona. Good name for a town in the middle of nowhere (or at the junction of Highways 85 and 86). A forest of Cacti in the early morning sun.

Mile 30 A variety of hardy desert flora competing for very little moisture:

Mile 50 Cactus Forest

Miles 60 though 70 - if Cacti were people..............

A long-winded conversation....

........and an extended moment of prickly intimacy

Mile 75 A tough-looking thicket of bushes, and the range beyond:

Mile 80 - Kitt Peak National Observatory:

Mile 110 Leftover mountain, showing the sediment lines from when the ground buckled in the far distant past:

Mile 120 - My ARGHH moment:

At this point I'm about 10 miles from Tucson and I have the latest in a long string of flat tires, with the majority of flats occurring over the last 40 miles of the overall trip.

I consider myself generally well prepared for long trips but the ongoing continuous obstacles of broken glass, bolts, nails, twisted metal finally exhausted my supply of 4 tubes and 10 patches. I use my last patch, and my pump seal breaks, so I can'tt pump up my tire.

so here I am with almost 99% of the trip completed and on schedule and I'm having my 21st century version of "for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost etc etc" except in my case, I wasn't lacking for %$#@% nails, I needed a working pump.

So I stick out my thumb and soon get a ride from a mechanic with a pickup truck who brings me to a gas station on the southside of Tucson. I'm pretty annoyed at being so close to completing my ride and decide that I would get my tire pumped up and then ride back out to the last flat site and complete the ride - except that someone had cut the nozzle off the end of the air pump at the gas station.

^%$#%$#%$^%$^%$&^%$&^#$%%&^# !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I say the hell with it - it's getting dark and I would call a cab.

Except that cabs rarely some down to this part of Tucson - I'm on the wrong side of the tracks. I call three cab companies over and over during the course of two hours and finally have the dispatchers add a message to my cab request that I would PAY for a cab to come collect me in this "no cab zone". That helps.

Fifteen minutes later I have my dismantled bike loaded into this cab whose trunk was filled with loud speakers, with the cab diver exhorting me to be careful that my bike front forks or pedals or handle bars not poke holes into his half-brother's sound system.

So I make it to the hotel, and right after shower and dinner, start my search for a bike shop.View Photo Slideshow

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