Monday, June 28, 2010

Adios Amigo

With Matt moving to the land made famous by William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and most notably cheese steaks, a farewell ride was in order. The original idea of a trip to Flagstaff was scuttled once a fire broke out, so we decided to stay in our own backyard. So, Matt and I rode up to the top of Mt. Lemmon, loaded with gear and reinforcements would soon gather with steaks and cold beer. The summer time has officially started here in Tucson with triple digit temps, so getting to the high ground was a priority.

Loaded with sleeping bag, air mattress, cookware, lots of food, change of clothes, running shoes and tools. Later during the pedal to the top, I would be overcome by the sheer awesomeness that my setup exuded. I still need to pack less and it's better to get as much gear on the bike as possible. A 30+ pound backpack hurts on a 29 mile climb. Oh, and having gears would probably help, too!

Our camp, looming some 6,000 ft. up on those mountains...keep pedaling.

We stopped at Molino Basin for some shade and met this friendly fellow. The little guy just hopped up and wouldn't leave my side.

Is this some cruel joke? I wish there were icy spots. We hadn't even reached Bear Canyon yet and Matt had already bummed some water off some hikers at Molino and it was HOT. We ducked into the shade at Bug Springs trailhead to cool down when some MTB'ers drove by. I yelled out "got any spare water??" to which he replied "anyone wearing a DC jersey can have some of my water!" Thanks Vern for the ice cold water and Powerade! We mustered the strength and determination to push on, knowing that this next section was fully exposed and it was only getting hotter.
Only 2,100 more feet to go.

A nice reward at the Country Store in Summerhaven, only moments before I was kicked off the property by a more than agitated store owner. Apparently, he didn't take too kindly to my consumption of the High Life off in the corner, wrapped in a bag and out of sight...well, obviously, not out of his sight.

Walker showed up and brought more beer. Time to relax on the top of the mountain off Meadow Trail.

Apparently, this is how you drink beer pub style...

Later, Kyle showed up and it was time for a bike maintenance clinic.

I'd like my steak cooked medium rare, sir!

The esbit stove did a great job cooking my breakfast!

Unfortunately for Kyle, his stem/headset issues were never solved. Shortly after this he bailed on the Lemmon Drop. Thanks for bringing us the steaks and dinner, though!

C'mon up to the mountain and stay at "The Hoss!"

Came across a mother turkey and her 10 or so chicks.

Rose Canyon lake just right of the center.

By the time we reached Prison Camp it was hot as Hades and facing the pedal home, Matt and I called an audible...take the road! The others dropped into Prison Camp while we coasted the next 6 miles to the base. Along the way down a line of cars passed us, but something about this pickup truck was off. As I drafted behind him, I could smell smoke and saw something billow from the bed. It wasn't ash coming from his BBQ but rather smoke. Jokingly, I thought to myself we'll soon see this guy down the road and sure enough we did.

There he was, pulled over with another motorist helping him extinguish the flames. Apparently, he neglected to properly put out his grill fire, wanted to save the partially burnt briquettes, or was just a complete idiot. I think he was a culmination of all of the above. Driving down Lemmon, his grill had shifted, causing his rug and bed to catch on fire. Embers from this rolling grill on wheels could have easily started a fire anywhere along the way, let alone multiple fires! This in the wake of what happened to Schultz Pass in Flagstaff leaves no margin for carelessness. Nice job, jaggoff!

Holding down the porch at Circle K while it's 108 degrees. Almost home...

Unfortunately, my GPS turned off a couple times and lost some data. Total mileage for our endeavor was around 80 with over 10,664 ft. of climbing. Not bad for a bikepacking overnighter on Mt. Lemmon and a proper sendoff for G Donk.