Monday, January 12, 2009

Tucson RTE and Return to Houston

We arrived in Tucson late Thursday afternoon, catching the last bit of sunset before checking in to our rooms at the Red Roof Inn. An MTF member and his wife - Tucson residents - joined us for dinner later that evening at the Dennys and we made plans for Saturday's ride to Bubb's Grub for the MTF RTE.

The next morning another MTF member and area resident joined us and led us to the Pima Air & Space Museum. The museum is staffed by volunteer docents, all retired military men with a wealth of information and stories. We spent the morning walking the hangars and outside exhibits before returning to the hotel so that one of our group - from Ft. Worth - could go in search of a new rear tire for his DR. Less than 1500 miles and it's toast! I was more than willing to stay around the hotel for the afternoon, and we walked to a nearby sports grill and had hamburgers and some micro-brews.

Saturday morning, we were led on a ride that took us southwest out of Tucson and through the west unit of the Saguaro National Park. Here the Saguaros are plentiful as the road winds up, over and around the craggy terrain. A scenic turnout on this road proved to be too much for two of us, as we lost the battle with gravity on a very slanted parking surface. Nothing a few bits of duct tape couldn't fix temporarily and $12.00 at the dealership couldn't fix permanently.

We were the first ones to arrive at Bubb's Grub, but it didn't take long for others to begin arriving. Soon the small gravel parking lot was packed with bikes, with license plates as far-flung as CA, NV, FL, TX, and AK. The food was excellent! And plentiful!

The three of us were back on the road, headed east toward Texas by 1:15 PM MST. We pushed hard to make it to El Paso by dark.
The next day was cold and windy and our Ft. Worth fellow traveler got an earlier start. We left the hotel and got on the road at around 8:00 AM MST with the hope of arriving in Houston before too late on the same day...a 780 mile day. The temperatures dropped to the high 20's as we passed through the mountains east of El Paso. It remained cold with a strong north wind across West Texas where, at Ft. Stockton, we stopped for lunch. The temps here had risen to a relatively balmy 36 degrees, and it wasn't much warmer inside the McDonald's where we'd stopped! They were undergoing re-construction and had signs apologizing for the disruption. Patrons sat bundled in coats, hats, and gloves as they tried to eat their meals quickly, probably eager to get back out into their warm cars. I know I was anxious to get back on the bike and plugged back in to warm up!
We were making very good time, keeping the gas stops brief and were on the east side of San Antonio before dark. We stopped at the Buc-ee's in Luling for gas and ordered deli sandwiches, eating them outside in the cold crisp evening air. Only 170 or so miles to home!

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