I really envy those of you that are doing the national rally
thing. However, rather than ponder the fun you are having I
decided a day ride was the order of business for me.
Since our monsoon season here in the southwest has finally
managed to get rolling, and the last half mile or so to
my home is a dirt (mud when it rains) road, I haven't had
too many opportunities to ride in a week or two. Today was
realtively dry, and I decided a short mental health ride
would be in order.
After considering my options, Mt. Lemmon sounded like the
obvious choice. I haven't taken the ride from Tucson to
Summerhaven at the top since the fires went through. I
also figured that since I was going that way I would also
load the GPS up with a couple of geocaches. For those of
you who don't know what it is www.geocaching.com
I pulled out of the house at around 8:00AM, and it was
already starting to get hot (desert living). The route to
reach Mt. Lemmon (for me anyhow) skirts the eastern edge
of Tucson, and the western edge of the Rincon Mountains.
Here is where I am heading for the day.
After stopping to whet my appetite for photos with that shot
within 15 minutes I was at the first scenic pullout. Those
who live here know that the highway up to Summerhaven rises
pretty dramatically out of the desert, and even at the first
pullout the views are scenic. So I stopped for some scenic
and desert views, and a gratuitous photo of my ride...
The first indications of the fire begin to show up fairly low
on the mountain. Acres and acres of charred brush.
Fortunately it looks like the grass has come back in most
places, and eventually the forest and the brush will as
The higher you climb, the more dramatic the scenery becomes
with scenic vistas, rock formations, and the great twisties
that make this ride a favorite of the local 2 wheeled crowd.
Unfortunately, many of the most spectacular spots were closed
to access due to a 5 mile stretch of road construction. No
stopping allowed with 5 miles of gravel road, a couple of
which are single lane with stoplights at both ends. Lucky
for me I hit the green light both times and wasn't delayed
in either direction.
By the time you are past the construction, you are well up
into the pine forests. Time to stop for a break, and a bit
of geocaching, and another gratuitous picture of the ride
The road actually peaks out somewhere around 8000 ft., but
there are higher peaks you can visit.
After a brief stop, I continued on into the town of Summerhaven.
Not much left of what used to be here. The businesses are
pretty much gone, and only some of the homes are standing, but
it looks like the builders are busy rebuilding, and someday
the trees will regrow.
My visit in town was brief, by this time the clouds were built
up over the peaks and looking threatening. Since 5 miles of
mud on the way down was not in the plan, I headed home. By
the time I reached the desert floor the clouds were well behind
me and the ride home was hot and dry