Friday, May 29, 2009

My favorite ride?

I went up Gates Pass. Again. Today it was partly cloudy, and the clouds were in the west, so I left well before sunset and did most of the ride in sunlight. I did get zapped for about fifteen minutes when the clouds broke briefly, but mostly it worked out. The big plus to going so early is that it's much, much prettier.

This is looking east along Kinney from the first place I stopped in the park, maybe a mile up the road from the Drexel Fire District fire station and the Circle K there.

You see these cacti all over the place at certain elevations. They're completely nonexistent out at Diamond Mountain, and also in Tucson proper, but go maybe 100 feet uphill or ten miles south and suddenly they're everywhere. From the car window they look fuzzy and cuddly, but once you get closer to them you realize that they are a little too clingy to be the easiest of friends.

This is shot toward the sunset from the same rest stop.

This is a long shot of Gates Pass from the intersection of Gates Pass Road and Kinney Road. It's always chancy to identify mountains and passes from a distance, but I'm pretty sure the pass is in fact the low point you see among the peaks.

This is shot down the road a piece from the intersection of Gates Pass Road and Kinney Road. The sun was just beginning to cross the horizon, and this is kind of the classic "Sunset from Gates Pass" image, with the saguaro on the left with fruit on it.

This is from the same location, looking up the road instead of down.

If you look at a map of Gates Pass Road, you'll see two major switchbacks - one is the pass itself, and the other is about a quarter mile below the pass, where the climbing gets really intense. I stopped there to get another sunset shot, and also took this shot looking back at the mountain in Tucson Mountain Park (I assume it's called Tucson Mountain, but don't know that for a fact).

This is looking up toward the pass at the mountain to the left of the pass. A very typical Arizona mountain view.

And here's what the sunset looked like from there. The sun is all the way behind a sharp peak off on the horizon, but it's still very bright.

Here I'm just below the pass at pretty much the last safe pullout, taking one last picture of the valley. What you're seeing off in the distance is first Tucson Mountain County Park, and then some mostly undeveloped land, and off in the distance the Tohono O'Odam reservation.

And here is the obligatory shot up at the very last of the climb to gates pass. The camera is level here - this isn't exaggerated either by camera tricks or simply by perspective.

25.4 miles round trip, and around two hours, but I don't really know. And yes, this does seem to be my favorite ride in Tucson at the moment. But it felt pretty easy this time, so who knows how long that will last - I may have to add in the McCain loop soon. By the way, if you click on the pictures you get bigger versions...


Anonymous Patricia said...


Friday, May 29, 2009 9:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riding bicycles on Gates Pass endangers not only yourself, but other motorists on the road.. and their vehicles During my first summer in town, my radiator literally fused itself together while driving 5mph up that mountain while stuck behind a line of cars who couldn't pass a bicyclist.

I blame riders like these for the empty bottles tossed my way when I'm riding my own bike in the city.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

It sounds like you had a really bad experience on Gates Pass Road, and I'm sorry you had to go through that. But the problem was the result of your car having a cooling system that was unable to keep up with the load, not by the bicyclist, or by the driver at the front of the line who was too timid to make a carefully safe pass uphill, as most motorists would have done.

Bad drivers endanger me, and endanger other motorists on the road. I do not endanger anyone, if I ride safely. I'm sorry, but I refuse to be scapegoated for this. Please drive carefully, and don't blame your problems on others.

Friday, September 17, 2010 2:56:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home