After a week on the road I arrived in Tucson, AZ for a reunion with my old university friends Dave and Julie. While it had been nearly three years since I had seen them at their wedding and there was much catching up to do, Dave wasn’t about to let that stand in the way of replacing the new rear tire the camel was in need of. With fancier tools than I and a few delicious Mexican beers to lubricate the process, we had the new tire on in less than an hour.
With new shoes on the camel there was nothing stopping us from a beautiful mountain ride. After countless exhilarating switchbacks climbing from Tucson we reached the summit of Mt. Lemmon at over 9,000 ft, where it was over 40 degrees cooler than it had been on the desert floor.
Once home we began what was to be a week long tradition of spending the evening in the kitchen cooking up feast after feast over delicious bottles of wine. That along with Julie’s to-die-for keish after sunrise morning runs made quite a contrast to ramen noodle dinners and pop-tart breakfasts while camped along the highway.
Meanwhile there was still a lot of exploring to be done. One 300+ mile day saw me through the Coronado National Forest, the mining town of Bisbee, Saguaro National Park, and some strange furniture arrangements on the interstate.
Next up was a road trip north with Dave and Julie. Arizona is fast becoming known for its wine, in large part thanks to the genius of Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of TOOL and A Perfect Circle. Already a god in Dave and my eyes for his music, his foray into adult beverages was too much to resist. Thus we spent a blissful weekend hopping from winery to tasting room in the Sedona area.
After a week and a half enjoying friendship and the luxuries of a real roof over my head, Dave, ever the thoughtful one, helped me get back in shape for more miles roughin’ it on the road through an extensive equine training program: