It dawned on me as I was reading through Volume 1, that I’m outnumbered by males here in the RV… both animate and inanimate.
Mel, Lance, George; all “males” and all lumped into the Team James camp. They’re my little pack of mixed blessings; adding both color and challenge to life on the road.
Examples of My Life With Team James:
- Mel – My stomach is not the place for your 3 AM bath.
- James – 3 AM is not the time to laugh about Mel’s bath.
- George – Escape attempts!
- Lance – Very needy and insistent about his oil changes. Seriously – he nags us. Every. Time. We. Start. The. Van.
- Lance and James – Frequent bathing together at roadside spray-gun-car washy things – and using this as an opportunity to freak out Mel by squirting at him.
- Mel and James – What the heck is this game “bitey cat” and why can’t you leave me out of it?
- James and George – insisting on what seems to me dangerous arm-wrestling every time we set up or break down camp.
I will say this. Life with the Team James crew is never boring.
On the Team Stef side of our RV adventures, I have Lucy, my “female” bike. She’s not on James’ radar so she’s more of an extension of me, and I just love everything about her… like how she causes me no exasperation.
And how she shares all my greatest escapades with me. We’re bonded, me and Lucy. Plus she’s super pretty:
When I left off from Volume 1, we had just finished our stint at an RV resort south of Phoenix; the one where I compacted my spine 2” from the 65 miles of BAH-BAMs.
But! After that, things improved.
James says Catalina State Park has been his favorite campground thus far. Me, I’m Sweden. I loved all the state and regional parks equally.
There’s a ton of great hiking at Catalina, and we especially enjoyed hiking to some ruins.
Although these were more ruined than your typical ruins. They mostly just looked like piles of rocks.
Thank goodness for the interpretive signs.
Catalina Park has an excellent location, northeast of Tucson in the gorgeous foothills. It has a deceptively remote feel, being just a mile or so from a huge shopping area and some restaurants.
We swung in Best Buy one evening and bought me a new keyboard for my iPad Pro. That’s what I’m typing on right now!
Yay for deceptively remote camping spots!!!
We did a 50+ mile ride out from Catalina, and get this. We did this without encountering a single car… all thanks to Tucson’s amazing network of paved bike trails:
Kudos to the city of Tucson for the investment in a safe-cycling and commuting infrastructure, the FitRV gives you two thumbs up. Well, four actually.
If you’re ever in Tucson, look up “The Loop”. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s my Strava details on this ride. Click the image below and you’ll see my ride pictures and a route map:
This park was our base camp for Tucson’s most famous road ride, Mount Lemmon, but overnighting isn’t allowed here. The park was a delightful find…a strange and wonderful oasis in the middle of the desert, a great place for a picnic lunch down by the water’s edge.
As for cycling up Mount Lemmon, it’s one of those cycling bucket list climbs: 30-ish miles of 6% relentless uphill. Which is why I bailed, and James did this one alone.
Okay, okay, that’s not why I bailed.
I actually wanted to do this ride. I bailed because I was hardly able to walk. Embarrassing to admit being a personal trainer, but there you go. Besides the biking, there’d been campsite resistance bands, HIITs, and of course, running, and I was overtrained. I know my limitations…and that day climbing a mountain wasn’t in the cards. So, I stayed back and did some hobbling about the park while James tackled the mountain all by his lonesome.
Here’s James’ Strava details on his ride; click the picture below to go to his Strava:
The route up Mt Lemmon goes like this:
BOTTOM: Sweat, sun, and cactus
TOP: Shivering, snow, and skiers
Everything was going great on James’ ride until on his way back down, where he suffered a sidewall blowout. Not even the new tubeless tire setup could handle it, and he was flat. So flat that a roadside repair was out of the question.
Adding to the fun, he was out of cell range.
Eventually, a nice couple from Chicago took pity on him and drove him down the mountain. So if you’re reading nice Chicago couple…THANKS! Some good karma is coming your way.
But anyways, riding a climb and then not getting the descent is like spending the day baking your favorite pie and then not getting a piece.
While James wallowed, I started making calls to find a bike shop willing to do a last minute tire replacement. Fortunately, the nice folks at Trek Tucson answered the phone and agreed to stay late and replace his tire. One more reason to love Tucson for cycling! So, at the end of the day, we were fully functional again, and ready to roll to our next destination.
With the flat tire setting us back, we rolled in to Kartchner Caverns State Park late… so once again it was pitch black fun detaching Trailer George and setting up camp.
We certainly don’t plan to arrive at campsites after dark, it just happens with alarming regularity.
It would be great if I could blame it on shorter winter days, except it happens all summer, too.
The sites at Kartchner are spacious, but SURPRISE! We had that unlevel issue again:
We did have to move to a different spot during our stay since other people good at planning beat us to making reservations, but that worked to our advantage as spot #2 was wayyy better.
Kartchner Caverns State Park is right off Hwy 90, a four-lane road that runs north to south from I-10 almost all the way to the Mexican border before veering east. So, road biking out of there you’ve got two choices:
1. North on Hwy 90, about 10 miles to I-10.
2. South on Hwy 90, however long you’d like.
The speed limit on Hwy 90 is 65mph, but since the shoulders are wide and in great shape it’s a comfortable ride and traffic isn’t distressing at all. The only downside is it’s pretty flat and not terribly challenging. And since I’d missed riding the day before, I wasn’t interested in spending hours on easy and flat. So! I stayed back to torture myself on the trainer, and let James ride out alone. His ride is linked here:
One of the many reasons we got George was so we could travel with our Cycleops Hammer smart trainer. I’ve been putting up various pictures on social media of us riding the trainer at the campsite and have been getting lots of ribbing for it.
“What are you doing riding in place! Go for a real ride!”
Which cracks me up. Because there’s riding, and then there’s training. You fellow cycling addicts know what I’m talking about.
Smart training is a more efficient way to build your cycling fitness. Everything is controlled. You’re not stopping at lights or corners, or coasting on downhills, or having tailwinds push you along. Your intensity is more condensed, which creates an effective training response in a shorter amount of time. Plus, as hard as trainer workouts are, I love that post-ride satisfied feeling. I kicked butt! I’m a super-cycling she-beast!
And something about doing that as we’re camped somewhere lovely, with stunning views all around and the opportunity for clandestine people-watching, well the whole experience is a fitnessy pleasure for me.
AND SPEAKING OF FITNESSY PLEASURES!
It’s a freak cold spell where we are today (high of 30 degrees F and gloom) so we’re not feeling the ride itch today. I’ve been sitting here in my cold-weather running gear, another of my fitnessy pleasures, and I’m signing off for now to step out of the van for the first time all day.
It’s time to go make today an awesome high-five worthy kind of day!!!