1 January, 2006
Nogales --> Tubac, 9miles run, 21 biked

Long day, started early. Arrived at Lee Blackwell's workshop yesterday around 2:30. He makes copper sculptures, and had a yard full of them. We were triven there in a taxi van by a woman who used to live in Nogales. When asked if she had ever heard of Anza or the Anza trail, she said no, but assured me she could find it. I guess she thought it was a destination we wanted us to drive her to.

This was my first sight of the southwest, so I'll record some of the things that amazed me, before they fade into the scenery:
-Speed limit is 75mph, but it never felt dangerous
-Road signs in kilometers
-Mountains are very steep, brown-red, and rise out of a very flat plain
-There is a lot of open land

I spent the afternoon mostly putting bikes together in Lee's workshop with some of his help. He is short and muscular, but not bulky, with an intense look. He reminds me of the captain of the aircraft carrier in "Top Gun" (or maybe Viper- one of the two).

He was the only one of the other four people (him, Bill, Corey, Grant) who knew how to put bikes together, but he soon left to pick up David and Stephen, leaving me to work mostly alone putting the other bikes together, though the others were very helpful, if only unsure of what to do.

Corey was his usual self, helping himself to two cinnamon-raisin bagels, saying that "Lee has enough... he won't notice these." Saw a beautiful sunset over the desert before Lee got back, and we had a big reunion of the group, all in Arizona without a hitch. We moved the packing of the bikes to Lee's house, having more or less put them together alright. At his house we met his wife Joan and finished readying the bikes for the test run in the morning.

Nice dinner, beef steaks prepared very, very rare by Bill, Christmas tamales handmade by Lee and Joan's neighbor, potatoes and green beans with lemon cake for dessert. Polished off two bottles of champagne and watched the ball drop at midnight with Lee and the rest of the Anzites. Slept in a guesthouse with Bill and Corey, but we stayed up talking and joking for another hour or so.

Woke at 7:30am on January 1, had a nice breakfast of bagels and eggs courtesy of Joan, and loaded up in a pickup truck bound for Nogales. The streets were empty as we went to the border, took some pictures against the fence, and got rolling. Corey ran a workout for about eleven miles while we bike nearly to a trailhead, making good time. We spot some hawks and a roadrunner on the way (Bill says "Look! A funny bird!" then veers off on his bike, riding after it.). I switch onto the running position and we get to a trail section two miles later. We pose for pictures, again, and start going.

On this section, I am faster than the bikes, especially since there are areas where there is deep sand that just ate up a bike's momentum. I did a bit of gophering from the front to the back of the group, trying to keep everyone together.

We stopped about five miles into the trail, and I noticed that my pack towel and sleeping pad were missing from my pack, which Corey had been carrying. I doubled back, finally finding the stuff about a mile behind us. Luckily, sort of, Grant got a flat on the Kokopelli, so the whole group was still waiting when I got back. We had a nice lunch of bagels and granola bars, and we were met by Lyle, Lee's brother-in-law (Joan's brother), who led us back out to the road.

This was a very cool part, as it was a dirt road with a river running across it, which the bikers forded (and we saw cars fording as well). We pushed on, and finally reached Tumacacari (sp?), a mission founded by the Spanish in an attempt to make the Indians proper Spanish citizens. We took a 45 minute tour, and took more pictures in front of the church here, then had a handmade flour tortilla with refried beans and salsa, which was delicious.

Pressing on, we went through the deepest sand yet on our way to the Presidio in Tubac, which had Rogo just pushing the BOB trailer for about half a mile (he said he fell five times today). At the Presidio, we met with Richard Williams, who is giving us $3000 to sponsor us on behalf of the Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona, Rio Rico Properties Inc and Rio Rico Homes and Land Inc. What he gets/wants in return from us is mentions in press releases, and updates as often as possible, which they plan on publicizing (he hopes to get CNN to pick us up in California). We saw here also a history of Tubac, which was basically cycles of prosperity followed by Apache raids. We finally went back to Lee's, washed off the bikes, showered, and had a huge pasta dinner which tasted so good. Tomorrow we want an early start, hopefully I am rested enough.

Line of the Day: Lee (over steak dinner): "Oh! Are any of you vegetarians?"
Bill, Stephen, David, Grant, Colin: "No."
Corey, bitterly: "Not anymore..."

..I don't think the Blackwells realized he was kidding

Day 2 Pictures

Day 2 Journal