Arizona Escape Spring Tour

Event date: 
Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 7:30pm

Arizona Escape Spring Tour

UPDATE: 1/14 - Arizona Escape Spring Tour has sold out. Please add your name to the waitlist if you would like to be contacted if a spot becomes available.

7 Day Tour - Meet Saturday, March 28 --> Ride Sunday, March 29 through April 4, 2020

Tour Registration Dates & Details

REGISTRATION SEGMENT PAYMENT DUE DATE COST
Non-Refundable Deposit Upon initial registration $420
Final Payment (AutoPay) Wednesday, January 29, 2020 $1,175
Total Tour Cost Registration close on Sunday, March 8, 2019 $1,595
Single Supplement Due upon registration $590
Rider limit: 18
Tour leaders: Albert Meerscheidt and Bernice Tannenbaum

Overview

The Arizona Escape tour explores southern Arizona, starting and ending in Tucson.  The route heads south and east, to explore canyons, creeks, and wildlife preserves where birds abound, through historic towns skirting the Mexican border, and visits missions, national monuments, and amazing caverns.  This 341 mile, 7 day tour provides BASIC support (see detail), a small group, lightly traveled roads, variety in scenery, and a chance to escape the spring gloom in Washington and find the sun in Arizona. This tour includes lodging for 8 nights, 8 breakfasts, 1 dinner, and 6 social hours where we discuss the next day's ride.

What to Expect

SUPPORT

This tour provides a BASIC level of support. This differs from the STANDARD level of support (as described on the Club Tours home page under "What is a fully supported tour like?".) This tour does not provide lunch on route and provides only one SAG vehicle (a passenger van).  BASIC support is otherwise identical to STANDARD support.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

This tour is rated as Moderate. This tour has a 55-mile daily average though one day is almost 70 miles. There is significant climbing in the first three days. Riders should be able to cycle comfortably 60-80 miles at a moderate pace and climb extended stretches with grades ranging from 4% - 7%. Although most of the route generally has very light traffic, there are few paved roads in southern Arizona so we will occasionally find ourselves on highways with significant traffic.

Riders will be provided with cue sheets (to print and bring with you) and .gpx tracks for those who want them, but it is up to the rider to know how to use his/her GPS device before the trip begins.

The routes include a substantial amount of cycling on back roads, a small stretch of freeway, city streets with bike lanes and moderate traffic. Some may be rough/chip seal. There are cattle guards.  Safety will be stressed. Note, we will also be using many miles of bike paths that are very easy to navigate, smooth and clean of debris.

ROAD CONDITIONS AND HAZARDS

This ride is on paved roads and paved trails, the road surfaces vary from nice pavement to chip seal. We will be crossing the occasional cattle guard. Most of the route generally has very light traffic, but since there are few paved roads in southern Arizona so we will occasionally find ourselves on highways with significant traffic.  

This tour is best suited for road bikes. If you wish to bring an eBike please discuss it with the tour leader ahead of time.  Helmets are required and the tour leaders will be handing out safety triangles along with cue sheets at the get-acquainted meeting. 

WEATHER

March and April in southern Arizona are generally warm and dry, but we have seen cool temps as well as occasional rain in the past.  Expect daytime temperatures in the 70's and 80's. Arizona in springtime can be windy.

MEALS

This tour will provide snacks and beverages on the route.  With the exception of dinner and breakfast in Madera Canyon, meals are the responsibility of the rider. Some of our accommodations provide continental breakfast. Restaurants are available at all overnight destinations with the exception of Madera Canyon.  

There are restaurants and grocery stores on the route each day for the riders to buy their lunches and the SAG vehicle will carry your lunch when necessary.

LODGING

The quality of lodging varies from basic to quite nice. Our rest day in Bisbee is in a suites hotel – the suites have two bedrooms that share a common living room and kitchen.

TRANSPORTATION

Go Green! Tucson is approximately 1,500 miles from Seattle. We encourage carpooling, flying or AMTRAK.  Our Tucson hotel has a shuttle serving the airport. AMTRAK also serves Tucson.

WHAT TO BRING

This tour supports its participants with one vehicle – a passenger van.  Because of the small cargo area, the group will be small and all participants will be restricted to one small day bag and an overnight bag comparable to what is allowed as airline carry-on.

Pack light, remember you can leave bike boxes and bags at the Holiday Inn Express for your return.

Itinerary

All elevations were computed using RidewithGPS.  Actual elevations are generally less than stated.

Saturday, March 28 2020:

We meet at 7:30 pm on the first night at the hotel in Tucson and get to know each other during a brief informational meeting.

Sunday, March 29 2020: Tucson to Madera Canyon - (46 miles – approximately 3300’)

We quickly ride out of town and onto quiet roads through open lands with a variety of desert vegetation.  We make two stops at Tucson landmarks – the 300-year-old restored San Xavier del Bac Mission and the Titan Missile Museum.  We will take a group picture at the mission. After a picnic lunch and a tour of the museum, we’ll begin climbing through Madera Canyon, watching for frequent signs of wildlife.  At the top of our climb, our night’s lodging is remote and isolated, so we’ll treat you to both a simple dinner and simple breakfast the next morning while you relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Monday, March 30 2020:  Madera Canyon to Patagonia - (68 miles, approximately 2400’)

After starting the morning with a wonderful descent, we'll regroup at Posada Java. After a coffee and perhaps a pastry, we’ll roll through the Santa Cruz River Valley on our way to Tubac, an artist colony situated on high chaparral.  You’ll have an opportunity to explore this town and its Presidio before continuing on past the well preserved Mission Tumacori, a National Monument.  Near our night’s stop in Patagonia, you’ll see the influence of water in the Sonoita Creek Preserve area. Our destination hotel stands on the actual site of the Patagonia stage stop on the old Butterfield Trail.

Tuesday, March 31 2020: Patagonia to Bisbee - (70 miles, approximately 4200’)

After a breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant, we head towards Bisbee. We’re likely to have a tailwind at the start, but this is probably our toughest day and incredibly scenic and interesting.  We begin climbing through grasslands dotted with vineyards, cattle, horses, and antelope. After lunch in Santa Vista, we will be on our way to our overnight accommodations in Bisbee. Today we climb up Mule Pass before our final descent into Bisbee.

Wednesday, April 1 2020: (Rest Day)

Enjoy your rest day in Bisbee.  Stroll through the museum, take a tour of the Queen Mine, wander the streets and shops, and catch open mike night at St. Elmo’s, the oldest bar in Arizona.  Your lodging is in a suite hotel, each two-bedroom unit sharing a living room and full kitchen. You will have access to free on-site laundry facilities at the motel.

Thursday, April 2 2020: Bisbee to Tombstone – (56 miles – approximately 1,700')

We’ll begin the day riding past the Lavender Pit, an open-pit mine, feel free to pull over at the viewpoint. We head south along the border before we head towards a roadside picnic lunch. We will stop for the evening in Tombstone, the “Town too Tough to Die”.  Although we might be a bit too late for the gunfight show, you can enjoy the renovated Victorian structures that help keep history alive in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona.

Friday, April 3 2020: Tombstone to Benson - (41 miles, approximately 1,179’)

Today we ride to Kartchner Caverns. The tour includes a memorable tour of Kartchner Caverns, through this stunning “live” limestone cave with its wide variety of unique minerals and formations. After the tour, we will proceed to Benson, Az.

Saturday, April 4 2020: Benson to Tucson - (60 miles, approximately 2,200’)

After a short bump up the road, we start riding towards Tucson.  On our way, we’ll stop to enjoy Saguaro National Park East and its Cactus Forest Drive. Cactus Forest Drive is a scenic tour through the Saguaro cactus  – truly not to be missed. Today's route takes advantage of the many miles of Tucson bike trails before we eventually find ourselves back in Tucson, where we started.  

Take your time today – your tour cost covers your Saturday overnight in Tucson before beginning your travel home.