Category Archives: Gypsy General

Fort Pickens, Pensacola Beach, Florida

The Fort - taking a break from the bike
The Fort – taking a break from the bike

Fort Pickens State Park on Pensacola Beach, Florida offered easy cycling on the campground roads as well as having a bicycle lane on the main road in the Park. We cycled to the Visitor Center, back to the campground then on to the Fort and back – while not much mileage was covered the views of the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay as well as the historic Fort Pickens are worth seeing from the seat of a bike. 1/20/2015

A Cycle/Hike at Patagonia Lake State Park, Arizona

Descent on steep, gravel/dirt road to Sonoita Creek Trailhead
Descent on steep, gravel/dirt road to Sonoita Creek Trailhead

While my husband and grandson took to the lake on a paddle boat, I decided to check out the hiking trails and headed off to hike the Sonoita Creek Trail, Blackwood Canyon, and the Cottonwood Loop. To reach the trailhead, I cycled about 2 miles with a steep ascent out of the campground, then a steep descent to the trailhead on a dirt and gravel road. The 3 mile loop trail provided panoramas of the surrounding hills, the creekside riparian environment and a quick sighting of a deer. I also encountered cows on the trail who quickly ran from me. Cycling back to the campground was an easy ride. Our grandson was thrilled to be able to ride his bike all through the campground, even managing a jump off one of the steps at a campsite. No injuries as he quickly righted himself and his bike, dusting off his “seat”.  1/11/15

Rillito River Trail, Tucson Arizona

Northwestern end of Rillito River Trail
Northwestern end of Rillito River Trail

While staying with my son in Tucson, we decided to try one of the river trails. We headed to the end of Country Club Road, made our way to the Rillito River Trail and cycled east towards the end at Craycroft Road. We then turned around and cycled to the western end near Orange Grove Road and then returned to the Racquet Club where we ate a scrumptious lunch! While the total distance was only 25 miles, it was paved and provided a scenic route along the riverbed. 1/9/15

Flagstaff – a cycle ride in the snow?

Route 66, Flagstaff
Route 66, Flagstaff

Flagstaff is known for its many and varied bike trails, bike routes, and bike lanes. However, we wondered if the snow would prevent us from trying them out. Since many of the roads had been cleared, we decided to attempt a ride on the Flagstaff Loop which paralleled Route 66. The bike trail had also been cleared and the ride of 14 miles was an out and back from the Visitor’s Center at the train station where we had parked our car. While the trail was paved and easy to cycle, taking a shortcut through some gravel and red dirt was not the way to go. Sinking down into the red mud and having muddy tires and shoes was not worth the few minutes the shortcut saved us as it was spent cleaning the mud off our shoes in the snow! Moral to this story: stay on the paved trail!1/5/15

Saguaro National Park -Cycling on Christmas Day

Christmas Day Cyclists
Christmas Day Cyclists

The perfect way to spend Christmas Day was to cycle with my son and husband  to Saguaro National Park. We followed bike lanes on Broadway to the Old Spanish Trail which took us to the entrance of the Saguaro National Park. The Ranger at the gate asked if we had been to the park before and my son indicated that he had. She asked if he had warned us of the first curve and steep descent and we answered no. She advised us to be cautious on the first curve and to take our time on the descent, which I did as my husband and son careened around and down! The eight miles of the park road was one way and any vehicles on the road were cautious in passing cyclists. The views of the Rincon Mountains, the desert landscape, and the thrill of the descent once the final hill was climbed all made the ride worthwhile. Cycling back to my son’s home provided a total of 33 miles and a wonderful way to spend Christmas day. 12/25/14

Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park

Hueco Tanks, near El Paso, Texas

The boulders for climbing, not cycling, Hueco Tanks State Park near El Paso
The boulders for climbing, not cycling, Hueco Tanks State Park near El Paso

While Hueco Tanks State Park is known more for its bouldering activity, we did manage a bit of cycling. We exited the park and took to the roads in the surrounding countryside. Not many houses are built out in this area  as water and other utilities are not provided by the locality. Cycling on the roads was not as fun as hiking through the unique habitat of the Hueco Tanks, climbing the boulders and viewing the pictorgraphs that abound throughout the Park. 12/18/14

Neuse River Greenway, near Raleigh, NC

The Birds and Me, Neuse River Greenway near Raleigh NC
The Birds and Me, Neuse River Greenway near Raleigh NC

While visiting our daughter in Raleigh, we took advantage of one of the Cycling Trails near Raleigh, the Neuse River Greenway. “Along the eastern outskirts of Raleigh, the Neuse River Trail follows the river for nearly 28 miles from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake/Johnston County line. There are several river crossings along the way, including two on suspension bridges. The scenic, tree-lined trail offers numerous wildlife viewing opportunities, especially on its boardwalks through wetland areas.”

We started our trip at Anderson Point Park, heading North first then retracing our route back to the park, and continuing south to the end of the trail, returning back to Anderson Point Park, for a total of almost 60 miles! Beautiful views along the way and varied vistas. 12/1/14

The Western Greenway and saying goodbye to Ireland

Cycling the Western Greenway
Cycling the Western Greenway

The Western Greenway gave us a break from the road cycling and was so well appreciated. While the highway was visible at times, it was nice to cycle without worrying about the traffic.

On the way to Achill Island
On the way to Achill Island

We joined the Greenway at Newport and went west to Achill Island. We then traveled the next day around Achill and back to the Greenway to head back through Newport and on to Westport. In the United States we have many of these cycleways that are built on old railway trails that are now defunct.

Sculpture along the Greenway
Sculpture along the Greenway

If financially feasible, creating more cycleways would be a nice way for Ireland to entice more cyclists to the country.  Along the Greenway, we made a stop for lunch in Mulranny. Here we met a gentleman and his lady friend who were also out for a day cycle. The gentleman was Aidan Byrne whose father, Police Sergeant Peter Byrne, knew Eamon’s father, Andy. Peter died in 1950 and Aidan also was a police sergeant. During our lunch, his lady friend indicated that she had worked with Eamon about 15 years ago as a Yoga teacher at the MS Centre. Her name was Rosaleen. It was amazing to us that everywhere we went there were folks who knew “Eamon Carney”!

 

Greenway Station, created by a private citizen, near Westport
Greenway Station, created by a private citizen, near Westport

The Eamon connection surfaced again during our stay on the Aran Island of Inishmoir. In talking to the lady who owned the B and B where we were spending the night I mentioned that we had visited my cousin in Sligo and she indicated her sister lived in nearby Skreen and probably knew Eamon.  She emailed her sister and found out that, yes, she knew Eamon well he stops by and visits and her son, Enda, helps with projects. Repeatedly, everyone in the country knows Eamon Carney!

 

The Greenway
The Greenway

Continuing our coastal route we made our way through County Clare– on to Bunratty where our journey started – taking the bikes apart, boxing them up and saying our last goodbyes to this beautiful country. We shall return and sooner than 20 years. 9/18/14

 

Saying goodbye to Ireland
Saying goodbye to Ireland