Overnight Adventure from Tucson, AZ

After daydreaming about it for a while, I loaded up the bike & trailer and took off with my 2 year-old for an overnight camping trip.

The spot we picked was Colossal Cave Mountain Park, about 20 miles from our house on the east side of Tucson.

It took about 5 miles to get out of town, and then we were off into the rolling hills southeast of Tucson. Old Spanish Trail is a route popular with Tucson's roadies, but I had never been out there. Beautiful scenery, traffic wasn't too bad, and the little one got to see some horses (in a corral on the side of the road) and cows (actually IN the road -- from the free range ranches in the area).

A little after the halfway point I discovered that 29-tooth "granny" cog I never have to use while commuting was not quite low enough to comfortably climb all the hills with an extra 50-60 pounds of gear+food+kid -- but I was pleased that I didn't have to push the bike.

Once at the campsite, it was a little eerie because we were the only ones there and it was dead quiet compared to being in town. That and the fact that they lock the gates at night to keep vandalism to a minimum lent the atmosphere a bit of a horror-flick vibe.

Nonetheless, confident that bearded, 30-year old dudes and little kids were atypical horror movie victims, we set up the tent, cooked some hot dogs, and wandered around our own private campground exploring.

I didn't expect to sleep much while camping with a 2-year-old and I was not proved wrong about that ... but, morning came, and with it the adventure of making breakfast on the camping stove.

Not long after we finished with breakfast, we broke camp and headed back to Tucson. The ride home was significantly easier and faster than the ride there -- an exhilarating way to finish our first S24O adventure!  

Tip for this adventure: There's a neat little Farmer's Market about 7 miles before you get to Colossal Cave. It's worth stopping and hanging out for a bit if you're tired, because it's right after this point that the climbing starts. The convenience store there is also the last place to grab supplies (i.e. milk/snacks) before you get to the park, and there's a small playground that any little tourists accompanying you might like to use for stretching their legs.

Get more information about bike overnights.

Favorite local bike shop: Ordinary Bike Shop

5 responses so far ↓

FatBob29r - Aug 10, 2011 at 4:51 AM

Great S24O and the fact that you did it with your daughter is the best. Did you bring things to keep her busy/happy on the ride/@camp of did you go with let her find her own fun? My daughter is now 6 and is slowly turning into a TV/Movie Junkie.... must follow your lead and drag her into the outdoors more often. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing.

Pedal Power Touring - Aug 15, 2011 at 4:31 AM

Overnighters or Weekenders are a great way to just get out of the house. They're also a great way to get newcomers interested in bike touring without to much hassle and/or gear. We did a few weekend camping trips this past year with some friends and family members. Tomorrow we fly to Europe with two newly hooked bike tourist for a month long European adventure.

Bud Halpin - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:13 AM

Wow!! What a great little trip!! If you keep this up, she'll be wanting a bike of her own soon! Keep on BIKIN'!

Andy A - Dec 13, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Great trip and your daughter looks like she enjoyed herself. That first picture had me laughing because I can just imagine her saying "Let's go dad" with that stance.

Bud Halpin - Dec 13, 2011 at 8:47 PM

I recently rode with another GRANDFATHER and his 5 year old GRANDDAUGHTER.. We did 7 miles total on the MONTOUR TRAIL. She led, followed by her GRANDFATHER and then me. She told me that I did pretty good keeping up!!!:-D What a great day; will remember this a long time!!!

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