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The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 1, The Mountain Lion


March 31, 2017

The Mountain Lion 

This isn’t what you are thinking. Well, I hope you are thinking about a unicyclist getting chased by a mountain lion on some tiny dirt trails, frantically waving their arms to try to escape. 

But that isn’t what happened.

Instead, my day started at 3:40 AM with the alarm blazing. I force my hand like putting it through a hot fire and turned it off.  Lexi graciously got up with me to drive me to the airport. We hit the road by 4 AM and after a short bit up the road we saw a huge mountain lion dash across the headlights. It was beautiful and for all my life of living in Santa Cruz I had never seen one before and always wanted to. It was a good sign and Lexi said it would bring me luck! 

The airport checking at San Jose was no problem. I had to pay $25 to check my unicycle. This time I packed it for a one way trip. I cut up and modified a cardboard box to fit in the airline baggage restrictions and dismantled the unicycle. I carefully wrapped the pieces to ensure safe travel and stuck my large black round stuff sack inside with my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and a few clothes. I opted to carry on my backpacking backpack. I was a little worried the airline would force me to check it, but I compacted it down to a small size and carried on my food supplies in a small bag. This also allowed me to squish the backpack down to fit in the smaller overhead compartment on my second flight from Phoenix to Tucson.  I love flying. It always excites me to get on a plane and I’m always a little sad to leave. My connecting flight was a tight 20 minutes, and I had to run to the second gate to make it on time. I probably looked a little strange jamming as fast as I could but I made it on time. 

Now, Unicyclists are a friendly breed of people. We enjoy talking about unicycles, riding together and helping each other out. It is a real cool community that is bound together by this esoteric sport. Everyone knows that everyone else in the sport dedicated at least 10 hours to master the wheel and earn their riding badge. It takes perseverance and a certain type of mind to complete the task. People from all over the world are brought together by it, and I was thinking of who I might know in Tucson that rides.  My friend Andy popped into mind as I knew he lives in Tucson and is a fantastic geared unicycle rider. Andy said he could pick me up from the airport and ride with us for some of the trail. Andy also did me a huge favor of getting camp fuel. I didn’t want to risk the huge fine by smuggling it on the airplane so he picked up a few canisters and grabbed me from he airport. 

I managed to get my uni mostly together at the airport. We hopped into Andy’s car and did a quick stop to get one last sandwich before I started riding.  Finding Jamey and Rebekka on the trail wasn’t too hard since Jamey has a GPS tracker that update to a website every 15 minutes. He also had cell service so we were in touch and met at a restaurant off the road. 

Andy and another unicycle friend named Casey decided to camp with us that night. Andy was going to meet us at the site, so we cheated a little bit and had him carry a few things in his car. 

We opted to ride the road to the campsite. The trail would have mostly been a hike pushing the cycle, and later we learned that this is what the bike race people do at this stage. The trail is just too overgrown and steep and rocky on the uphill. 

Casey and Andy were already at the side when we rolled in. Andy picked up some beer and burritos for us and we had a nice chill time by the campfire. It was pretty chilly at that point: two jackets for me, but at least it wasn’t snowing like originally forecast a week prior. It also was a bit windy, which made it harder to go to sleep, but we all hit the tents soon after dark. 

Stats:

Today: 19.0 miles
Total: 19.0 miles  

Route:


Stravahttps://www.strava.com/activities/928525612


Below we have a picture of Andy’s awesome license plate!




(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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