Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cactus-sunrise on double decker Anglophile coffee

I'd given my word, so I woke up at 4:40 (voluntarily!) this morning
in order to meet a group of friends before sunrise (about 5:20 a.m.)
in a parking lot on the eastern edge of the city
to then go biking to and through Saguaro National Park and back.

I survived! And I even want more...
Sunrise over the Rincon mountains,
'cold' morning air as we dipped into dry washes
where the cool air had pooled into pockets of 60-degrees...
(nice, knowing that the afternoon will be 40 degrees warmer)...
seeing lizards and cottontail rabbits dart acrosss the road...
sweet mesquite-perfumed spots
and views across the entire
Tucson basin, down to the Santa Ritas,
across toward the Tohono O'odham Nation,
over to the Santa Catalinas,
the long mountain shadows still reaching westward...

A new Saturday-a.m. routine has been born, I believe.
I did lag behind some of the more seasoned spandex-clad cyclists...
but hey, it was my first time...
I didn't do the entire up-and-down loop within the park;
I stayed with a couple of the riders and did the shorter 'picnic' loop;
gotta work up to the full thigh-busting route...
I am glad I drove the route a few days ago, so I knew what I was getting myself into...

We were done by seven, so on the way home, I thought I'd stop for another coffee (the 4:30 a.m. coffee had worn off)--and what better place to do so, than this non-Starbucks establishment:

Yes, the Bristol Coffee Bus. An actual red, British double-decker from the mid-20th century, shipped over to this side of the pond years ago, now serving as a brilliant stationary caffeination stop. (and they serve PG tips if you want an 'authentic cuppa' cha...) It's not on my usual commute-route, so I'd never stopped now, after nearly a year of living here, after my first bike-ride with the 'big boys,' I thought I should check it out.

(Arizona also has, in case you weren't aware, the original "London Bridge", shipped and rebuilt, stone by stone, on the western edge of the state. Desert anglophiles, I guess...)

I told the barista I'd been wanting to stop at the place for nearly a year since moving here; then the owner, working behind him, asked me--"where'd you move from?"--to which I replied "Seattle." Pause. "You'd better make him a good one!" said the owner to the employee. I guess Seattlites do have that rep-brew-tation.

(Egad. Such a horrible forced pun, yet I couldn't help myself. The caffeine and the post-bike-ride endorphins have gone to my head. Please forgive.)

The paper-reading view from the top deck, across a nondescript parking lot, north to the mountains:
So, a year, later, I'm still loving Tucson; some choice imports, irritatingly quirky at times, but the setting is glorious.

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