I've been finding that some good use of Google Maps can scope out interesting, mountain-side communities, complete with winding, baby-bottom smooth, road surfaces. This occasionally means negotiating gated community security, but fortunately their methods appear to only be intent on barring entry to car-based trespassing.
Based on this, I mapped out a route that took me up Dove Mountain (Tortolita).
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Turns out there are some super-impressive houses out there, built on some super-impressively steep roads. And of course they have a golf course or three.
Then my route took me west out to, well, desert. Around Avra Valley, gas stations, houses, and frankly pavement, all become fairly scarce. Luckily the Google Maps car and "google maps street view" has been to many of these places, and a little research prepared me for this off-the-beaten-track part of my adventure. But until that point, I was treated to a neat road that appeared to stretch forever into the desert. Did I mention it was really, really hot?
At the north-western-most point of my route, I came to the junction shown below:
Although it might seem somewhat crazy to leave a nice(ish) paved road and head into the dust and dirt, you might see from the photo/map that the road doesn't really head directly for a booming metropolis, or any guaranteed supply of water. At least not any time soon, when travelling by bike. So the dirt road is actually the precursor to me staying within the realm of civilization. You see, at this point I'm two flat tires away from a long, hot walk back to town, given that I have only one CO2 cartridge (the pump is on order).
So now that I've taken the road less travelled, and feeling pretty hardcore, you can imagine my surprise when I came across this sign:
Exactly how many bicycles come out this way? Apart from the general lack of pavement and water, I must imagine the gun-toting, cattle-guard-sign-shooting locals are also deterrent.
The rest of the ride went fairly smoothly. I did have a small meltdown as I arrived back at the first gas station, walking in like a ghost, typically salt-encrusted, and then proceeded to sit outside with a 2 litre cup of oh-so-sweet-and-cold pop, but apart from that, made it back barely after sunset.