Today Deb and I flew to Tucson, Arizona to ride bikes for 5 days. Lorraine and Debbie (New York) are also joining us on the ride. The tour is through VacationBicycling.com, a fairly new bicycle tour company based in Athens, Georgia. We’ll be riding in the Sonoran Desert in the Tucson area. This is the first time we’ve ever flown with our bikes anywhere. Our day didn’t start out very good, hopefully not an omen for the rest of the trip. My Mom woke me up with a phone call, telling me, “We’re out front, waiting for you.” Either my alarm didn’t go off, or I shut it off and went back to sleep. We hurriedly got ready and left for the airport. We ended up getting there about half an hour later than we would’ve liked. When we got to the ticket counter to check our bikes, the lady at the counter looked at Deb’s case and said, “There’s no way that’s going to fit on the plane.” I explained that it met their size and weight specifications for a bike. She just kept telling us it wouldn’t fit because we were on a smaller plane, blah, blah, blah. She said they would probably have to fly it out on a different carrier that flew larger planes out of Wichita. Then she told us we’d also have to pay an overweight fee of $75 on top of the $50 bicycle fee. I again explained that it met the size and weight specifications for a bike and that it should go for $50. I was losing my patience with her and speaking louder as this transpired. Finally she got her tape measure out and checked it herself. She ended up charging us $50 and said they would try to put it on the plane. When we boarded, they were still in the process of trying to load it. Right before we left the terminal, they came back and let us know that both bikes were loaded. We breathed a sign of relief and enjoyed our flight. Lorraine was on the same flight with us. She had made arrangements to rent a bike in Tucson, so she didn’t have to hassle with flying with one. She was however running late and made it to the airport with not much time to spare. Debbie was flying in from Albany, NY and missed her flight because there were two hockey teams (all of them checking sports equipment) ahead of her in line. She finally arrived in Tucson at 7:00 PM.
We hired a van shuttle to haul us and all our gear to the Lodge on the Desert, our lodgings for the first two nights. As you can see in the photos, Deb and I brought a ton of stuff, and Lorraine had one micro-bag. We dropped Lorraine off at the bike shop on the way to pick up her rental bike. She then rode about 4 miles to the hotel. Our rooms weren’t ready yet, so we put our bikes together out by the pool area. One room was available when we finished, so we stashed our stuff and went to have lunch. In the evening we walked a short distance to a restaurant and ate as a group. There are 35 people on the tour, from all over the United States and a few from Canada.