A Tucson Bender. Starring Bikes, Beer, and Wine

The goal for every summer in Phoenix is to try to make it out of Phoenix, to escape to cooler temperatures, to drink and ride bikes and have fun in a location cooler than home where you can actually partake in activities during the day without dying from the extreme heat.

Our trip to Tucson was not that. I mean, it was a trip to drink and ride bikes and have fun, but we failed on the cooler temperatures. Well, ok, it was about 5 degrees cooler, so I guess it kind of counts.

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We packed the car up, loaded the bikes, and headed down state early Friday afternoon. Plans for the first night were wide open and bar hopping was on the agenda. We were staying in a nice Airbnb right off of 4th Ave, close to everything. After getting settled in, we jumped on the bikes and headed down to Ermanos for a round of drinks and a bit of chow.

Ermanos was a nice enough and had a decent beer list. The place was fairly busy for a Friday night, but not overly packed and we managed to swipe a couple of stools at the bar. As we settled into our first drink, the power went out across the city. It was rather entertaining to watch the trolley slow to a halt outside the door. Backup generators kicked in and soon lights started coming back on across town. Ermanos was not as fortunate. The power never came and they were unable to cook food. We downed our second beer, paid with cash, and headed to our next stop.

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We made it to Thunder Canyon Brewing before the end of happy hour and managed to snag a few beers, boneless wings, and a tater tot/shrimp basket, mmm! The food was good, the beer was good, the waitstaff was great, and the prices were outstanding, but soon it was time to move our drunken shenanigans to the next place. 

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A dinner of fried food was not what we were after, so onward we rode to Maynard’s Kitchen. Actually, it was right around the corner, but anyway! Mixed drinks and a bottle of wine at Maynard’s and I was starting to feel good. The food was delicious too and the crayons left at the table entertained us far more than they should have.

We could have certainly stayed out longer, but I had mountain bikes to ride the next morning and beer at home, so we headed back to the Airbnb. The ride home was an event in itself. Congress and 4th Ave were both quite active and trying to take it all in with my drunken brain was too much. Must have been a bit much for Jim too, as he fell off his bike waiting at a red light. Luckily, there were no injuries and we made it home safely. A couple more beers and I landed in comfortably bed.

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Unfortunately the next morning did not go as planned. No, there was no mountain biking on this day. My head was killing me and sleep sounded far more exhilarating. To be honest, it was nice to take a day off. Sleeping in solved the headache and we were soon on our way to Nook for some breakfast chow. Nook’s mimosas (hair of the dog!) were on point and we were quickly back to normal and ready for some wine tasting.

Our true reason for the trip was to pick up some wine - Jim joined a wine club. Good times! If you’re ever in Tucson and looking for a great place to do some wine tasting, check out Sand Reckoner. The wine is top notch, the tasting room has some really nice art, and they’re great people. Seriously, buy a bottle or two, or if you’re like Jim, buy a case or four, it’s all good!

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After mimosas in the morning and now glasses of wine at noon, it was time to take our cases of wine and head back to the Airbnb. I needed a nap. Also, it was getting hot, so no point in being out in it. I’m sure Tucson has tons of cool indoor things to check out, but it was nice to just take a weekend off and relax. 

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That afternoon we headed out to Reilly’s for a beer and some pizza…and some of their Brussels sprouts, so good! We tooled around town on our bikes for a bit but the heat was killer so back to the Airbnb until the sun went down.

That night we walked down to Charro Steak - yes, we did nothing but eat and drink our way through Tucson this weekend. I gained five pounds, but who cares. Palomas and flank steak and wine and mac and cheese, mmmm. Good times all around. Now it was time to head back home to be responsible adults and go to bed early because I had to ride mountain bikes in the morning.

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Unfortunately, the responsible adulting never happened. I drank more beers and ended up watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia until I passed out. I did wake up early the next morning, but with a rain storm the night before, the humidity was jacked and I just wasn’t feeling it. I hauled my mountain bike all the way to Tucson and never even rode it. Sad face. Instead, we walked over to Time Market, had a nice little breakfast and some fantastic coffee and called our trip complete.

Tucson, you’ve got a great little town and I look forward to coming back and getting in you again. Your bike infrastructure is great and not once did I worry about riding bikes on your streets. Thanks for that! Also, your wine, beers, and food are top notch. Good times, would do again.

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