One of the things I disliked about our first apartment in Tucson was that it was so far away from everything that it was very hard to walk anywhere. It was also super hot (I think the 90 days over 100° this year were the first 90 days we were here) which made it hard to be outside at all. So when we moved to a bigger place, I wanted to be able to walk places! The walks from our apartment are a bit long, usually over a mile, but the weather has cooled down to the “beautiful” stage that everyone was telling us about (OK, so it still gets near 90° but the evenings are wonderful) and all the basics are walkable – groceries, library, pharmacy, park, church, Starbucks, etc. This weekend was in the 70s so we went on some walking adventures.
Well, it actually started when I took my bike out last week. I’ve outfitted it for hauling groceries and library books and such, with panniers and a rack. The rack that came with the bike did not get along with the panniers and almost led to a wipe-out one bike ride in Cincinnati when the pannier came unhooked and got stuck in my wheel spokes. So I needed a new rack for the back of my bike, and some lights for if I’m ever out after dark. Off I went on my bike to the bike shop, having not really ridden my bike since I was a little kid. I rode a few times in Cincy, but always on back streets with no traffic. It was terrifying. The super-busy main street was actually totally fine. It has a bike lane and is well taken care of – smooth road, no potholes, no gravel. The side roads were quite different. The one with traffic was extra bumpy and had tons of potholes. The one without any traffic was covered in very fine gravel. Because no one has grass here, yards are all covered in gravel. I guess it’s quite hard to keep the gravel in the yard, and it often spills into the street. And gathers in little piles where the traffic pushes it, and makes novice bike riders like me panic a lot.
While I’m on the subject of gravel . . . it’s the gravel that required me to get new shoes. Also, I can always find an excuse for new shoes. But these are not my typical shoes. Usually, when I go shoe shopping, I end up with heels or flats, at least one pair in a bright pattern or color. This time I ended up with these:
on purpose. I wanted sandals that I could walk/bike in, for quite a long way, through the gravel without having sore feet. I grew up in those velcro-strapped sporty sandals – Teva-type but Teva’s were too expensive – and I was looking for the grown-up version of those. Turns out they’re kind of hard to find, especially in October. So I spent several hours going to every shoe store I could find in Tucson and ended up back at DSW (where I started). I hope they will be practical and comfortable and still be appropriate to wear out. We’ll see.
So, for the real story, we thought that we might take our bikes out together over the weekend, but I wasn’t really up for the stress quite yet. We took our trusty feet out for a walk – we got pizza, walked to the park, and had a lovely little picnic. There were tons of people at the park – kids were playing on the playground, people were out walking their dogs and kids, a soccer game was in full swing. We ate our pizza, then lay down on our picnic blanket for a while and enjoyed being outside and in the company of other people. It was a fun Friday night.