Exploring the valley of gold

June 13, 2016

  It’s easy to notice the natural charms that frame Oro Valley—the towering, rocky majesty of Pusch Ridge to the east impresses me first; the lush green swath cut through the desert by the Cañada del Oro wash impresses me next. Over a weekend, the rest of the town blows me away. Hiking, golfing and cycling top the column of physical activities in this Sonoran …

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A day in Ambos Nogales

June 9, 2016

The phrase Ambos Nogales, which refers to “both Nogales,” captures the idea of looking past the fence and seeing one community—one city that happens to span two countries, rather than twin cities of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora. An hour south of Tucson on Interstate 19, Nogales, Arizona, is a mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures and the seat of Santa Cruz County, …

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In Tucson, Mt. Lemmon Is the Go-To for Outdoor Adventures

June 7, 2016

It’s called Babad Do’ag in Tohono O’odham native language and often referred to as part of the Sky Islands, but whatever the name, Mount Lemmon and its surroundings are a paradise of outdoor adventures. In summer, winter, spring and fall, the mountain hosts hikers, backpackers, skiers, cyclists and nature enthusiasts looking for mountain air and gorgeous vistas. Towering over the northeast edge of Tucson, Mount …

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A day in Tubac

February 1, 2016

Art and history are intertwined in this colorful and rich village along the banks of the Santa Cruz River.   In an idyllic natural setting just 45 minutes south of Tucson by car, this bustling, if small, artists’ colony was the state’s original colonial garrison, the Spanish crown’s sole outpost in the region for more than 20 years before the Tucson presidio was built. Today, …

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Piazzale Michelangelo

February 11, 2015

For my solo day in Florence, I hiked straight to the city’s best observation point. Across the river, through the winding streets and up, up the hill, the Piazzale Michelangelo is magnificent. On a sunny day in February, the city shone, a hint of snowcaps in the distance and what I’m sure were greatly reduced crowds staring out into the stiff winds. Like Monmartre in Paris, or Alamo …

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Morning in Florence

February 7, 2015

I’m the furthest thing from a morning person, but I was awake before the sun rose. It’s our first morning in Florence, unfolding with the only real calm since I got to Italy. The 5,000 or so miles from Tucson doesn’t exactly go by in a rush, but that long travel day is certainly a hurdle. The stats of that Feb. 4-5 mega-day: 36 hours awake, …

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So Good, It’s Crimin’ Ale

November 1, 2014

BETWEEN THE COLORADO RIVER and downtown Yuma is the old Territorial Prison, its hilltop guard tower overlooking both the restored wetlands and a reinvigorated main drag. Less than a mile drive from that famous Wild West landmark is the Prison Hill Brewing Company, which when it opened in August became the only craft brewery for 165 miles in any direction. The partners behind the gastropub and …

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Yucca Valley – Lightning HQ

July 15, 2014

It’s just after 11 a.m. on what will soon be a 104-degree day in the Mohave Desert, the bouldered, sun-baked hills outside Yucca Valley are nearly shimmering. I just finished an hour-long conversation with the founders of a record label that proclaims “we believe in the transcendent power of rock ‘n’ roll.” And, despite my flip-flops and shorts, I’m riding a dirt bike for the …

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A Rad Reunion

September 27, 2011

I pedaled leisurely rather than furiously, making no quick turns, hopping over no jutting tree roots, never trying to weave in and out of the other riders. But there I was, on the Helltrack qualifying course, riding BMX with the likes of Eddie Fiola, Martin Aparijo, Kevin Hull and Everett and Beatle Rosecrans. Twenty-five years after the movie that changed BMX forever, I was celebrating …

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