Sojourn’s Arizona bicycle tour is an excellent way to get away from it all and get into the sunshine. It is also an excellent way to get into the history of the Southwest. From prehistory all the way to the 1920s, you’ll ride through some of the region’s most intriguing past.
This bike tour begins and ends in Tucson and follows some of the oldest travel routes in this part of the world. Some of the agricultural settlements along Tucson’s Santa Cruz River date back from 1,000 BCE. And the advanced civilizations of the Hohokam date back to between 200 and 1450 CE. An ancient culture of farmers, potters, and weavers, the Hohokam built hundreds of miles of canals throughout the Tucson Basin to irrigate their agricultural fields. Many of the modern canals in the region follow the grid laid out by the Hohokam.
Of course, you’ll ride your bicycle by the ubiquitous Saguaro Cactus. These ancient sentinels of the Sonoran Desert have been growing in the region for about 8,000 years. Saguaros have a relatively long life span of up to 150-200 years. They take up to 75 years to develop a side arm…an eternity.
Fast forward to the 1690’s and you’ll get another shot of history: Tumacacori. Tumacacori National Historical Park preserves the ruins of three early Spanish colonial missions on 47 acres of southern Arizona. The oldest and best preserved of the three, San Jose de Tumacacori, was built on the site of a Pima Indian village by the Jesuit Missionary Eusebio Francisco Kinoand. It has been under administration of the National Park Service since 1916.
You’ll enjoy an exclusive stay at Rancho De La Osa, one of the last great haciendas in America. Established as a guest ranch in the 1923, Rancho De La Osa has been tastefully preserved. Its rooms are furnished in Mexican antiques, including a Mexican cannonball – reportedly fired by Pancho Villa – embedded in the stucco walls of the Hacienda dining room.
The Cantina at Rancho De La Osa, known as the “Old Adobe,” is reputed to be the oldest building in the state of Arizona. Built as a mission outpost supplying traveling Jesuit priests, the adobe building has been continuously occupied since the early 1700’s. The Cantina is now a place to relax, visit and soak it all in. You might also consider soaking it all in under the evening sky in the Rancho’s hot tub.
The history of this region is palpable in the air – even in the night sky whose stars seem impossibly close.