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After a wonderful couple of days in Sun City with Larry & Trudy, I had to move on. I wasn’t going to be making it too far, just from north-west Phoenix to the downtown area where Blaise & Cary, my next warmshowers hosts live. Larry & Trudy do a ride every Saturday with some friends and when they heard where I needed to go, they arranged for their ride to go that way so we could ride together. I was happy to hear it as they are simply wonderful people and it would give me people to ride with which is always fun.

Larry’s nephew was flying in and needed picking up from the airport around 1pm. Unfortunately, it would have been a bit too tight for them to ride, have breakfast and then ride back to their house so they came up with an alternate plan. Larry would ride to The Good Egg, our breakfast destination, with me and some friends, while Trudy would drive and take her bike. After breakfast, Larry would drive back. That way they would each get a 25 mile ride in and get to have breakfast with me and their friends at the restaurant. Trudy offered to carry my bags for me which would mean I could keep up with Larry & co on their road bikes and put less stress on my still slightly tender ankle.

Just before 8am, Larry & I rode out to a nearby petrol station where we met 3 of his friends – Gene, Dave & Bob. I introduced myself and we set off on the ride. Dave was our leader and seemed to know the streets like the back of his hand. Even though she wasn’t there, Trudy had put in the request that they take me along the canal system and I was glad that they did. It reminded me of a mini version of the paths down the Han River in Seoul. Although it was still kinda early, the paths were bustling with walkers, runners and cyclists in a way that I’ve only seen very rarely during my time in the US. When large residential areas often have people’s gardens going all the way to the road meaning a lack of pavement it’s not really conducive to people who don’t drive. Go running there and there isn’t a choice but to run on roads, a little intimidating for the new runner/walker.

Bob was feeling a little under the weather and so had to turn back, I’d got to talk to him briefly about the positive experiences I had had with Mormons in Utah. When he left, I got to know Gene better. He usually shaves, but with Christmas coming he is growing his beard and hair out to let him play Santa and I can definitely see why. He’s got the perfect Santa look going on. With a combination of interesting conversation, flat roads and no gear the miles to The Good Egg flew by and before I knew it we had ridden the 25 miles.

We pulled in and were immediately met by Trudy who was decked out in her cycling gear. We had breakfast, I got The Works – a six egg omelette with about 10 different things in it, which while delicious was smaller than I had imagined. After re-fueling, Trudy, Dave & Gene had to ride back to Sun City and Larry had to drive to the airport. Our goodbyes were said and it was with some sadness that I parted ways with them. They had been such warm hosts and one of the few times where when asked to stay an extra day I had been able to. That flexibility had given me a wonderful experience and I hope to repeat it in the future. I look forward to keeping in touch with them and hearing about Larry, Trudy, Mark & Peggy’s future tours, starting in June with the Grand Canyon Connector.

After leaving, I rode the short distance to my next hosts, Blaise & Cary who live in central Phoenix. Blaise is a fan of old bicycles and rides and tours on Penny Farthings. His website is Bygone Cyclist where you can learn about old bikes. After meeting him and dropping my things off, I headed over to Pizzeria Bianco to knock off an item off my list.

I had heard that Pizzeria Bianco has some of the most spectacular pizza and so has very long waits to get in. I called up and was told that 2-4pm is their quiet window so turned up just before 4 and was immediately sat at the bar as I was by myself. A bit of research had suggested that the Rosa with it’s red onion, parmesan, rosemary and pistachios was the pinnacle. That combined with it’s cheaper price meant it was what I ordered. After about 10 minutes, I got my pizza, took a bite and was wowed. It’s such a seemingly bizzare collection of ingredients, but it works phenomenally. I had no idea that onions could taste so good. I savoured every bite and then got a box for half of it. I could have finished it, but wanted to see how well it worked cold for breakfast.

Back at Blaise’ place I met his dad Cary and his partner Harriet. We went out for Mexican at a local place as Arizona is apparently famous for it. I mentioned my idea to go to Tee Pee and get the Chili Relleno. I was told that although it used to be a wonderful place, it’s fallen in the last couple of years and so combined with the reviews I read on Yelp decided to nix the plan to go there.

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