Tucson to Palm Springs in 7.5 days. Has anyone done any biking in this area of Southern Arizona or Southern Cal? I've been playing around with deciding on the best route to take, but maybe some bikers here could help. By the way, I'm flying out of LA, but have 0.0 desire to bike the stretch from Palm Springs to LA, so I'll finish in Palm Springs and take a bus the rest of the way.
1) I'd like to spend my trip in as many nature protected areas as possible: national parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges. I'd be happy if I could hit most or all of these: Saguaro NP, Buenos Aires NWR, Organ Pipe NM, Salton Sea NWR, Kofa NWR, Joshua Tree NP. Ideally, I'd like to hit both Buenos Aires NWR and Organ Pipe NM, but I'm slightly concerned about the close proximity to the border. Is this a real danger or cause for concern in that area for a solo biker?
2) Avoiding interstates or major state highways would be ideal, but this would be road biking, so I want to keep it to paved roads. Is there any way to find out which roads are paved in a particular area. Google maps is pretty good becuase it allows you to zoom in and get a close-up photograph of the main roads in the area you are looking at. When you zoom in to a minor road and it tells you "no data", is it safe to assume that this is a dirt road or trail? I'd really like to bike through Kofa NWR but I see only minor roads through there with no data, so it seems there are no paved roads?
3) ~600-650 miles total is my hope. This amounts to 80-85 miles per day, which is what I would like to do.
Separate issue: this will be done on a folding bike (most likely Pacific Reach SL). I know it packs up to 58'', so checking it on an airplane shouldn't be an issue, but I have to figure out how to pack it. This is a point to point trip, so I don't want to be lugging a heavy suitcase that I packed my bike in. What do you think would be the most logical manner to transport the bike? I was hoping to do the disposable cardboard box method, so that I wouldn't have to worry about lugging a suitcase on the tour. However, doesn't this raise red flags to the airline that a bike is inside, and thus, most likely result in the separate bicycle fee? Also, a possibilty of getting damaged? Same problem with a durable travel carry bag? I guess I could just use a suitcase, and then once I arrive in Tucson ship the suitcase ahead to LA. This makes it necesary to arrive during post office hours or find some establishment I could ship it to (hotel?).