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Old 05-08-16, 05:50 PM
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Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area

Yesterday I rode to Rio Salado. It is along the Salt River just a couple of miles south of downtown Phoenix. I rode east on Campbell to 15th Ave. At 15th Ave I turned south.

15th Ave has one of the better bike lanes around here. At the intersections they have drawn the bike lane in the right turn lane on the left side. It is like that all the way from Van Buren to Dunlap, about 8 mi north and south.

I turned off of 15th Ave at Grand Ave to go SW to 7th Ave & Van Buren. Downtown Phoenix starts here. At least in my mind. A couple of blocks over I stopped to take a shot of the "New Windsor Hotel".

[IMG]New Windsor Hotel by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

It's one of the historic buildings in downtown Phoenix. I went east on Adams to 1st Ave, then turned south. There was a huge event going on along Washington. Some of the signs said "Cinco de Mayo". But yesterday was the 7th.

Shortly after you cross the tracks 1st Ave merges with Central Ave. In a little less than a mile you come to I17. Keep going. About a quarter mile south you will see the entrance to Rio Salado on the left (east) side.

There are several entrances and parking areas along the park. At this one there is a nice pond. There were turtles sunning on a log in the pond. There is also a restroom here which I used.

The area has both paved and unpaved trails. Yesterday I stuck to the paved trails mostly. From the pond I went east, then took the first trail to the south. It quickly turns west and you cross under Central Ave. Just west of Central Ave is one of the sources of water for the park. I suspect it is effluent from downtown and the area just north of here. Maybe I'm wrong. But here is a shot.

[IMG]Water entering Rio Salado by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

Continuing west you climb a little until another paved trail merges. Keep going west. Enjoy the view to your immediate left. There are a lot of birds and other wildlife in the woods in the river bed.

Just before you get to the 7th Ave rest area the trail splits. Take the left fork to go under 7th Ave. Keep going west. To your left is the river bed. Sometimes it has water down there sometimes not. Yesterday it had water. To your right is an industrial and recycling area. Just before you get to the 15th Ave overlook you cross a small bridge. Shortly after the trail turns into a gravel road. My mountain bike handled it OK. The park ends at 19th Ave. So here I turn around.

[IMG]19th Ave Entrance by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

Going back east I stop to take pix of a Saguaro in bloom. Usually the blooms are so high up I can't get my camera closer than 20-30ft from the flowers. This time I actually put my camera in macro mode!

[IMG]Saguaro Flower by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Saguaro Bloom by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

That's downtown Phoenix in the lower left. Nearing the 15th Ave overlook I see a sign near what I thought was some debris. Turns out the "debris" is habitat for burrowing owls. Haven't seen a burrowing owl in a long time. I don't get too close 'cause I don't want to scare them.

[IMG]Bridge near 15th Ave Overlook by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

From here I backtracked to where I came in at Central by the pond. Turned north on Central which has a nice bike lane and started for home. Approaching downtown traffic got heavy.

[IMG]Central Ave under the RR by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

As a matter of fact after riding under the bridge the bike lane dissappears and I took to the sidewalks which were not quite as crowded. I went slow. Nevertheless it only took me a few minutes to work thru downtown to 3rd Ave & Van Buren. I followed 3rd Ave north to Indian School Rd where I made a detour to get a chocolate milk. Then back on 3rd Ave north to the Grand Canal.

[IMG]3rd Ave & Grand Canal by res1due, on Flickr[/IMG]

From here it is and easy ride home. Some other time I will go back and take pix of more of Rio Salado. I am always fascinated by the variety of wildlife here. I've even seen beaver in one of the ponds.

The ride was 19.5 mi and 89 min.
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