Megan Hottman, Mt Lemmon Ride and Dry Shampoo

In a nutshell, Lemmon lived up to its hype …

By Megan Hottman, via her blog

That is the sweetest climb ever… one I will definitely come do again and one I recommend for every cyclist who loves to climb in the sunshine…. The gradient is gentle enough you can push the pedals and never have to stand due to steepness- the pavement is good, the bike lane/shoulder is pretty consistently present and wide-ish, and though there is steady car traffic, there are so many cyclists out that drivers seem to have an awareness and are more cautious driving around us (that’s how it felt but who knows?!). 

This article is a nice follow up article from her post last week:


I parked a couple miles up from the bottom selecting my campsite for the night early into the ride. Then I rode up towards the top and once the temps stopped feeling warm and I started to see more snow and smaller shoulders, I decided to flip around.

Not really sure what the “top” of Lemmon technically is (ski resort? ?‍♀️), but since my goal was to ? % have fun, when it gets colder than I want to descend in warmth, I get to flip it.
So I rode back to the van, relocated it to my campsite, then descended all the way to the bottom where I spotted a cute coffee shop. I decided to “fuel up” on some delicacies- ie a croissant and a pastry with some black coffee, and then began the climb back up.


“Powered by pastries” should be a thing- I felt awesome. ?? ?


The camp spot I chose featured spots well-distanced from one another and gorgeous views of the canyons and surrounding foothills-mountains. The AZT cuts right through here so after today’s ride, Ramsey and I hiked part of the AZT. Positively. Lovely. 


Even better …


No cell signal here.
That’s right. That is still an actual thing. So this blog post was originally composed in my notes app and I did a considerable amount of journaling, making lists, and reading, from when our hike ended until it got dark. 

Honestly that’s some seriously glorious peace time. SPACIOUSNESS. It’s not often anymore we go places where we don’t have at least a HINT of a signal. But here – nope. And tonight I’m thankful for that. Ramsey and I are hanging at our camp spot in the near sunset hours, just chilling. I am so thankful I thought to bring my journal, and my Oak journal, and a book along for this trip. 

If one were to write a book, this would be the place and the way to do it … coffee – morning run or ride — and then hunker down over an internet-less laptop and tap dance on the keyboard. $20/day till it’s done 😉 Hmmmm ? 

When’s the last time you had four hours of absolute nothing from your last activity until bedtime ? I can tell you it’s been a minute for me. No tv. No laptop. Phone in use only for notes app. It is a forced pause and I’m super grateful for it. I see what all the hype about camping has been all these years when I was simply “too busy” to hear it. Grateful this van found me and that we’ve been able to do this now for a couple months. (Sheesh seriously the van only just turned two months old to me yesterday!).  
Ramsey is a huge fan of vanlife- and I can safely say it wouldn’t be nearly as fun if she weren’t along. I’m glad to have her as my copilot.


In other news since I’m dry camping out here — aka no showers or running water at this site — it presented the perfect opportunity to try dry shampoo for the first time ever. You have to understand I’m the girl who washes her hair at least once a day with bike rides, helmet hair, sweaty runs, bike commutes, etc. So this concept of using a powder to “wash” my hair has been one on my radar but not one I’ve been in a hurry to adopt.


Until now. Everything has its place, am I right ? Amazon Link for Acure Dry Shampoo

So removing my hat from our sweaty hike post sweaty bike ride, I gave it a whirl. Sprinkle in, comb through…. I’ll say that yes it made my head feel better- drier & it smelled good 😉 I’ll call that a win. Oh and …be sure you don’t do this INSIDE your van 😉 White powder = everywhere. Glad I did this outside !


All told, this trip cost me roughly one tank of gas, $20 cash for my first night at El Pais and $20 tonight for my campsite. Oh and $9 for coffee & pastries … So we’ll call it $80.

Now I fully realize there’s a large upfront cost to the van purchase, sales tax, licensing and insurance. I realize it’s a depreciating asset. But when I think about whether I would’ve come to Tucson in this covid-climate to do these rides and stay in hotels I think I can confidently say no I wouldn’t have. I also wouldn’t have wanted to drop $80-150/night on hotel rooms. And that assumes they’d let me bring Ramsey which is a deal breaker. The van allows us to be totally contained and self-sufficient. No unloading, etc. 

So far the van has been a Huge HELL YES for me — far more than I honestly expected. 

Here’s the quote that’s on my mind today:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

— Mary Anne Radmacher 


Yes… I’m such a die-hard Bulletproof Coffee drinker that when it’s van-trip time, I pack the Instamix packets to stir into my morning coffee. It’s the best and easiest way to start my day Bulletproof without the mess.

Want to try some Bulletproof Coffee Here you go: Amazon Link

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  1. Adam Asnes

    I also take semi-annual trips to Tucson in March, usually around the Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage race. It cancelled last year as the promoter couldn’t get anyone to take it over, but there’s a new group that wants to run it again next year. It’s three days of good racing, then a rest day relaxing and working at the Mercado (western Tucson shops and pastries all in one place, with wifi in the courtyard). Then a week of training including the Lemmon climb, Saguaro park rides and the like – plus rebuilding tan lines. That coffee shop at the bottom of the climb is Le Buzz and there are ordinarily several group rides that meet there. I’m looking to return next year, but I’ll use an airbnb. Enjoy!

  2. Len DeMoss

    Is your van the Ford Transit? Kind of thinking myself of buying a van for bike travel to events.


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