The view from McCain Loop.
The view from McCain Loop.

Luci and I ventured out to Gilbert Ray Campground west of Tucson for another S24O last weekend.

We decided to try Gilbert Ray because I wanted a longer ride than the 10 miles to Catalina State Park.

I also wanted to take the Xtracycle instead of the CETMA to see how it would perform.

The Xtracycle with the added Old Man Mountain rack can haul all the gear I did with the CETMA. I prefer having Luci up front, but the lighter weight and 27 gears on the Xtracycle were very nice.

I think in the future we’ll stick to Catalina State Park because the ride to Gilbert Ray wasn’t pleasant. The ride was long and there were several miles at the end of the ride, which were without a shoulder. Drivers gave us lots of room, but it was still uncomfortable.

Check out our route below.

I also didn’t love the campground. It is geared toward RVs and the spots for tents weren’t all that nice.

campingphoto 3


10 thoughts on “Photos: Family bike camping”
  1. I can remember when campgrounds were geared for tents. And campers were an oddity.
    Trailers? Even more so. RVs? Not invented yet. That’s when my family really enjoyed camping. Once it became synonymous with RV-ing, we found other things to do.

  2. Sorry you didn’t have a good time. I like Gilbert Ray because of it’s location in the Sonoran environment, but I would never ride that road (or Gates Pass for that matter). No room, blind corners, impatient speeding drivers. I almost got in a head-on collision on Gates Pass last Sunday when an idiot driver veered into my lane to pass a cyclist, instead of waiting for a safe moment. Catalina SP is a nicer place. I’m not sure how you feel about riding the I-10 frontage but you may try Picacho Peak next time. Also, consider camping out in the open desert without going to a campground.

  3. @MarthaRetallick I remember those days. I actually own a small RV which I use as a mobile office while traveling.  I don’t consider that camping.
    I’ve spent my life camping and it’s a very important activity. You can camp without going to an official campground, and you can make it as simple or complicated as you like. And we’re fortunate in the West to have many choices between established, comfy campgrounds or wild camping away from people and amenities. I just got back from a two-day water caching trip in the Gran Desierto de Altar in Sonora where I slept on a pad on the ground — no tent, no tarp — with nobody around for miles. I’ve also camped in a big tent with a queen-sized inflatable mattress next 50,000 people at Burning Man. One thing I haven’t done yet, is bike touring. Coming soon.

  4. mike, i agree w/ everything you said about the roads out there and the campground.  i’d like to see a paved bike path thru starr pass and another one paralelling kinney rd.  the campground needs some work too.

  5. @3wheeler She did. She ended up having a pretty runny nose, which made the night a little tough, but she had a blast.

  6. @3wheeler I was OK on Ajo, it wasn’t pleasant, but I felt safe enough, but Kinney was miserable.

  7. I have intended to spend some time looking for places that we could go that aren’t campgrounds, but haven’t done it yet. I did enjoy being farther away from the city and traffic out at Gilbert Ray, it just wasn’t worth the white-knuckle ride.  It’s amazing how much concerning it is when you have a kid on the back. I generally don’t mind it when it’s just me, but adding Luci to the mix made it a lot more concerning.

  8. Thanks for the post! I’m doing a Cat SP overnighter in April to test some gear and a new bike. Maybe grab more folks and make it a group outing?

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