Yume Japanese garden, vegan eats, and cool conversation

1/20/22

What a great day!

I started out from my wonderful new Warmshowers hosts’ house on the west side of Tucson. I biked first to the Yume Japanese Gardens, over near the botanical gardens I had visited the other day. Yume was was smaller than most Japanese gardens I’ve visited, and naturally less lush, given the desert climate here. But I liked the way they described it on the laminated sheet the employee handed me to carry through the garden as a guide: this is a smaller-scale garden, more like a personal, household garden in the old Kyoto style. Walking through it from that perspective, it seemed more spacious, and even lavish.

Since it was smaller, I walked through more slowly than I otherwise might have, and took most of the opportunities offered to sit and survey the various scenes from the benches placed throughout. My last stop was the koi pond, and I really felt the calming effect of watching the fish and hearing the burbling of the water. For most of my time in the garden, I was the only guest, so I was able to appreciate the solitude and restfulness of the space.

After the garden, I checked out a well-loved local vegetarian restaurant, Tumerico. I ordered the vegan tamales, with “all powers” (i.e, the rest of the items on the plate—I loved the whimsy of describing them thus.) The food was delicious, and I also availed myself of their all-vegan dessert case—yum!

Then I pedaled over to a nearby vegan-friendly coffee shop, Black Crown, where I met up with a cool guy, Tom, whom I had met at the home of a Warmshowers couple early on in my journey, back in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I recalled that Tom had been an entertaining dinner guest with an encyclopedic mind full of all kinds of interesting information and hilarious bon mots, so when I got here I remembered that he had been visiting Oregon from Tucson, and looked him up. He treated me to a delicious oat-milk iced chai latte, and we had a great conversation spanning many topics. (He also has a blog, if you’re curious: https://turn-stone.com/)

After that, the sun was beginning to dip in the sky, so I made my way back west to my hosts’ place, where Lucia (whose older son had made an epic bike trip from Portland to LA years ago, which spurred her interest in hosting Warmshowers guests) made me some delicious sautéed vegetables and ancient grains.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to cycling more of “The Loop,” the incredible 100-mile bike path surrounding the city of Tucson. I experienced maybe a half-mile of it today, but I want to do much more tomorrow.

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