A few mornings ago I hastily packed for a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip. While schlepping necessities from the house to the car I noticed the wind: Softly gusting at first, then briskly increasing in humidity as well as intensity. Pellets of driven graupel stung my cheek as I closed the tailgate and climbed in.
This late in the year a storm usually means the end of the 'riding season', as any precip that falls is frozen, and the low sun can't get at the northern exposures to melt it away. At best the trails get buried, allowing (mostly) foot and (limited) bike traffic to pack them in to a semblance of their summer flavor. At worst these trails become sodden goopy messes incapable of any sort of travel. Although many of us do pedal right through the winter, we end up cruising mostly road, on black ice and packed snow, which lacks a lot when it comes to scratching my preferred itches. Technical? It certainly can be, but not really in a tickle-your-funny-bone sort of way. Winter riding, here, is usually more about time spent spinning solo, thinkering on projects both professional and personal.
I drove down to Greg's and plucked him from his apartment. As we motored west to meet Skippy the sky opened and fat, wet flakes splattered the road and the windshield. Inside I felt the heaviness of an oaken door closing down our season, but there was cause for levity as well: We were headed south, to southern Arizona, to squeeze in a last fling with dirt.
We danced with the impending storm all the way through Utah, flitting between 'hyperspace' snow and merely heavy overcast.
A brief geek-out interlude was included in the price of admission.
All's quiet at the 'red' turquoise booth.
On the ascent into Flagstaff the road went to hell as the sky came down upon it.
Or so I'm told. Comfortably ensconced in the back seat of Skippy's Chevy Carnivore made the storm seem distant and entertaining--like watching it all happen on a big-screen TV. Greg and I snapped pics and swapped yuks while Skippy white knuckled and strained to see. Occasionally Greg or I would offer him a cookie to keep critical systems functioning.
Despite the road conditions and closures, we made it down to warmer (NOT drier) environs before crashing out for the night.
On tap: 5 days of Arizona chunk.