All of last week Jeny and I alternately debated weekend plans and checked weather websites. The normal summer pattern of afternoon thunderstorms has settled in, which is ideal if you're among the parched flora that blanket this state. Not so good if you're a sentient bike rider looking to ride up high without getting electrocuted.
As we neared the weekend very few options remained in play, and we began considering staying low and paddling in what little moving water remains.
Then a hail-mary email came in from Jeff and Tim, inviting us to join them on an overnighter near Salida.
Even though the forecast there looked every bit as bad as elsewhere, somehow the fact that it was someone else's trip, with plans already firm, made it seem like a better idea than not.
The storms started early on the first day, catching us out a long ways from shelter the first time. We all got soaked through despite good rain gear, prompting an impromptu stop under the eaves of the next trailhead loo we came to.
And while we did get some good weather for riding over our two days out, wave after wave of storms washed over us, necessitating a lot of stopping and waiting at low points when they presented themselves.
All that rain made for hero dirt, a condition no one seemed to mind.
We camped strategically on day one so that we could top our high point early on day two--theoretically before the storms began and closed the door on that option.
Mere moments after the group topped out on Tomichi Pass the thrumbles began to our west, and would hound us increasingly through the day.
Much of the second day's route was in thick enough trees that shelter of a sort was always at arms reach. Still, we ended up having to shortcut our route substantially because of all the downtime spent waiting for charged clouds to roll on by.
We used that downtime wisely--by sharing scoobysnacks, catching up on each others lives, and, of course, talking smack.
In the end the weekend turned out nowhere near any plan any of us had envisioned.
Despite that, we had a great time and would go again at the drop of a hat.
To Tim, Roz, Heather, and Jeff--thanks for having us.
And thanks to you for checkin' in.