Friday, October 7, 2011

Weather, It will Happen

The clouds are marinating over the horizon, immanent snow threatens the higher elevations.  Thunder whispers the possibility of precipitation in the distance.  The sun attempts to peak through the heavy blanket, with no success, leaving Bass Lake and the surrounding areas, including a tiny bicycle and trailer, in a large shadow.  It is almost silent, except for the symphony of different lake birds, and a construction truck, every now and then.  The stillness is almost palpable.  There is no wind today.  Every acorn and pine needle stay in place, and the trees stand, statuesque and strong with their evergreen presence.
View of the clouds when leaving Bass Lake
We have been running from the weather, going up and down in elevation, and back up again, hoping to escape the aforementioned forecast of snow above 7000 ft.  If we head far enough south, we may even escape the storm altogether, but I don't think my legs have it in me.  My rain coat is on, and my rain pants are within arms reach, for the anticipation of what is sure to come.
Neva eating a warm breakfast on one of the colder days
I don't mind weather so much.  It is fun to coast over miles of different terrain to see the golden grasses cover the land like a cozy afgan, and to climb up to almost 10,000 feet and see the land change into a forest of evergreens, so thick, you can barely see 3 feet through them, and the surrounding mountains linger in the background like slate colored top hats speckled with bits of green and white.
View from the top - the view coming down from Tioga Pass, roughly 10,000 ft in elevation
We stopped in at Slim's Koffee Shop in North Fork for a midday rest.  Scott, the owner, stood proudly in front of his delicious line up of teas, all chosen with meticulous care, and kept in large mason jars on a special shelf.  The locals who frequent Slim's came in the door one by one, and Scott would welcome them in by name with a big smile, and ready to whip up another delectable drink. 
Scott making some green tea
 I heard a 'ding' among the hustle and bustle of a popular small town coffee shop.  Our green tea had been steeped to perfection, and was brought to our table, along with a small piece of pistachio biscotti for a flavor accompaniment.  I sat and sipped my tea, taking in the ambiance.  With local art lining the red walls, the thick smell of warm coffees and teas wafting through the air, and the song "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes playing softly in the background, I almost didn't want to leave.  Neither did Neva, as she had befriended a local 3 year old with a glittery gold top and blonde hair.  We had to get going though, back to the crisp air that was so thick with moisture, you could almost pluck out a cloud like cotton candy and chew on it. 
Neva pondering life...or just digesting for a minute, either way, it won't last long
 In the evening, we stayed in the town of Auberry.  Taken in by a lovely church, the Auberry Seventh-day Adventist Church.  There were warm smiles, story exchange, and Neva's favorite, a full playground in back.  We ended up staying at a little hotel above a coffee shop just a few miles from the church.
I awoke in the middle of the night, and walked passed the window to hear the soothing sound of rain, pattering loudly over the entire landscape.  The rain continued to come in a steady stream, with no signs of slowing.  In the morning, we biked back to the church, decked out in rain gear, amidst the pouring rain.  Quick, cool breaths accompanied each pedal stroke, and a smile was frozen in place as my gloves and shoes slowly gathered water.
View from my room in Auberry - the rain had stopped temporarily
We spent the first part of the day with the children, talking about our adventure, and decided to take the day off to spend (sleep) in the lovely little town of Auberry.  I will talk about the hospitality we found in Auberry another day.
We continued our journey the following day, and the rain decided to follow us yet again, along with a visit from multiple flat tires.  The continued stopping gave me quite a chill, and we stopped for the night with a generous couple, Dave and Cheri who let us sleep in their motor home.
Dave, Neva, and Mini
Maybe we will be able to ride tomorrow, and we will see what weather we will be graced with then.  Soon, we will be climbing into the Sequoias, a 5000 ft climb in elevation from where we are now.  Shorts or pants, rain gear or sun screen?  We shall see.

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