So, we actually went looking for the wet stuff this weekend. We needed to see if our idea of ‘waterproof’ matched the manufacturers’ idea of ‘waterproof’ on the new boots, coats, bags, etc. Our route followed the Saturday ride from a few weekends ago, ending in Rufus at the campground and ‘grassy knoll’ we discovered last time around.
Looking at sunny skies on Sunday morning, I let Mike talk me into wearing our old riding pants instead of the new ones. After Idaho last year, I knew they weren’t waterproof – but a few sprinkles never hurt anyone, right?
Well, after a few sprinkles over Ochoco Pass, we rode into Service Creek in a gen-u-ine honest-to-goodness downpour. My jeans were soaked under the non-waterproof riding pants, but thanks to that heated liner, I was toasty warm and comfy. My new boots? Absolutely and completely dry. Mike’s new boots? Absolutely and completely soaked. Both are expensive insulated waterproof boots – looking at them you’d think Mike’s had a much better chance and repelling the wet stuff, but for some reason mine worked and his didn’t.
After a good lunch at Service Creek, we kept on thru the rain – mostly just sprinkles, but some big showers. I really enjoyed it because I was warm – but my worn-out front tire wasn’t real confidence inspiring in the few really flooded sections. I’ll be happy to get those new tires on!
After stopping near Olex, and checking the skies, Mike decided to run 19 down to Condon, then back up 206 to Wasco to hopefully avoid a massive storm cloud that looked like it was between us and the Columbia River. He must have guessed right, because by the time we hit Wasco, the rain was gone for good.
Riding through the wind farm, we saw a crane holding a blade assembly – we stopped to watch as the crew effortlessly attached the beamouth blades to the tower. It was an incredibly impressive sight.
To get an idea of how big these things are, check out the two guys standing on top of the tower.
Riding into town, Mike rode right past our friends’ Lorrin & Sue’s house, I pulled up next to him at the stop sign and asked why he hadn’t stopped, and he said “I would, but I don’t remember where they live”. Okay, this is the ‘man in brown’, Mister UPS — and he’s in a town with FOUR streets. He just rode right past their house! By the time I led him back a few blocks, the whole fam-damily was out in the front yard waiting for us, shaking their heads. Gotta hassle Mike, he’s normally the address guru!
After spending awhile bugging the Lissman’s, we were back on the road. We’d decided if it was raining, we were going to motel it. We’re not planning on camping in the rain anyway, so seeing if the tent leaked would just be a moot point. Of course, if we end up ’emergency camping’ in a downpour in Alaska – I’ll regret saying that! This time though it didn’t matter, because by the time we got to Rufus, it was apparent it hadn’t rained there, and wasn’t planning to anytime soon, so we got settled in and went to dinner.
The next morning, Sue and Lorrin showed up to ride with us to Madras, and took us on some great backroads on the way there.
A little ways outside of Wasco, we stopped by the side of a road, and Sue pointed to the mailbox of our buddy Tom – so she got out the cell phone and gave him a ring to see if he’d like to join us
By the time we rode down the driveway, Tom was walking out of the house, gear and helmet in hand, and ready to ride! Heck, I wouldn’t have even had my shoes on and gotten to the door by then.
I’d love to show you a map of the exact route we took home, but all I know is that we were on some very cool back roads that ended up at Sherars Bridge, had a great lunch at Wamic
before heading to Madras, where Lorrin, Sue and Tom split off for home.
It was a great weekend, and we’ve only added about 15 more things to our list of stuff to bring on the ‘big trip’!