Overnight bike trip when rain is certain

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The weatherman said there was a 90 percent chance of rain, but I wanted to take this overnight bike trip up John Wayne Pioneer Trail this week anyway.

When I first heard the forecast, I was ready to bail out. I had planned this trip two weeks ago when the weather was hot and sunny.  I visualized riding up there in my shirtsleeves and enjoying a cool mountain night laying out on a picnic table, looking at stars.

A bike trip under gloomy skies with a high probability of rain wasn't what I had in mind. I soon realized this might be my last chance to take a long ride up into the Cascades this summer. Anyway, how often do things go the way we visualize them?

I packed in a hurry, but only forgot the insect repellant. Of course, I probably took too much stuff but I didn't want to be caught wanting something in the rain.


The promised rain barely materialized on the ride over. Starting in Bellevue, I pedaled over to Issaquah, up the Issaquah-Preston Trail, then down toward Fall City on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail. Climbing past Snoqualmie Falls, I eventually reached the Snoqualmie Trail and followed that to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail up by Rattlesnake Lake.

The 44-mile trip from Bellevue to Alice Creek campsite took nearly six hours (much quicker on the way home), but I only caught about 10 minutes of rain. What was I worried about?

Later, tucked away in the tent, the deluge hit. Most of my camping gear dates back to before my 1984 cross-country trip, and that includes my tent. I'm always amazed at how that tent continues to keep me dry.

It occurred to me in the tent that I hadn't covered by bike saddle; fortunately it dried out before I set off the next morning.

So did I get a warm, shirtsleeve bike ride up the John Wayne Pioneer Trail? No. And I didn't sit out and gaze at the stars. But I did enjoy the sight of wispy vapors racing up the mountainsides and billowy clouds obscuring the familiar peaks. And the recent rains seem to have rejuvenated a whole new crop of blackberries.

(A earlier version of this was filed from a cellphone at the campsite. The photo was horrible; I won't try that again with this phone!)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2009/08/13/overnight-bike-trip-when-rain-is-certain/

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