Yesterday was voting day in this household. I deposited my and Maggie's ballots in the Thurston County secure ballot box at fire department headquarters. That location is close by so I walked over. The morning was wet, on the verge of rain but hadn't quite made that decision. Walking reminded me of times when people always walked to the polls. It's not exactly the same experience if I'm walking to a ballot drop box but I feel at least a bit of civic continuity.
After casting the ballots I walked a few blocks north and east. The steady dripping led me to think I'd not find a window in the weekend rain for a bike ride. The extra blocks kept me out long enough for weather to become definite rain. By the time I made it home, my parka and shoes were wet but I warmed and dried quickly.
The rain ended but the air and sky were still wet, with plenty more precipitation in the forecast. But it wasn't actually raining so the idea came to mind of a short bike ride to see what I could get out of the day. The worst that would happen would be that I might get wet and be cold for a short while, an acceptable risk. I planned a loop that offered several bailout options in case of a downpour.
I headed west and south to the Capitol and looped through the campus which offers a dramatic view overlooking Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet to the north. On a clear day the Olympic Mountains are the far horizon. Today, though, the horizon is all cloud. A few raindrops fall as I head south on Capitol Way, across I-5 and into the neighborhoods along Carlyon Drive toward Olympia High School.
By the time I reach my last bailout, rain is falling. Not a hard, drenching rain but steady. Faced with the choice of a) cutting my ride short and riding the remaining miles on a busy street or b) maybe wet by the time I get home but riding a few more miles on neighborhood streets and the Chehalis Western Trail, I choose the latter.
Riding on a day like this is a pleasure for the eyes. The low, subdued light adds a brilliance to the fall colors. Reds and yellows are surprisingly bright. Maybe it's the contrast to gray skies. Colors this year seem more muted to me but in today's light, the colors are striking. Fall is well advanced in Olympia these days. A few trees are already bare, others beginning to show open branches but many haven't dropped leaves yet. The big drop will come in the next few weeks.
The Chehalis Western Trail is particularly pretty in this low light. I always feel like I am riding through a forest tunnel in many places which are notably dark on a day like this. I see more runners than cyclists today. Maybe that's because it is raining. By the time I reach home, though, the weather is back to just wet rather than actual rain. I'm a bit damp but not soaked. My gear held up well today.
This is the second weekend of heavy rain that I pulled off a ride. Last weekend, I found a 90 minute window of not only dry weather but clearing skies with sunlight between some of the heaviest showers I've seen here. I got a bit wet at the end of that ride, too, but it was worth it.
Labels: bicycles, elections, olympia