Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ghostriders Come Marching Rawhide

Four sometimes reliable weather prediction sources--my electronic weather gadget, my sore knee, a popular online weather site, and my wife--all said it was going to rain today. The weather gadget is not often right, and weather forecasting in Arizona is like a fireman playing craps with dice loaded by the house: boredom, punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror, and he can't win. But they don't pay pretty faces to stand in front of a camera to say, "There's an unpredictable and unstable Pacific low pressure system heading in the general direction of the West Coast, but there are too few data points to tell if it is going to fizzle or cause hail and haboobs. Your guess is as good as mine. Back to you, Dick." Since I bicycled to work today, I had to select gear going out the door that would be appropriate for the ride home. It didn't help me stay on task that the mental song of the day started out as Ghost Riders in the Sky, but lacking full lyrics and tune, morphed into When Johnnie Comes Marching Home, but lacking full lyrics and tune for that, too, morphed into Rawhide. So I stood their staring at the weather gadget, rationalizing that whatever the tune for Ghost Riders really is, the lyrics basically fit Johnnie. This slightly blurred photo captures the scene accurately.

I've been burned (and by "burned," I mean almost killed on the top of Humphreys Peak by hypothermia with my corpse pummeled by malted milk ball sized hail as it was fried by lightning bolts) by not taking the right gear for an outdoor activity enough times that "take the gear" has become a mantra for me. The question this morning as I stared bleary-eyed at the gadget with a loud mashup of a a Johnny Cash song, a Civil War song, and the Blues Brothers rendition of a country-western tune playing in my brain was, which gear? Remembering the Humphreys Peak fiasco, and how I averted a repeat the next time I hiked up there by taking a waterproof parka and pants, and had a great time in a driving winter storm, I almost took the waterproof parka. But the weather droid is usually wrong, the online graphics said only "30% chance," and I rarely heed the weather predictions of the love of my life, so I left the parka and grabbed the lightweight cycling shell. That decision appeared woefully inadequate when the storms came through mid-afternoon, with dust and blowing winds, along with rain, and I feared the minivan bail-out phone call was imminent. But as the afternoon wore on, the storms finished. As I went outside, I saw two things that made me believe everything would be OK, if a bit mud-spattered. It turned out that yesterday's song was one day early. The only thing missing was a unicorn running up and handing me some dark chocolate. Next time, I listen to the knee. Get up. Go ride.

Santa Claus, After the Rains


Rainbow. No ghostriders evident.



  1. onespeed. I put together a nice little website that gives you the weather forecast for any trail. Only thing is, the weather web services are a bit slower than the rest of the page. trail 100 just click this and give it some time. If you see 7 day forecast, everything is working.

    If it's not all working, may get just the 5 day forecast.

  2. I got the forecast. That site has a lot of good information and some good stories, too. :)

  3. Thanks, it's still being tested out (by me). You have a test account on it. I'll give you the password if you want it and email me.

  4. I checked your profile, I don't think your email is displayed FraSiec. Which makes perfect sense since no one wants to get spammed. If you describe where I should look to get your email I will send you mine. Mine isn't classified, but if yours is already out there, point me at it and I'll send you mine.


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