Kathy and I decided at the drop of a hat late Saturday morning to shoot over to Fruita for a bit of desert riding, and to introduce her to the riding that is there. She had been hearing about it for years, and mostly about 18 Road. I had seen some dodgy reports about weather, but we both had complicated work weeks and just felt like a mini road trip. So we went.
Finding a spot to camp up on 18 Road on a Saturday late afternoon was a challenge, but we got one. We ate dinner than went for a ride. We lost the light after half an hour (darkness at 7:15!). I got her a riding lamp this late summer, but forgot to bring them. That's the kind of thing that happens when you decide to go then hurriedly get ready and leave after one hour of prep. Would have been a perfect evening for a night ride. Harrumph!
It rained on and off all night, and at dawn the sky looked gnarly and a wet wind was blowing. During a break between rain squalls, we suited up and rolled. Kessler run to the trailhead, up Prime Cut, across Frontside, down West Zippity, back to trailhead, back up Kessler. We rode for ~3 hours, then it started to sprinkle (and the wind had become fierce) as we ate lunch and loaded up.
Pano shot from top of Prime Cut, foreboding weather seen over CO National Monument in background
My plan was to camp us out at Rabbit Valley for the 2nd night, then ride the Mack Ridge trails Monday before heading home. We got back to Fruita, went to the CO Welcome Center (where you find some of the nicest people in Colorado) and looked at low gray clouds apparently hammering rain all over the western horizon. Rumor had it that Monday was going to dawn clear, but we had visions of a night spent listening to the wind making the camper's superstructure creak and groan. We decided to scrub the mission and bolt back to Salida being that we had time to get home before nightfall, expecting to drive in iffy weather (weather!).
We did not regret the trip, it was some good together time and we did get to break the routine. And we got in a really decent ride at 18 Road. But I really wanted her to see more of Fruita. And it would have been nice to be able to ride in shorts and short sleeves. Isn't that what you're supposed to do in Fruita in early October?!
Now all week it's been unsettled. Yes, I got in a killer singlespeed Cottonwood ride with Scot on Wednesday. Yes, I did an hour in cold wind yesterday afternoon (it's been all about the Dambala lately).
But where the hell is our nice autumn weather?! The Crest got locked down in the last 10 days of on and off high country snow. CDOT actually plowed highway 50 over the pass one of those days! Will the damned weather stabilize for just a little while so that we can get at least a few more tastes of classic fall riding, so necessary for preparing my sanity to endure winter? Or will it be one desert trip after another?
I prefer to be like Pan during this time of year, dancing about in the woods and celebrating the season. But so far Pan has been kicked in the junk this fall. Damned weather! Harrumph!