Desert rains

Day 36: Lake Perris to Banning Stagecoach KOA

I really wanted to entitle this post “The gift of desert rains”. I’m trying to reframe this cold, wet day in positive tones. I’m really trying.

Left Lake Perris in the wee hours, hoping to beat the wet. Not a chance. Cold drizzle all morning, opening into full rain in the afternoon. In the desert. A land desperate for water. A gift, for certain.

I was pouting. And freezing. Didn’t wear the full gear, for some reason, as if I didn’t put on the pants it somehow wouldn’t rain as much. Rode 20 miles into Beaumont, up a nice valley road which followed a train right of way, very gradual grade. I ducked into a Starbucks to get tea and warm up, but staying in wet clothing kept me chilled. But what was the use of changing, just to get more clothing wet? Looked online for motels, but not wanting to waste my money on a cheap room, I opted for the KOA in Banning. Weather promised to break about 11pm, with a sunny day tomorrow.

I got lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Banning, where the owner told me how he was able to buy a prototype Shimano bicycle in the 70’s. Both he and another local thought I was crazy. A couple folks blamed me for bringing the rain from Oregon. Then I was off to the library, warm and dry. Read a comic novel by the author of Maus about 9/11, the sky is falling. Indeed.

Then to an Irish bar, a couple pints and the best cobb salad, just like they bragged. I got some strokes for riding 1400 miles there. But again, the ride really isn’t that big a deal. Just get on the bike each day, pedal until the day is up. In my college days I used to build it up more, think the long distance touring made me cool. But now, “It’s just what I do”, as I told the bartender.

I rolled on over to the KOA, and am now writing from a warm laundry room. If I time my laundry and shower right, I can go out and set up the tent when the rain is stopping, and have a dry night. That is, if the rain breaks, as NOAA predicts.

What is the gift of the desert rains? Humidity rises, so my throat isn’t parched and scratchy. Dry washes become rushing creeks. Eucalyptus and other aromatic plants explode with amazing aromas when freshly rained upon. As if they are suddenly aware they are alive. As if to say, come hither.

Rain makes the desert new. I can only imagine the spring rains, bringing forth the desert bloom.

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