Leaving Dawson City under my own personal Rain Cloud

By Jacob

          Left Dawson City by winding our way through the wormlike remnants of the mighty dredges which had stripped away every last ounce of remaining gold and piled up the earth in wriggling piles creating a giant maze of sorts.  The Klondike clearly had devastating effects on the area which is still presently mined.

           Sean couldn’t help but get a flat tire early in the ride, leaving us to the side of the road as some folks we met in the city screamed past us in an oversized van, heading to the river for a Canoe Trip hollering unintelligible ramblings as they past.
 
           The Klondike Highway proved to be largely empty of traffic which made our route smooth and worriless.  On our way to Stewart Crossing, we encountered a fair amount of scattered showers, an atmospheric inconsistency that drives the cyclo-tourist nuts.   Having to slow the momentum of the ride to add rain layers and/or shed them over and over gnaws away at my sanity. 
  
             Fortunately, we arrived with a bit of sanctuary at a café that let us dry out and enjoy a solid meal (thanks to the kind donations, we could splurge a bit).  The owner kindly offered us a trailer to stay the night in, complete with Satellite TV, a luxury we were certainly not interested.  We were not even down to pay 12 dollars for a camping sight, and his offer of 60 dollars, was not even considered.  Although it was 9 o’ clock at night, it was still early in our day.
 
              I often find myself lagging far behind the others early in the day, enjoying a timely “warm-up� as I would say, feigning some athletic interest in the matter.  My warm-up may consist of 3 hours of slow cycling to prepare my muscles for the ride, which often puts me a good 15-20 minutes behind them, sometimes more.  I have yet to stay far enough behind to have the food ready by the time I reach our rest stop, but I do hope to see that day. 
 
              The day after passing Stewart Crossing, I enjoyed my luxurious “warm-up� so as to not “strain anything� while listening to some music on my headphones.  A large cloud seemed to hover overhead as it quickly began to saturate with darkness.  Within no time, it transformed into a murky, dingy soup that mirrored the ponds I was riding along.  Just ahead of this cloud was sunshine and blue skies, a weather phenomenon cyclists rarely complain about.
 
              I increased my pace, no longer fearing any muscular inflictions.  My imagination presented a cartoon image of little ‘ol me on my bicycle with a tiny cloud over my head, desperately trying to escape the aerial bombardment of the liquefied sky.  I knew that the moment I stepped off my bike, two things would happen.  
 
1. The rain cloud would center it’s vicious self, unavoidably, directly overhead.
2. I would put on my rain gear and be stuck in a villainous battle between rain and shine.
         I opted against allowing the puff of billowing misery to get the upper hand.   So I did what any irrational cyclist would do.  I attempted to outrun it, of course.   I was un-phased by the first sprinklings it offered, and gained hope as my heightened pace seemed to alleviate the intensity of the rain, temporarily.  In order to keep up with this, I had to maintain a pace of at least 18 miles per hour, which I quickly found myself struggling to sustain. 
   
        The rain showers increased, in reverse proportion to my speed.  The slower I went the worse it got.  All the while I was teased by the glimpse of sunshine, just beyond the cloud, that promised comfort and clarity.  It seemed so close, just another few miles.  I tormented myself with this illusion for at least an hour.   My shoes, were becoming damp, but my spirits were not.  I was sure that the very next bend would afford relief.

        As you would have probably guessed, I had quickly absorbed every water molecule possible and was treated to the squishing sound of wet shoes.  By now I wished I would have given up this stubborn non-sense and put on my rain gear, only it was a tad too late.  I had to constantly wipe off my eyes so that I could see through the drizzle and fix my sights on the glowing skies so close ahead. 
         
            Only, I was stuck in a torrential downpour at this point and was having difficulty even seeing in front of me.  I rubbed my eyes with my soggy gloves, and opened them to see a black bear about 30 yards ahead.  Two frightened animals stopped in their tracks, gave a good look at each other.  The bear moseyed off the roadm, as I attempted to grab my camera and take a picture.
    
           Why I feel compelled to take pictures in these moments, I am never really sure.  I lack any real photographic talent as well as a real camera.  But there seems to be this desire to acquire indisputable evidence of the things I see, if not for others, for my own poor memory.  And so, in the photo gallery you can see the bear, represented by the black spot on the left side of the road.  Enjoy.
   
              After this momentary pause, the rain had intensified and as I rode away I could see a steady stream of water dripping off of my nose.  I concentrated on this and the steady symphony of sounds coming from my sopping wet clothes and shoes. 
    
              Eventually, I made it to the sunshine.  I wished to offer a note of victory, claiming that my cycling abilities pulled me through this one.  I am even tempted to lie and reserve some sense of pride, only, I really don’t think anybody cares.   The cloud really just drifted to the left of me and by default left me riding under the sun, eager to dry off.
   
               The best part of the experience was arriving at the rest stop with Sean and Goat completely un-phased by the 2 hours worth of torrential downpour I got to gulp up.  They were dry as a bone and I couldn’t believe it.  I wanted them to share the misery of this experience with me.   After they had run out of wise cracks, they found some time to cook up some food and relax.  Fortunately, the good weather kept up the rest of the day and I was able to dry myself off.