The next morning looked clear, which was good because we were about to climb Kootenay Pass. It was close to 6000 ft in elevation, with a 4500 ft climb. We've climbed similar and higher passes, but everyone we told about this was dumbfounded that we'd be taking it. Like the Mountaineering Club dudes made a face when we said we were heading that way. Like we found only one bike tour blog that had taken that route, and the dude said he had to stop every half mile to catch his breath. Wellllllllll, time to get started!
Of course it started drizzling immediately, but it went away soon and the beginning of the climb wasn't anything special. Just a slow grind. I kept looking around the bend wondering when we'd reach the top of the climb, where the road gets really steep for five miles, at an 8% grade. Then, all the cars came to a stop, and we reached a flag guy. There was construction at the top of the pass, and they were leading one lane of traffic through at a time with a pilot car, and it was too dangerous for us to ride. We'd have to put our stuff in the back of the pilot truck and they'd drive us to the top. Well this climb wasn't bad at all!
When they let us out the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees, and by the time we were done with lunch it had started sprinkling again. Then raining. Then really raining. We were just speeding down this gravelly mountain road with the rain whipping into our faces, my shoes were getting soaked and it definitely wasn't getting warmer. We stopped for a break and Travis found the remnants of a hailstorm we fortunately missed.
Here's the thing though. If you ever hang out with me, you will find that I have certain propensity to find rain. Especially when I really need it too be sunny, like when I drive out of my way to go swimming or need to race down a mountain in a construction zone. I get very anxious about the weather because it seems like it is out to ruin my life. Purposefully. I recently went to a kind of spiritual talk where the guru was talking about not stressing about things you can't control. Like the weather, he said. The weather is it's own thing. It's made up of wind, pressure systems, and rising and falling temperatures. It's science. It has nothing to do with you. You want to never be upset about the weather every again? This is how you do it, he said. Whatever the weather is outside, say to yourself, "I love it!" Then you'll never be disappointed in the weather again.
I agree with this intellectually and even spiritually, but I will tell you that this mountain thunderstorm followed our asses down the highway ALL AFTERNOON. As soon as we were completely soaked, the rain stopped, and behind us there was blue sunny sky. Ahead of us was more rainstorm. We got drizzled on consistently on the way back in to Creston, where we again made camp in Jan and Zach's backyard and hung our wet clothes out to dry.