So how ’bout that snow?

Well, the rarest of winter things has happened here in Portland-snow. Besides last year (when we had 2+ weeks of it) we only see one or two snowfalls a season. It’s generally pretty minor stuff–a dusting to a couple of inches, and usually gone in a day. And yesterday’s snowfall was pretty much “standard”, 2 to 4 inches, now mostly melted. What was most unusual, however, was how it caught the area off guard.

April spotted the first flakes from the windows of the Kitten Shack around 2pm. Funny, I thought, there was NOTHING in the weather forecast about this. I went and checked the “official” weather report from the National Weather Service. It was just calling for rain, though the “Special Weather Statement” detailed that the first stuff we “might” see would be either snow or freezing rain, no accumulation, that would quickly turn to rain (as that’s what happened further south in the Willamette Valley). What the forecasters got wrong was that the colder air in the Portland area wasn’t going anywhere. So a few flurries turned to a harder snow. And not sticking turned into sticking quite a bit, thank you very much.

Now I’ll admit I am genuinely excited when it snows in Portland. I’m from a snowy climate (Connecticut), and I’ve been away from it long enough that I miss the white stuff from time to time. And since we only get a few snowfalls a year in town it doesn’t (usually) stick around long enough for me to get annoyed by it. So I like to go out and enjoy it when it happens. AndI put studded tires on Long Haul Trucker a few weeks ago when it was PREDICTED to snow, but never got around to taking them off, so I had a bike ready for the weather. The problem was I wasn’t in a particularly great mood to take advantage of the situation-I just started to show the first signs of a cold and I had “shit I needed to do”.

The denizens of the Kitten Shack sat inside, watching the snow, and wondering what to do. Will Carye Bye’s “Neon Nights” ride go on like planned? (Answer: No.) How will April get home? Around 5pm she decided to take the bus home, so we walked our bicycles down to NE Dekum and Durham so she could board a #75 bus towards SE. The snow was a few inches deep, cars crawling along the major roads, kids playing in the street. April caught the bus, and I decided to ride up to Alberta St to get a burrito and pick up some groceries from the Alberta Co-Op.

The ride was fun! The studs on front/crosstire on back combo worked pretty well, just as it had during last year’s Snowpocalypse. The tires tended to like the fresh snow better than ruts, so I sought that out as much as possible. My braking power was compromised, partially due to the weather, partially due to my front wheel (I swapped wheels and the one with the studded tire already on it was a bit narrower than what was already on). I rode through the fresh snow in Alberta Park, lots of fun there. I would’ve rode around more if it wasn’t for the cold coming on.

Anyway, I hope there’s at least one more decent snow day in Portland this season, preferably before February. And I hope to be able to enjoy that. After that, I don’t wanna see that snow anywhere but on the tops of distant mountains!

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