Well, the good news is that our crappy summer finally developed into full-blown perfection for last week's Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. The bad news is that SabreWife and I took off yesterday for a quickie run over the North Cascades Highway for an overnight on the dry side. We had both worked long shifts all weekend at the hospital, looking longingly out the windows and thinking about the lovely outing we had planned. Yeah, well, WTF? Monday morning we awoke to bucketing rain and lashing winds. It wasn't the usual PNW drizzle that you can't really see...the usual stuff that just makes you throw on a cap (or occasionally the GoreTex parka) and call it good for a walk to the coffee shop. No, this was the kind that wakes you from sleep and you ask yourself, "what in the HELL is that roaring sound?" So, being the good spouse that I am, I packed SabreWife's mesh gear cuz I knew she'd need it, and we donned the 'stich and rode off into the slop. Did I mention that it was pouring rain and lashing wind? I commute year round and don't really care if it's wet or not, but being blown all over the road is kind of a pain in the ass, and I was worried that my delicate flower would want to turn around and go home. As we wound our way up, up, up into the Cascades I kept hoping that we'd break out of the clouds. The sky teased us a few times and it did slack up a bit, but the rain kept on and the winds howled all the way to the summit, where we sat in it for 15 minutes waiting for a pilot car to lead us through the usual summer road work. How lovely, fresh oil, fresh gravel, first rain in God knows how long, new tires on the ST. Lovely. Winthrop was hot and muggy, with heavy, threatening dark clouds but a dry breeze coming up the valley. A good place to rest a bit and treat ourselves to high-calorie sweet things. The Twisp River Pub was a good place to fill our bellies, then it was on down the valley toward Wenatchee. By now the sun was getting low, and the threat of deer made Sabre rather uptight. We only saw one, a nice spike trying to cross the road. Other than a mink that tried to commit suicide under the ST's wheels, that was the only terrestrial wildlife we'd see for the entire ride. Happily, it dawned warm and cloudless this morning in the Apple City, and, also happily, the traffic heading west on Highway 2 wasn't too bad. Once past Leavenworth we hardly saw any cars at all until Sultan, having almost the entire westbound, twisting road to ourselves. That really is a fine ride, fast and smooth. We suffered through the clog on highways 2 and 9 between Monroe and Arlington (ick), bypassing some of the worst of it by detouring a bit east on 92, then stuffed ourselves at the Big Lake Bar and Grill before finishing another one of our favorite fun roads, Highway 9 from Arlington to Sedro Woolley. We were sure glad to find the west side warm and sunny, a complete transformation from yesterday's tempest. Nice to get away now and again. The best part? SabreWife, rather than wimping out or fussing about riding in a storm, keeps exclaiming how much fun she had and how much she looks forward to the next ride. She said, "next time, let's plan for a week...and can we camp instead of staying in a motel?" She's a keeper.