I haven't ridden my bike 50 miles in the past fourteen days.
The thought came to me as I stared out the kitchen window into the back yard of Christian & Mel's house. I took a sip of my strong morning coffee and was reminded of a grey winter morning in Seattle as I watched the heavy fog settle in among the tall pine trees obscuring the views of Tahoe Mountain just a few miles north.
The murk outside however is not the nipping sweet vapor soup remenisent of my northwest home, but rather a tepid gauze of suspended carbon and particulate debris; smoke. Being the impeccable planners that we are, Jenny and I managed to time our arrival at one of the best summer destinations on earth with the onset of one the largest forest fires in the history of California. The prevailing southwest wind and a huge ridge of high pressure over the middle of the United States puts Tahoe Valley in ground zero of the smoke plume that stretches for over a thousand miles north into Canada.
Our original planned route south along the crest of the Sierra into Yosemite National Park would take us directly into the heart of the murk. Ever since giving up my 12- pack a day habit, I've had a little aversion to inhaling large quantities of smoke and neither Jen or I feel to enthusiastic about the prospect of huffing smog for the next 150 miles.
Options exist to the east as well, but offer the similar prospect of air quality for a least two long days of riding. As much fun as rollin through the Nevada desert in a hazy gray murk sounds, I think we are going to stay put a little longer, keep a close eye on the wind and make our move when we can see the blue of the sky once more.