Yesterday the wind picked up, but it was still warm and dry here with temperatures in the upper 70s. Donna went out for a short run. I didn’t do much. I didn’t sleep well the night before. I read for a while and took a nap after lunch.
The weather forecast is calling for a 40% chance of rain this afternoon, 100% tonight and Saturday. Since the Jeep we borrowed from Mike Hall is a fair weather vehicle with a canvas top and no side curtains, I decided to return it to his shop for shelter. I drove to Mesa, filled the gas tank and met Mike at Lucky Lou’s for a beer. Then I drove over to his place and retrieved the scooter. I anticipated an interesting ride in the gusty wind, but by the time I was heading back the wind had turned into a steady breeze.
When I got home, Donna had a rack of lamb on the counter, ready to grill. While I grilled the lamb, she prepared vanilla whipped sweet potatoes and garlic steamed spinach. She served the lamb over steamed spinach with the sweet potatoes on the side.
This morning I’ll secure the grill and our outdoor chairs in the trailer. If the weather guessers have it right, the rain later today and tomorrow will be interesting. If we have a thunderstorm with a sudden downpour, the arroyos will flood.
Back in the 1970s, I hitchhiked cross-country from San Diego to Longmont, Colorado. Along the way, in Gila Bend, Arizona, a geology professor from the University of Arizona in Tucson, stopped to pick me up. He was returning from a field trip with a couple of students. As we drove along, he pointed out the dark clouds and lightning to the north. It was raining heavily in the Maricopa Mountains. A little while later he said, “We’re about to witness a rare sight.” He pulled over to the shoulder where a dry creek ran under the freeway.
He told us to watch the dry creek bed. I expected to see a small stream of water that would slowly fill the creek. This isn’t what happened. After a few minutes, I heard the sound of water approaching. It was a violent crashing sound, almost like surf hitting the shore. Then I saw a wall of water, about two feet high and 15 feet across come rushing down the arroyo. Rocks and sticks were tumbling as they were pushed along. The wall of water ran under the freeway and the creek quickly stabilized into a muddy stream.
I was really surprised at the swiftness and violence of it. The professor simply stated, “That’s why you never set up camp in a dry creek bed.” We got back into his Toyota Land Cruiser and continued on to Tucson.
When the rain arrives here later today, I doubt if we’ll witness anything that dramatic. We’re on high ground, but the road at the park entrance is much lower. There could be some flash flooding of the park road and McDowell Mountain Road below. If the rain continues tomorrow as expected, the dips in the road will surely be flooded.
Sunday is supposed to be dry. The ground here usually drains and dries quickly. The creeks that form in the arroyos will have drained into the Verde River and become dry creek beds again. But where the road dips across the arroyos, sand and debris may be left behind. This could be tough to deal with on the bike portion of the duathlon Donna is competing in on Sunday. The bike course runs along McDowell Mountain Road through these dips.
Today, I’ll batten down the hatches. Donna and I will probably take a hike before it rains. Later, I might brave the elements and take the scooter down to the road and watch for flooding.