In San Jose: Typhoon! - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

December 3, 2019

In San Jose: Typhoon!

Holger came through! For all of you who’ve been apprehensive about me posing in my birthday suit the other day, you can relax now. I may be an old man, but not a dirty old man.
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Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekA big relief to all, I’m sure. A friend took pains to clarify what birthday suit meant, in case I didn’t know.
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9 months ago

Sometime in the middle of the night the storm arrived, bringing strong winds, flashes of lightning, and deep, rumbling thunder echoing off the surrounding hills.  Sleep remained fitful for most of the rest of the night.

As it had been already.  When we returned from our hike yesterday we left our rucksack on the bed, and the water from its water bottle leaked out and soaked the middle of the mattress.  Fortunately it is a large mattress and there was room for us each to find dry land crammed up against the edges.  Not the best way to spend the night.


We harbor no hopes for getting out to see any of the surroundings today.  Our goal is to stay as dry and warm as possible while completing the essential tasks of the day: getting fed, and relocating ourselves to our new hotel.  We had booked only two nights in the place we’re staying now, and when we realized we needed an additional night here we decided we’d rather stay in a place that is actually open and serviced rather than spend another night in the cramped room we have here.

Plus, it will be nice having a dry mattress again.

The first order of business this morning is breakfast.  We look for a slack period in the weather and make the short dash to Andrea Cafe, just a block down on the opposite side of the street.  Two cafe con leches and two pastries each later we stepp out the door and face a deluge, with a small river running down the middle of the street.  After watching it in amazement for a few minutes we plan our route back to our hotel: walk down the street a half block to a high spot in the pavement where we can cross the street and keep our feet dry; and then double back on the other side.

Which works as planned until we come to the intersection on the other side with its own tributary cascading down into the trunk stream.  we follow this side street uphill far enough that we can more or less get across dry, but beyond that we come across worse conditions still.  With the rain picking up even harder, we backtrack to the awning of the cafe to have another think.

We’re trying to get across the street to our hotel, and went up this side street far enough uphill so we can cross it. It doesn’t work though, as we get dead ended at a lake and have to backtrack and huddle under the awning of the cafe.
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Back at the awning, the rain just keeps building strength.  The river in the middle of the street is pretty much flowing curb to curb by now, and is lapping close to the top of our curb.  There’s no indication that it’s going to stop soon and even under an awning in these strong winds we’re getting wetter and colder by the minute.  We finally decide we’re just going to have to make a break for it and take turns running across the street back to the hotel, through water high enough that it covers the tops of our shoes.  

We and everything we’re wearing are absolutely soaked when we pile into our room.  We strip everything off, hang it up to drip dry, turn up the heat, and huddle under the covers on our wet mattress.

Wet enough now, and getting worse by the second. Soon the street will be a curb-to-curb river.
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Looks bad now. The worst is yet to come.
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So that was breakfast.

We spend the next few hours under the covers, plotting out our next move.  We have several considerations to factor in:

  • Checkout from our current hotel is at noon; although since no one else is here and the weather is so grim we don’t know what the actual checkout requirement might be.
  • Check in to the next hotel is not until two.  We are unable to contact them to ask for an earlier time, possibly because their systems are down from the intermittent power failures the storm is apparently triggering.
  • We need to have lunch sometime.
  • We don’t know whether to wear our wet or dry clothes in moving.  It depends on whether we can just move straight from this hotel over to that one, or whether we need to hang out somewhere for two hours or more.  We don’t want to sit around in wet clothes, but we don’t want to risk getting everything wet either.

Finally noon comes around, the storm rages on unabated, we still haven’t contacted the next hotel, and we feel like we need to make a move.  We decide to watch for a break in the weather and make a dash for the Octopus, the fine restaurant we had lunch at yesterday.  It’s only two blocks away, and about halfway between the two hotels.  As promising a haven as we can expect.

We’re lucky.  An actual break in the weather comes and lasts barely five minutes.  We dash our immediately and make it to the Octopus more or less dry, carefully navigating a path mostly on sidewalks and keeping our feet high as we bike through streams.  The Octopus makes room for our bikes under a nearly covered area, and we hang out there for an extended lunch for almost two hours.

The Octopus has stood us well through two meals here. Even more importantly, it’s only two flooded blocks from our room and they have a covered area for our bikes.
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It’s pouring again, so we’re in no hurry. A good day to linger over the meal, share a cheesecake for dessert, order an espresso, and accept a complimentary aperitif.
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Finally, at about two, we hear from our next hotel.  Yes, they’re there waiting for us; and their systems have been down or else we could have arrived sooner.  Back on the bikes, we weave between rushing channels again and arrive reasonably dry.   They’re waiting for us, usher our bikes quickly into their garage, help us with our soggy baggage, and send us to our room to dry out for the rest of the afternoon.

Hostel Puerto Genoves is a fine place, highly recommended.  We’re really sorry we hadn’t booked here in the first place, but perhaps it hadn’t been available over the weekend.  A spacious room, with plenty of spots to hang up our soggy shoes, socks, pants and coats!  Hot water!  Heat!  An electric kettle and tea!  WiFi!  Heaven.

By early evening, the storm has passed on.  We’re ready to step out for tapas, and are looking forward to a dry day on the bikes tomorrow.

After two days in our closed, serviceless hotel, we’ve moved on. This place is wonderful - spacious, good heating, hot tea in the room, and plenty of spots to hang out our drenched shoes and clothing.
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Jacquie GaudetThe video really showed the storm! I hope everything dried overnight!
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9 months ago
Scott AndersonActually almost everything did dry out, except our walkers. The sun is back though, and a few hours on top of the rear rack should do the trick.
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9 months ago
Jen GrumbyWhew! That was quite a storm and I'm so glad you weren't out riding in that super soaker.

It was quite enough to make the mad dash across the street-turned-river .. and so cool that you have it on video!
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9 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThere was never a question in our minds. It was bad enough just biking a few blocks to the hotel. We were watching the evening news later over dinner, and it was all about the weather, with scenes of flooded streets and snow in the mountains.
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9 months ago