UPDATED August 16, 2010
There is nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds and actions of a fierce thunderstorm. At first you're groggy and confused. Then as you realize what is happening and why the side of your tents seems to be collapsing inward you begin the slow, internal process of deciding what to do. The water puddling under your tent is a bt disconcerting but you trust you tents waterproof floor, or do you?
Obviously you should get up and stake your tent out better but that means getting wet and you're so comfortable in your nice warm, dry sleeping bag. How long can the storm last really? My solution was to put my feet into two corners of my tent and my arms into the other two in order to reinforce the walls against the battering wind. It's quite difficult to sleep in this 'upside down turtle' position but at them time it seemed better than getting wet.
Next you being to hear, through the storm, the excited conversation of other riders whose tents have obviously flooded or who have done an even poorer job of staking out their fly than you have. Now a second debate begins. Do you get out of your tent and help them? This also involves getting wet but these are your friends after all and wouldn't you really appreciate help if your tent was flooding? I decided to play the wait and see game. I waited a few minutes to see if someone else would get up before I could. I was in luck. I heard Ross shouting over the rain, asking if everyone was OK, if anyone needed help. Everyone seemed to have everything under control and 30 minutes later the storm passed.
The last two nights in Slovenia have brought unexpected storms. Two nights ago a storm even flooded the entire camping area, leaving 2" of water standing on the ground (and in some peoples tents). This put a bit of a damper on the mood of the group the last few days. But today, all that changed.
Last night was dry and restful. Todays ride was sunny and short. We rode through some beautiful hills and nice little villages (I'm getting addicted to ice coffee from all these cafe stops). The highlight of the day for me was riding through the fields of hops that are grown in this region. I've never seen how hops are grown (they grow on vines that hang from high wires suspended 15 feet off the ground) but I love the smell of hops and the tall fields of vines offered some nice shade along the road. As I write this no one is hiding in their tent or solemnly trying to dry out their clothes as they have in the past couple of days. Everyone is at a big table at the campsites bar, laughing and joking and of course having a few drinks. What a difference a day can make on a tour with the TdA.