Riding a bicycle in the rain is the quintessential Oregon experience.

Oregon is perhaps most famous for its mist-shrouded mountains in the distance. This past summer, however, it has been more often in the news for its forest fires, as the hills and mountains have often been draped in a smoky haze, partially due to smoke from the Yosemite fires of California drifting northward.

Fortunately, I was able to have a true Oregon experience while visiting my uncle near Medford: a bicycle ride in a rainstorm.

As I headed toward the hills, the sky was cloudy. Within a few miles of pedaling, the rainstorm commenced with thunder and sheet lightning. Thankfully, there were no lightning bolts in my vicinity. Many of the forest fires in Oregon this year began due cloud to ground lightning.

As I rode my bicycle up a tree-lined hill, rain steadily increased, but fortunately never became a gully washer which we are so accustomed to on the Great Plains.

As the rain continued steadily to fall, I slowly became soaked, even beneath my rain jacket, due to road spray. Unlike rainy summertime rides in Kansas though, I also became a bit chilled, as temperatures were in the mid 60s.

I listened as one last, loud peal of thunder echoed across the hills. Interestingly, the rain actually let up after this.

This Oregon rainstorm provided welcome relief for a corner of the state that has suffered through a severe drought for many weeks. Unfortunately though, the storm did spawn a few new fires, as the Medford newspaper reported the next day.

In any case though, the state, especially the drier southern and eastern areas, still need more rain, which occur more frequently once summer ends. Then, hopefully, the smoky haze, which has irritated the noses and eyes of southern Oregonians since wildfire season began, be extinguished by autumn rains.