Isolated Thunderstorm

Friday July 26


Well, it looks like I spoke too soon and got caught in a rain storm. Not the one that was blowing through Indianapolis but a small one to the north. It came out of nowhere. I thought I had escaped the grasp of the one in Indianapolis. The way was clear. So, being hungry I decided to pull off the freeway at the next available spot.

  I did and immediately began to look around for a suitable eating establishment. I felt a cold breeze that just didn't seem to belong. When I turned around I saw the dark clouds. Very dark clouds loomed over the horizon like an evil blanket. I'd seen severe storm clouds like these spawn tornadoes in Texas. I quickly turned my bike back towards the freeway to head north. The storm seemed to be just to the west and the north edge wasn't very far away.

I got back on the freeway and exceeded the speed limit a bit to try to put some distance between myself and the storm. I noticed myself pulling away from the dark center of the storm. Some of the smaller, straggler clouds were churning in several different directions. I was watching them very closely to make sure that there were not going to funnel. Suddenly I could feel a pull on the bike as if somebody took the handlebars and tried to drag me off of the highway. The wind had picked up dramatically and was blowing in several different directions. Suddenly I noticed that the clouds I had been running from were coming up on the left, faster than I was able to keep up with them. It appeared that they had changed direction and were now on an intercept course that would overlap with mine. I increased the throttle again to pick up even more speed. I was reaching speeds over 80 miles per hour. For a moment I thought that I was making some headway until I felt a huge gust come across the freeway. It startled me. I had never felt wind that strong on my bike. Leaning into the force I could tell that my ability to control the bike might be compromised. If the wind had stopped abruptly I would surely drop the bike. But it didn't, it grew even more. Some gusts so strong that  thought I might break traction from the ground. Rain started blasting down and then across proving to me that the storm was more than I was prepared for. I was trying to find some kind of shelter from the elements when, in the distance, I could make out an overpass. Just before I made it to the overpass it happened. An even stronger gust whipped across the road. Taking the rain to an almost perfect horizontal path I leaned into the blast even more and felt the front tire slip out. I held on and tried my best to correct this possible catastrophe. Along with the front in an almost follow-the-leader fashion I felt the back tire do the same and slide to the right. I was about a fraction of a second from losing it all together. Quickly glancing to my rear and sides I could tell that I was all alone on that stretch of freeway so I quickly let off the throttle and turned into the wind and across into the left lane just in time to maintain my balance and friction to the pavement. Just seconds later I had reached the safety of the overpass where I cut back across and up against the railing.

Being directly under the bridge didn't work as the wind was blowing the rain across. I had to park the bike just to the leading edge of the bridge to a small dry spot. I got off the bike and dropped the kick stand but couldn't let go because the wind was trying to blow it over. I had to turn the bike around and face it into the wind, while leaning and bracing a portion of it against the concrete posts of the bridge. I took some of the more valuable and sensitive items from my gear and took them up the concrete bank and up under the structure further. Trucks were blasting by like giant roaring beasts, bringing with them an entourage of wind and water. 

I had to move myself and my gear up further under the bridge and leave the bike to weather the harsh beating.

Eventually the rain subsided. I remained under the bridge for quite a while longer, waiting for  some of the water to dry off of the pavement. With all the trucks rushing down the road I surely would have gotten wet from the residual water as the trucks would pick it back up and sling it into the air.

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