September 25, 2005

         The remnants from Hurricane Rita were intruding on my plans for Sunday so I decided to sit tight in the motel and ride out the thunderstorms and tornado watches that were predicted for the area.

        It was a waste of a day and I spent the afternoon watching the dark clouds crowd the sky and then empty their contents on the ground.

        It was like being a hostage in a way. I only had the motorcycle, so I couldn’t ride anywhere and my motel had a limited amount of places around me.

        I tried watching football, but it was difficult because the local stations kept cutting into the broadcast to bring updates on the weather. When they didn’t completely take over the picture, they had a split screen and both were so small you couldn’t tell what was going on with either.

        The room was becoming a cage and I was starting to act accordingly. I paced around the room, fiddling with the coffee maker, though I don’t drink coffee. I tried out the blow dryer, though I don’t use one. I still wanted to hear what it sounded like when I turned it on.

        I was willing to try anything to relieve the boredom. I walked around the building because it was covered, though I probably would have done it, even if it wasn’t.

        It wasn’t like it was a cold rain. The temperature was in the high 80s, so it was just a matter of how much water you could stand hitting you.

        The debate was on. I sat on the edge of the bed and contemplated how wet I was willing to get. It’s just water I thought and my clothes would dry eventually. The wind though was howling and that was another consideration. The danger factor increased because of the water. Plus I didn’t know where I was going to go, I just wanted to go somewhere.

        I was thinking about the movies, but didn’t know where the closest theater was. I asked at the front desk – one of the many trips I made there to bother the desk clerk about something I probably could have figured out myself – and she told me it was about five miles away.

        Five miles doesn’t seem like a lot, but on a motorcycle in the rain it is more like 50 miles. The rain hits your face and the sting stays with you. Water is splashing up from the street on your pants and cars that pass you bring more water on you.

        I got stuck in a thunderstorm in Wyoming last year and it was a very unenjoyable experience. I was on an open road, there were no underpasses for cover and the storm looked like it wasn’t going anywhere soon, so I decided to try and ride to the end of it.

        It was 30 miles of chaos and fear that I will never do again. I had raingear on; pants, jacket, gloves with a little rubber wiper on the forefinger to wipe the water off the visor of my helmet.

        That mattered little. The rain was coming so fast and hard at times it was tough to see. I was driving slow and as semi trucks passed they sprayed me with water, blinding me for a couple of seconds before I could get the water cleared off my visor.

        The bike wobbled in the rain and traction was becoming a serious problem. The next town was 10 miles away and I toughed it out until then hoping I wouldn’t crash or get killed.

        When I got to the town they had a Harley dealership and I was able to store the bike inside until the storm passed. I sat soaked in that store for an hour until it finally stopped.

        That was in the back of my mind as I was deciding if I would go out and ride somewhere. I figured I would watch the split screen football game. Tomorrow I could start fresh and more importantly, dry and safe.