Dodging thunderstorms

Didn’t sleep as well as I thought I would last night.  Still too much on my mind (exactly the reason for the trip).  While I didn’t sleep all that well it was still relaxing to get away.  The camp site was extremely quiet with the only other campers being an elderly couple with their very nice and friendly golden retriever.

There was no cell service so I wasn’t able to use the weather app on my phone to try to get an idea of when the rain would stop.  It had the feeling of the sort of rain that could stick around most of the day so I figured I could either pack up wet gear now, or sit around in the rain for a few hours and pack up wet gear then… might as well get moving.  The rain did let up fairly well as I was packing but there was no way the tent was going to dry out.  I do hate packing up wet gear.

Not far from the campground I was able to get a cell signal again and could check the weather.  Certainly looked like I was going to need to stay on top of it to stay safe.  I have no problem with riding in some rain but severe thunderstorms can be a different beast altogether.  I made the mistake several years ago of riding right in to one, rain came down so hard I had around 10 foot of visibility, I had no shelter (well, none that I could see with my 10 foot visibility!) so rode slowly in first gear along the shoulder of the road.  With the visibility I nearly ran into the back of a parked car.  Anyway…. that was 7 or 8 years ago and I learned the lesson then.  That was in Ohio and not far from where I was today.

A former gas station now repair shop was a nice quick shelter.

A former gas station now repair shop was a nice quick shelter.

Made very slow progress in the morning.  Took shelter at what appears to have been a gas station that is now a service shop but still had the awning over where the pumps used to be.  Once I saw a hole in the radar I saw I could jump down south a ways and get around a cell.  Then another 40 miles later I stopped in a small town at a car wash

My view of the heavy rain as I waited it out in a car wash.

My view of the heavy rain as I waited it out in a car wash.

(car washes make great shelters in these situations… you stay dry and when it is raining nobody is trying to wash their car so nobody complains).  Waited around at the car was for nearly an hour, ate some snacks and browsed facebook a bit.  Eventually I saw that if I went north about 5 miles I could get on I80 and get to the west of the storms.

Once I got around the storms it was a rather uneventful day, just had a nice ride and enjoyed the blue skies.  Stopped at Grand Lake St. Marry’s State Park in western Ohio for the night.  Not a bad campground however I usually prefer the more out of the way quiet spots.  They do have a nice shower house though which is key after 2 days of riding in warm humid weather wearing full gear.

As soon as I got here I unpacked my disgustingly wet tent and immediately got it set up.  I still had a little over 2 hours of daylight left and a nice breeze which dried it up nicely.

Weather here tomorrow looks nice… however as I head farther west I suspect I will see more.


Doug Chapman

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