Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Chance Dance

Working my way through the mountains, fields and prairies. On my way from Billings, Montana to Rapid City, South Dakota. It will be just short of a 400 mile day. There is rain everywhere. Huge dark clouds are all over the horizon.
(photo: TC's HOG covered with a lot of grey crud)

I am trying to time my trip on the Interstate to avoid getting drenched. The highway curves gently to accommodate a 75 mile an hour speed limit. The highway curves often to accommodate the transition from mountains to valleys and back. I catch a few sprinkles but not quite enough to warrant full blown rain gear.

Just out of Gillette, Wyoming I spot a large thunder cloud on the horizon directly in front of me. I pull over and quickly set up... adding a fifth layer to torso and a pair of leather leather chaps. It was already a cool day, running around 50 degrees all the way so I had on lots of gear. Two t-shirts, a poly fleece with the mandatory Harley embroidery on it, my trusty Harley leather jacket adorned with amulets of all sorts and then adding a "Jen-U-Whine" Harley Davidson rain jacket. I also have heavy gloves and under my helmet, a poly fleece face mask.

As I approached the storm the highway often appeared to directly face, then veer away from the storm. With that, I was at times relieved that I might stay dry and then, with the next turn disappointed that I would run smack into it.

It was a Chance Dance with the weather.

I was reminded of a comment I once heard from a fellow member of the Sacramento Harley Owner's Group. Randy Owen was briefing us all on an upcoming 1,500 mile "Iron Butt" ride. These rides stop only for gas and essentials. Randy said, "People often ask me about the weather and I say; Yes, we will have some." It was another way of saying you want to try and prepare for anything.

I sort of lost the Dance as I hit the fringe of the storm. Caught not too much water but did catch a lot of oily residue from vehicles in front of me. It is a light gray mixture of oil and water that gets on and in everything and is a bitch to remove. Nonetheless I hit Sturgis during a sunny break in the weather and immediately headed for Sturgis Harley Davidson to get my commemorative t-shirt fix. I was one of thousands who will do the same during the next week and a half.

Shortly thereafter, I was in Rapid City sipping a Corona Light with fellow biker, long time pal and brother-in-law Butch Thomas. Butch is among the world's luckiest riders who happens to live in the middle of biker mecca.

The Chance Dance. All bikers do it. Few prevail against the weather. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend 95% of my time dry.

Thanks to the Big Harley Rider In The Sky.


Annie K said...

Hi Tom,
I enjoyed the switch into present tense with your description of the weather. Every "biker" has a weather story. I even have a few! I also like the quote: "Yes, we will have some."

TomC said...

Thanks Annie... We "had some" today in the Black Hills. Wind and rainbut we got in some good stuff, sort of.