Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Storm Clouds That You Didn't See Coming, Day 3

50 miles south of Lander, WY on SH28.
One nice thing about Wyoming is that you can spot a rain storm a hundred miles away. The lightning strikes and the black clouds in the distance give you time to react and adjust.

I was still about 50 miles south of Lander, WY on State Highway 28 in the middle of grassy hills and nothing else, when I realized that storm system was moving fast. I was going a leisurely 70mph and it seemed doubtful I could make town before it hit.

So I reacted by cranking up the throttle to 90mph to make it to Lander and find shelter. It's a good thing Wyoming State Troopers don't patrol these highways; at least I hadn't seen a cop yet.

But I'm too late on the throttle. Winds start blowing, the temperature drops from 85 degrees F to 55 in a matter of minutes. The rain hits. Gusts of wind blows my bike across the road. It's getting too difficult to control. I slow the bike down to 65mph and prepare myself to get soaked.

But luck comes my way, and I see a sign announcing a rest stop ahead. And I'm even more lucky, it has covered picnic tables with coverings large enough to keep me dry. I stop here and wait out the storm.

And the storm gets worse. The winds blow more fierce, hail comes down. I can see the rain falling almost horizontally. How lucky was I that I found this shelter?

Rest stop along SH28, about 30 miles south of Lander, WY

Once the rain subsided, I managed to ride on to Lander, and then found plenty of sunshine to last me into Casper, WY.

I suppose in our relationships you don't always have the luxury of seeing a storm coming your way. You think you're basking in sunshine. You think everything is good.

And then the storm hits you by surprise, like a ton of bricks.

And then you wonder what the heck happened, why you didn't see it coming.

And then you think about your priorities, what means most to you, what's too precious to give up, and what you can save for later.

And then you assess what to do next.

Shelter from the storm
Why I love to take these adventures on the road has to do with a desire to be in touch with myself. To feel the real me apart from all outside influences. On the one hand, it's like running away, and on the other it's like learning something new about myself. And as it turned out, I learned something new again.

So from here, I've made the choice to cut this trip short and head back home. I need to take care of something important. Doing a two-three week ride is something I'll always be able to do another time. But what I stand to lose back home is something I just don't want to lose.

More than likely I'll be overnighting somewhere in Utah tonight, and then back home tomorrow.


  1. Good for you to be able to understand what it takes to clear your head & prioritize things. I pretty much do the same thing & came up with your same treatment 2 weeks ago (also in Wyoming, but heading south near Cody). I was heading home already but the clarity that can come always surprises me & never confuses me. Good luck & take care

  2. Wow, the first picture shows exactly why I love the west so much, the endless roads, glad you were able to escape the storm. Can't wait to read the next post.

  3. Clearly you'd never been over South Pass on WYO 28 if you thought you'd out run a storm coming off the Wind River Mountains and make it to Lander by cranking it to 90. You're lucky you made it to the South Pass Rest Area to wait it out.
    Good thing too because there's no way you could ride 90 mph over the pass. But I guess you found that out.
    Plenty of twisties in the mountains of Wyoming if that's what you like to ride. C'mon back up and stay off the Interstates. That's how you find the best roads up here. When in doubt, inquire locally. We don't bite. One rule of thumb for a good ride up here: Ride our Scenic Byways. C'mon back, we'll show you around!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)