I've had a difficult, kind of stressful last month. I had a tumultuous beginning of the schoolyear andthen a couple of weeks in my Grandmother, who I was very close to, had a stroke and passed away. Adding in two teenagers with active schedules who don't drive, and I was feeling tired and overwhelmed and exhausted. My best friend's husband works on an oil rig and has been out most of the spring and summer, so they couldn't do a summer vacation, and took it up last week. My sweet friend offered to take my daughter down with them for the week and then asked if I would go, too. I couldn't get a whole week off, but I took 1/2 a day Friday and all day Monday. The ride down was long - about 430 miles from the time I left my front door at 6:30 Friday morning until 10:30 when I pulled up in Panama City. All total, the trip ended up being almost exactly 1000 miles.
The pictures tell the story of the trip, but not the ride home. It was AWFUL weather when I left Panama City. It was raining buckets and storming for the first few hours, and somewhere between Dothan and Eufaula Alabama the rain sort of let up and I untucked from behind the windshield and stretched my back a little. It was still raining, but was at least bearable. The clouds were all swirly, gray and white and black - really pretty. Then I noticed something I've never seen before. I've seen tornadoes a few times, but this was a column of clouds just coming down out of the sky. I no sooner noticed it than the rain SLAMMED in and the wind picked up to unbelievable levels. It started with the wind picking up my bike off the suspension. I leaned hard into it, but it still pushed it all the way across the slow lane, then across the fast lane, and left me wiht one of my front wheels in the median. It went on to the scariest 45 minutes of my life. There was about an 18 inch median, NOWHERE to pull off, and just constant wind and rain. The water was deep enough to be splashing in a constant sheet up on my running boards. The cars were pulled off in the grass and I just kept going forward, I couldn't think of what else to do. I thought parking a bike right off the side of the road might not work out so well, and there was nothing. The air had that horrible burnt metal smell that goes with lightening strikes, visibility was something between five an six feet. I did okay, I didn't think I was even that scared - then I pulled off at the first gas station I had a sort of girlie meltdown. My legs went out from under me and I was shaking and sort of quietly crying sitting beside a gas pump. When I let go of my handlebars the water that was pooled in my elbow armour cascaded down my arm and out of my rain gear, and I called my friend's hubby and asked him to talk nice to me for a minute and then I got back on the bike and went on home. FYI, the bike handled it beautifully - except for apparently the electronics were not meant to be submerged for long periods. They were funky all the way home. The blinker kept going off randomly and the tilt lock wouldn't work. By the time I got home six hours later it was way better.
The trip was a blast and I learned a lot about how I ride and how I handle a bike. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm getting better!