Racing the rain

Thursday, 22nd July 2010; 5:00 pm - Location:

I half-woke this morning around 6:00 and remembered the forecast for today: dry in the first half, but probably raining in the second half. So I pulled out the phone and checked the weather radar. There in Minnesota was a big ugly red blotch creeping its way eastward. I woke up the rest of the way and did some calculations (difficult to do making measurements on a screen that reacts every time you touch it). The rain was a good 10 hours away from me. But it was 6… maybe 7 hours from Grand Rapids, which was where I needed to end up. It was a contest between me and the rain, to see which would get there first.

I didn’t panic, but I didn’t delay. I skipped taking a shower, but brushed my teeth. I broke camp, packed the scooter, and was on the road by 7:00. The route I planned wasn’t intended to be the shortest. Taking the shortest route tends to put you on busy roads, so I’d deliberately chosen to take a more northern route that I hoped would have less traffic. It had the added benefit of adding two more counties to the tally of those I’ve been through. I decided to stick with it.

It turned out to be a good choice, M-57 through Saginaw and Gratiot counties was in good condition, and had little traffic. I got passed every few minutes, usually without the other driver having to wait for oncoming traffic, which is pretty much the best scenario. From time to time I was the only vehicle I could see ahead or behind. There was a constant headwind (the same thing bringing the wind my way), but it only knocked my speed down by a few miles per hour.

I turned south following the Maple River, a bit I’d improvised as a scenic route, and it worked great. But somewhere between M-57 and M-21 I had my first permanent equipment loss of the trip: my water bottle. It was in the end pocket of my over-the-shoulder bag, and was secured by a velcro strap… but came out anyway. If this had happened earlier in the trip, I might have gone back for it, because I know the 5-mile-or-so stretch of road it must have happened on. But not today. It was a nice water bottle, one I’ve been through a lot of camping with, but it’s only a water bottle. And I was in a race.

It was a race I “lost”, but just barely. A mile from home, I saw the first drops of rain on my faceshield, and it continued to sprinkle as I pulled up to the front door. I’d beaten the heavy rain. And more importantly, I’d made it home. Safe.

One Response to “Racing the rain”

  1. carl ver beek says:

    glad you made it and it sounds like you enjoyed it