Day 40 Threading the Needle on the Great Plains

7/6/18

I can see storms to my right and storms to my left but Angel and Flossie show me how to thread a needle and I don’t get wet.
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So start the Great Plains.

I decide to leave a little late today at 7:30 with the two Wildflowers. There is no rain in the forecast, a south side wind and flats for 75 miles.
All should be fine…but if I have learned anything on these rides it is that Mother Nature is very fickle from time to time.
The first ten miles goes as expected, a head wind of 10mph with cool temperatures. I treat myself to an apple fritter; all is well with the world.
A turn to the right, a few more miles, a turn to the left, a few more miles and then a turn to the right…and I stop to look…110 miles straight until I turn to the left again…110 miles…yep…
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I look to my left and right and realize I am at the entrance to the Great Plains. The Wildflowers stop for a picture before we start our trek West.
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And then I notice something in the far horizon that sets me on unrest.
The sky is not blue but Black…
I turn to Flossie who is taller than me and ask for guidance at what she can see.
“ Black, what did you expect?” Always a little sparse with words…
Angel just shrugs filmy gossamer wings.
On we ride but as the miles pass I lose the Wildflowers up front somewhere. As I stop for pictures along the way they just keep going as if I don’t exist.

 

 

Such is life…
The horizon enlarges to include 1/3 of my frontface with now easily distinct thunderheads complete.
I pull into a rest stop by the side of the road where 6 riders have collected afraid to go on.
I turn to Angel and Flossie “ Got 30 miles to go what do you think?”
They both point to a slim clearing between two large banks.
I hop on my bike to the surprise of the other 5 and head straight for the blackened sky.
Two flashes of lightening up ahead…I count…12-15 miles ahead to the left and right. I stop and check my phone to see that the radar shows the storms…and more importantly that the South Wind is tearing them apart as soon as they form.
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Angel and Flossie nudge me on.
I watch the oncoming cars closely and see no one using wipers…yes lights are on but no rain.
As I pass each farmhouse I mentally record the mileage so if things change I can turn and speed back East.
The Black sky ahead becomes grey and then streaks of blue,but to each side black with rain in sheets throughout the sky.
I speed on and at the top of a hill in a small town look back to see the two storms North and South torturing the ground…with me safe and dry having squeeked through…
I turn to Flossie and Angel and thank them for help with this passage, the threading of a Needle on the North Dakota Plains.
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On I ride past the campground I stayed in three years ago to the tiny town of Kathryn where we have shelter for the night.
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This town was founded in 1900 in a small valley between green hills, the only ones present for 100 miles around.
After I have washed my clothes and showered the sky turn ominous with pre tornado clouds…
I am thankful that tonight I am not in a tent.
I have no cell service here but the town has a post office and…of course a bar…nothing more…
But then this is Great Land and there is WIFI in the bar.
God Bless America.
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