Day 40 Threading the Needle on the Great Plains


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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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