The sky looked innocent enough when it came time to leave the hotel. The temp was only 66 degrees but the forecast looked promising. Little did we know that we were being chased from the minute we fired up this morning. The planned route for the day included very little interstate riding and should have taken us over a couple of mountain passes. Highway 200 to US-12 then follow that for most of the day. We kept an eye on the radar as we moved and noticed that the big green blob on the radar was gaining on us. The timing was such that when we stopped, the rain would almost catch us. We would move again and gain some distance on it. Unfortunately we ran into some real road construction which meant that we were parked on US-12 for 15 minutes or so before the line moved again. By the time we rolled, lightning was on our right and the rain was visible only a few miles away. Not sure how serious this storm was, I chose to stop at the next small town Townsend, MT. We walked into the café and our group all pulled cell phones to compare the green blobs. I wanted a glass of tea but by the time it came, it was obvious we were going to need to move immediately or drink tea for a couple of hours. We chose to move but in a different direction.
The rain suits came out for the first time on this trip. The rain was already starting to come down. We turned around and headed due south on US287 instead of east on US-12. The good news is that the rain suits did their usual job of keeping it from raining. (Put them on and the rain stops.) They worked the rest of the day. The bad news is that the only way to get where we were going was to get back on I-90 for the remainder. The road was better than expected but still, I don’t relax much running down the road at 75 to 80 MPH.
About 40 miles out of Billings, the bikes needed gas. The radar was still iffy but we took off the rubber suits. We jumped back on the bikes and sped off. This turned out to be a bad move on my part. Jana’s prescription sunglasses were in a side pocket of the top box that we carry. I got busy putting things away and forgot to zip the pocket shut. Nothing happened until we hit 75 MPH. The sunglasses exited the pocket and now are part of the Montana environment. I didn’t see any reason to go back to get them.
We cruised into Billings just ahead of the rain. Thankful that we were dry and done pounding down the interstate. We ate a huge dinner, did a little laundry, and are turning in after outrunning a green blob.
One parting thought. I accomplished something I never thought I would in getting to Fort Clatsop. Was the trip worth it? I’m not sure at this point. We are about 3700 miles into it. It might be too many miles for a guy of my age. It has turned into endurance / motivation test. I’ll know the final answer when we pull in to the driveway at home. It still beats working.