Monday, July 21, 2008

HAIL the big tough macho Harley guy

Left Dillon around 1:00 pm on Friday afternoon headed for the International BMW Motorcycle Owners Association Rally in Gillette Wyoming. 500 miles each way. Skies were cloudy and immediatly hit thunderstorms after about 30 miles. Ran right into a nice cloud burst about 15 miles out of Whitehall. I could see sun shine all around me and these damn storms sat over my head and followed me all the way to Billings. At one point I was in fairly heavy traffic, the sky had opened up and the rain was literally pouring down. My visibility was poor as I had a "half" helmet on. (my full face helmet was in the saddle bag of course) I had my left hand kind of blocking the right side of my face as the rain was hitting me hard. All of a sudden something hit me in the midsection at belt level on the right front. Now at this point I was somewhat preoccupied with ; a) staying on the road in while driving through standing water b) attempting to watch all the other on coming traffic c) cussing myself out for not wearing the full helmet which was in the saddlebag d) wondering why my rain gear was next to the helmet and not covering my soaked ass. I vainly glanced to see what part of the motorcycle had fallen off and hit me. Not much time to be doing that, as I was kind of busy staying alive. Finally I passed out of the downpour and assessed the bike. Hmmmm nothing to be seen, no parts gone, what the hell. I stopped at a gas station in Whitehall for a minute or so and looked the bike over. Saw nothing out of the ordinary. Whatever clobbered me felt like someone swinging a pillow and whacking me in the gut. I still don't have a clue what it was. Bird? Plane? Superman? A pillow? Who knows. One of the mysteries of life I guess.

. (they weren't that big but sure felt like it)
Rained off and on all the way to Bozeman. I called Darian (who was 45 minutes ahead of me in her car) and she had only a couple of drops hit her windshield so far. I fueled in Bozeman and being ever the optimist left my full coverage helmet in the saddle bag (next to the rain gear). Approaching the canyon before Bozeman Pass I could see a nasty looking wall off white heading towards me. Again as the optimist I figured I would beat the storm through the canyon. At about the time a big ass Harley chopper passed me with a rough tough looking guy driving. His "gear" consisted of a rag on his head, sun glasses and a tank top. His passenger was a young looking gal dressed the same except she had shorts on. They looked like every Harley guys dream....macho, cute bitch on the back, stretched chopper, wow was I impressed. (NOT). About the time he was 100' feet ahead of me the sky cracked open and a wall of water fell, It sucked! Seconds later here comes the hail. ( that sucked even more) Here I am again covering the right side of my face. ( with my left hand, right hand stuck on the throttle) I had the sensation of someone spraying me in the face with a fully automatic pellet gun. The "macho Harley guy" slowed and as I passed him he looked like a whipped pup. I was hurting and I had full gear on (except of course the damn helmet)The poor gal on the back was trying to make herself as small a target as possible. As I left the bruised pair behind me I just started laughing, Man OH Man, the price to pay for "looking cool". As I passed out of the main part of the storm something felt real cold. I looked down and my pants had kind of a well in my lap and it was completely full of marble sized hail stones, and I was probably doing 50 MPH. After the worst I laughed at the heavens and proclaimed" is that the best you can do?" Evidently not cause no sooner than I said that the sky split open again and away we go again. This time the rain was harder, but the hail passed this time. Blinded again I missed the first exit I came to and like an idiot tried to pull off a construction crossover and a semi truck damn near ran over me from behind. The traffic barrels were too close together so I dropped into the median at about 15 MPH, bounced through a small mound of sloppy wet gravel, through some holes and up onto the dead traffic lane. The truck driver was not too impressed with my dumb move and blared his air horn adding more insult to injury. Very stupid, spur of the moment decision on my part and it could have been my last. That driver is still probably telling his buddies about the dumb -ass , cross country side car idiot he encountered. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.....split second lapse of good judgement (on my part) that gets people killed on the highway every day.
BMW view of Sheridan McDonald's drive up window. Maybe I should quit riding and get a safe job there? Let's see........scalding hot poisening......botchulism......french fry fumes......obesity........mad gunmen ...... Naw, forget it............riding is definitely safer.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.