Friday, July 29, 2011

Dancing With the Devil

Aside from the heatwave on the way out, we have had pretty good weather - at least, certainly nothing like we've had on our long weekends on the bike earlier this year.

We had a couple of drops of rain each evening we pulled into the hotel in Denver, but they lasted 30 seconds.  We got caught that afternoon in the Black Hills (while our rainsuits were back at the room,) but we sat out the brief hailstorm while enjoying the peach cobbler that it led us to, then we hit a little more an hour later on our way back to Deadwood from Mt. Rushmore.  The worst thing about that was it made Iron Mountain Road wet and drizzly and prevented me from blasting through it leaned way over with footpegs grinding.  According to the shirt I bought from the cobbler lady, it's 17 miles, 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 4 Presidents (which you get glimpses of from time to time along the way,)  3 pigtails, 3 tunnels, and two splits.  That would have been way fun in the dry, and we didn't have time to go back.


After our night in Mitchell, SD, we needed to overnight somewhere on the way to a date with Donna's co-workers in Crown Point, IN.  (Remember that?)  We had worked our way to the Mississippi as noted in that earlier post, and were heading south along the riverbanks, when rain forced us to suit up.  The worst of it was over by the time we pulled back out onto the road, and we ended up taking them back off in Iowa.

We were shooting for Davenport, but by then had settled for Dubuque and an early start the next morning.  About 25 miles out, we stopped before the on-ramp to the "big road," and did an assessment.  A quick phone call told us a room could be had for a reasonable price in Dubuque.  Here in Dyersville (where Field of Dreams was filmed) were 3 motels, one of which was a non-chain that looked clean and inexpensive.  And things were looking black-ish the way we were heading.  But ultimately, we decided to go for it. 

10 miles later, we were under an underpass at the edge of a downpour, looking directly into regular bolts of lightning.  Rain -  bad.  Downpour - really bad.  High winds and lightning - stupid.  We turned back to Dyersville, only to have another storm closing in on us now from the west.  We poured on the coals, blasted through the rain with our heads down, and made it back.  Got a room and listened to it storm all night.

Next morning, we turn on the news while packing up.  Today's top story:  Dubuque is flooded from 10 inches of record rain overnight!  Bridge across the Mississippi is closed.  Do not go out unless its an emergency.  Many roads in the county flooded or blocked by fallen trees.

WHAT?  So obviously, turning back had been a good call.  But now, could we even get out of there?  And more importantly, dangerous storms and flooding were forecast along the entire corridor we were taking to Crown Point (Chicagoland area.)  Unable to head east to Dubuque, we needed to get south, and continue 100 or so miles past I-80 to I-70 before turning east. 

In order to do that, we had to get on 80 for a few miles anyway.  We left the hotel with rainsuit bottoms on, yet actually had to apply sunscreen because at that moment the sun was breaking through.  We busted our asses to outrun black skies to the west, and got wet on our way to I-80.  But the lightning we saw to our left remained on our left as we turned from south to east.  We really, really wanted to get to Crown Point, and in an act of stupidity decided to continue east on 80 until a storm forced us to stop or turn south immediately. 

Believe it or not, we made it all the way to our destination with little more than a spritz.  It was a ballsy thing to do, but we sometimes do take risks.  It worked out, though, and she caught her network guy hard at work, impressed the boss, and caught up with some folks.  It also enabled us to spend the night with friends, see a car show, play cornhole in a barroom, and tour the jail that John Dillinger escaped from in 1934.  We played the Devil's game and won.

No comments:

Post a Comment