Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Experiment: How Wet Can I Possibly Get? (Day 39)

The thunderstorms last night were so continuous and drenching and, well, thunderous, that I was awake on and off all night long. At one point, there was a bright flash followed immediately, without hesitation, by a thunderclap that had me jumping off the ground; that one was definitely directly overhead.

Thankfully, I stayed dry inside my tent. Packing up was a challenge, but I took advantage of the one break in the rain to get my dry stuff packed into the trailer and my sopping-wet tent taken down. 

Less than a mile into today's ride, the weather went from regular rain to a drenching, down-pouring thunderstorm. I was soaked through and through almost immediately--no preventing that--but I realized it was not safe to be on the road. Drivers would not be able to see me with the sheets of rain coming down, and there were moments I was the tallest thing in my immediate vicinity while lightning was striking. Up ahead, I saw a small, unused shack with a covered front porch. "Ah ha!" I thought, "A perfect place to wait out the worst of this." I waded through ankle-deep, standing water to get on the porch, only to discover that the boards serving as a "roof" for the porch had half-inch gaps between them and water was gushing down through them. I did wait out the heaviest rain on that porch, but I was definitely not sheltered from the rain. It turned out that this is the only day of the trip so far that I wore my rain jacket and rain pants--and I kept both on for the entire ride. 

We rode through some pretty towns today (like Barcelona and Van Buren Point), with sweeping views of the lake. Photos were out of the question for much of the day; it was too wet and dark. 

I rode 51 miles today, with 1,299 feet of climbing. 4.75 hours on the road. 

Today's route, part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Most of the creeks we crossed today were gushing and churning and overflowing--rapidly sending agricultural runoff from the vineyards to Lake Erie--but that was early in the day when I wasn't taking pictures. This is a much calmer tributary, in Silver Creek, that I thought was dramatic for its steep, straight wall along the left side. (I realize they're all looking the same at this point.)

When I got to Lake Erie Beach, the sun was trying to come out. 

I got to the motel where we are staying tonight (Angola Motel, Angola, NY) early enough to clean my bike and dry out my wet gear. Just in time; more rain expected tonight and tomorrow--for our ride through Buffalo to Niagara Falls!

A bunch of gear drying out at the motel.

[photo credit: Barb Wade]

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