Death Storm 2015 15
Quick update. . .
After writing our last blog update in the outdoor furnishings display at Smith’s Grocery, we noticed a large, black cloud mass in the distant Western sky. Can you see where this is going? We hadn’t done any miles that day . . . So we decided to try to outrun it. I might add that we were riding into a headwind, something that we welcomed because it seemed logical to assume the storm was traveling away from us. However, once we were just too far out of Gillette to turn around, we realized our mistake. Sky that is blue is nice, sky that is red/pink/purple/orange can be nice too– but sky that is green is another story. Lightening was behind us, and then to the right of us, then to the left of us, and then ahead of us, and then above us. We were flying down the road in our highest gear being pushed by the wind (which had changed direction) with rain and thunder at our backs. We had absolutely no place to get out of it, so we gritted our teeth and hoped to find an overpass. I could see one about a mile ahead and screamed at Lizzy–screamed because of the loud howling of the wind and the boom of the thunder overpowered me–to stop at the overpass. The phone wires overhead were whistling eerily as we tried to slow to a stop. We realized quickly that being under the overpass was more dangerous than out as it was the highest point on the pane. Lizzy tried to get Beef, but the wind was so strong I couldn’t hold on to her bike and mine at the same time.
Lizzy took charge and decided we needed to hitch to the nearest town. I might add that though I was aware of the danger, and a little bit terrified, I was hesitant to loose the magnificent tail wind we were experiencing. Once a cyclist always cyclist. At least Liz had her wits about her.
We laid our bikes down, grabbed a flashlight and flagged down a car (I might add several passed us). A nice man named Jim picked us up, we stared at each other wide eyed for a minute before he called his wife, CindySue, and said “honey, I’ve got two teenage girls in the car. I’m bringing them home–they look like drowned rats.”
After the adrenaline of the storm passed, Liz and I tried to determine how dangerous it really was. I’ve been in a few humdingers before, but this one was something else. I determined that if we were willing to dump everything that we owned on the side of the road and hop into a stranger’s car in the middle of no where with no questions asked, it must have been a bad one.
Jim and CindySue were our trail angels that night. Jim took us home, CindySue handed us hamburgers and warm clothes. Then Jim fired up the truck and drove with Liz back into the heart of the storm 15 miles to pick up our gear knowing our bikes wouldn’t be there in the morning.
We slept that night snug as a bug in a rug, with full bellies and warm hearts. Jim and CindySue are some great folks. She went out too that night, as she is the town Designated Driver. According to her, she’d rather drive someone home at 2am then have them try to drive themselves. She and Jim have 15 grand babies, and over 45 cousins back East and from the sound of it, live a full life.
Jim warned us that Wyoming is full of unsavory characters and psychopaths. I believe him, but fortunately not everyone is. I thank God for the blessing of these two folks who saved us that night and went above and beyond the call of hospitality by sharing their home with the three of us drowned rats. We are truly grateful.
P.S. We have since done a lot of research concerning lightening and biking.