SIOUX CITY, IOWA—After several good riding days that took us across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and most of Nebraska, Mother Nature decided that we’d had enough. Ed awoke first this morning. Seeing gray skies, he iPhoned the weather. A huge green blob with a throbbing heart of yellow and red was crawling toward Valentine, Nebraska. With some urgency in his voice, he said the severe thunderstorm warning included 58 mph winds and 1-inch hail. “If we leave now, we can get out in front of it.” After dressing for wet, we left town at 0800, just as the storms’ first raindrops started making mud of the dust on our bikes.
The forecast did not report at what speed the red-hearted monster was moving east, but we did our best to move more quickly in the same direction. It took us more than an hour to outrun the rain, which slowed our progress, but we kept ahead of the ugly darkness that loomed in our rearview mirrors. Normally we’d welcome the sign of fresh blacktop, but not when it is raining…and signs warn that the new pavement is slippery when wet.
When we got far enough ahead of the rain, building a cushion of dry time, we stopped for lunch here in Sioux City. Perkins served us a wonderful breakfast, and Ed ate his eggs and pancakes while studying the map. He was hoping to overnight at Sac City, population 2,179, where he’d found a lovely Mom & Pop motel, appropriately named the Sac City Motel. Not taking any chances with Mother Nature, and because there wasn’t much chance of finding a place to stay until Fort Dodge, another hour or so down the road, he called for a room…and hung up unhappy.
Pondering our options, we sought the guidance of another iPhone forecast. The radar confirmed what we saw out the window, a wall of dark clouds that ranged from battleship to deep blue-black steel gray. Then we remembered the trucks that passed us earlier in the day as they plowed west into the wind. With the wet, mist defined their turbulence, a swirling wedge that knifed down our lane. It didn’t take many such encounters before we could predict how badly we’d be buffeted by their passing. And we’d had enough of that. Ed’s iPhone then suggested a number of nearby motels. We settled on the Rodeway Inn. We got to our room just before the rain’s imminent arrival.
Cheated out of her fun, Mother Nature separated her massive green amoeba of rain into two smaller youngsters with yellow and red hearts. One that went north and the other south, so we might be able to walk across the street later for dinner at the Greek restaurant. Maybe. The temperature and humidity are increasing, the makings for another meteorological explosion. Of one thing we are certain; if we’d stayed on the road, the two would have stayed as one, and gained strength and speed. Some times it is best to let Mother Nature have her way, even when she passes with an unfulfilled promise of malevolence.