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Day #22

I just drove through a thunderstorm. I've ridden into dark clouds that resulted in a lot of rain, coupled with a bit of thunder & lightning before, but it was nothing like this. This time, I felt like I was in the middle of a hurricane.

At first, I was just being rained on. Then I saw wall of rain 300 ft away that began to rapidly approach towards my direction. In a matter of seconds I was being pelted by thick sheets of horizontal rain. Still, I continued--but the thunder grew louder and the lightning became frighteningly more frequent.

As the rain grew worse, visibility quickly diminished. It wasn't long before I could hardly see but a few feet beyond my front tire. At this point, the road more resembled a river. Thankfully, my tires never lost traction.

I was only 6 or so miles from my destination, but the storm's winds were producing such a severe head wind that I was forced to ride in my highest gears--significantly decreasing my speed.

I don't know the chances of being struck by lighting on a bicycle, but I was sure the chances of being hit by a passing car in this limited visibility was greatly likely. Moreover, the last night I was in a hostel in Sebree talking with the pastor's wife who informed me of the high frequency of tornadoes in this part of the country.

After riding in these conditions for a few miles, I passed a house with a covered patio. Normally I'm shy about such things, but at this point I didn't care; I needed shelter. I pulled under the cover and knocked on the door. There was no answer.

In just a few hours I went from taking breaks to avoid heat stroke to being soaking wet, cold, and shivering. Once under the cover, I took off my clothes, rung them out, redressed, and waited for the storm to die down.

After about an hour, the storm had mostly passed. There was still some lightning in the distance, but it was only drizzling by me. I had to catch the ferry across the Ohio river into Illinois before they closed for the night, so I hopped back on my bike and headed for the border.

Here's a video I took after I made it to the ferry 6 or so miles later:

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