Yesterday’s Harley adventure


Took the Harley into dealer for routine maintainance in small town over 60 miles away. Servicing took somewhat longer than expected (of course). As I waited, I realized a significant storm was approaching. When finally got bike back, promptly took off but realized that although there was blue sky above, I was heading right into the storm rather than away from it and it looked like the worst of it was right where I would climb over mountain. Got lucky as road curved away from storm. Although road going up and down mountain was very wet with rivulets of water streaming across, somehow I avoided the rain.
Stopped in Christiansburg (still over 20 miles from home) to meet wife for dinner. Again blue sky was above but while we were eating, the storm gathered. As we left resturaunt, I was a few minutes behind wife on highway 460 and could see raging storm ahead right where I would cross two mountain ranges to get home. It was my first experience on a bike in really heavy rain. Cars put on emergency flashers and many pulled over to wait out the storm. I was soaked in seconds. No overpasses to stop under so I continued over the mountain ranges on to convenience store still about 4 miles from home. Lightening and thunder were all around me and very close. Unnerving to put it mildly.
Finally stopped under shelter for gas pumps at the convenience store to put on rain gear and to consider my next move when lightening flashed right on top of me. Decided being by gas pumps during lightening storm was less than wise but storm was too heavy to continue ride.
More luck (I thought) when rain slowed to drizzle so decided to make a dash for home while I had the chance. Big mistake! Downpour resumed with lightening and thunder all around. Visibility poor. Cars started pulling over again but a near accident occurred right in front of me as one almost slid into another as he was pulling onto gravel shoulder. Realized that it would be rather inconvenient if I stopped behind the last vehicle and another slid into me so decided it was best to continue on another half mile where I could get off 460 onto road that winds up our mountain.
Huge lightening strike immediately behind me made hair on arms stand up as I made the turn onto our mountain. Rain then slowed somewhat and no more lightening strikes nearby so I was able to make the two miles up the mountain without serious difficulty but when I turned onto the gravel road that leads down to our driveway saw that three fast moving rivulets were roaring down the road forcing me to ride in center where the gravel is thickest, the very area I usually avoid. Made it to gravel driveway only to realize that the storm had basically turned it into a creek. Fortunately wife had left garage door open so I was able to make it down the 200 yard driveway to safety without mishap, totally soaked and stressed but otherwise unharmed.
Lesson learned: No motorcycle belongs on road in such weather conditions but sometimes you are caught in situations where you just have to make your best judgments as you go and hope for the best. (Yes, if I had it to do again I would have hunkered down in the convenience store even though probably would have been there for hours).


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