Wednesday, June 10

Stormin' Norman

Yesterday I crossed into Maryland. And what a show the great state decided to give me! Nearly as soon as I crossed the state line, I could see some dark clouds forming in the distance. The wind was pushing against my face, coming from a southwest direction, and the clouds were to the northeast so I felt I could continue riding, guessing they would blow further northeast with the wind. But by the time I got to Rocks State Park, the clouds had caught up, despite the wind, and opened up dropping tons of rain down. Thankfully, I was near the Rocks SP office, so I pedaled in and they let me hang out for 10 minutes until the rain passed.

Back on the ride, I hadn't gotten but 5 miles down the road when more clouds came in, this time as dark as the nights sky. Lightning and thunder had started their thing and when I came to the end of the park - which had served as a cover from the lightning, I now faced an open field... I kept hearing my mother's voice, "Never ride if there's lightning!"

I waited at the edge of the forest line, deciding what to do, when I caught sight of a house a bit further down the road. It was a large house, kind of looked like my neighbors house back home, but had a fence around it and a dog doing laps around a swing set. The dog let me know someone must have been home. With the lightning and thunder sounding behind me, I hightailed it to the home, knocked on the door, and shared my predicament with a surprised woman.

Next thing I know, Jane (the surprised woman), her three children (Becky, Joey, and Hannah), and I are sitting inside the garage, eating grape popsicles, and watching a rather large hail storm move in. Lightning was flashing with immediate cracks of thunder - I've never known the accurate distance per second, but we couldn't even count to one before the thunder hit. After Jane's husband, Greg, come home to find us all in the garage, I learned the house had been hit by lightning three times before, "Knocked the chimney straight into the yard once!" Consequently, the family put up a set of lightning rods, so we were sure to be safe.

(awkward picture)

After the storm showed no signs of "blowing over," the family invited me in for dinner. But not before politely asking if I'd like to take a shower - which had I turned the offer down, the politeness would have turned to more of a command (I was at 53 miles for the day). After dinner, the storm had seemed to pass. We checked the radar and it was so. The kids took a picture of "the biker that stopped by" so they could write about it in school (I don't really know, something about that... I just smiled) and I was back on my journey towards Jarrettsville, MD.

I now write from Reisterstown, MD after a 30 mile morning session. Its only 11:30 and I'll probably hang out around here until 2ish, resting my legs, grabbing some coffee and food. It's sunny as can be, a whopping 77 degrees out (that's 26C for you, Skippy. You English Aussie!) Yesterday, when I was going down a hill, I hit 41 mph! I'm about 310 miles in, be in D.C. tomorrow, and looking forward to some steep inclines in Virginia. Speaking of which - yesterday was obnoxious up and down riding. It was ridiculous in fact. But I keep telling myself, every time I ride up, I know I get to come down. Unless the Pacific Ocean is at a higher elevation than the Atlantic... but that'd just be weird. Bikewise - I broke a spoke, so my back wheel is wobbly. But I'll be into a bike shop tomorrow before D.C. to get that fixed... hopefully.

Alls well. Peace on ya.


Anonymous said...

Loving this Nate; you are more American than apple pie. Stay Safe -Brianne

kendithomas said...

OMG 41mph?!?

burntoutgradstudent said...

spend some good times in VA, my home state!
it's a crazy, weird southern state w/damn good bbq & cornbread.
i'm glad you listened to your mama.

Gruntled said...

I just arrived in central PA - just missed you.

WhereaboutsinDanville said...

Sounds like you've experienced some good 'Trail Magic.' Love it. Sorry I missed you on my way back to the Kentuck.

M said...

This is huge!

Alex Brown said...

I read this, Nate, and it's almost like you're making it up. It's that good of a story.

Patrick Noltemeyer said...

I love grape popsicles. Awesome.