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"There are two ways to learn lessons in life, the first is by observing and learning from the behavior of
other folks and second is by getting hit in the face with a 2 x 4 yourself. Both will help you learn the lesson,
but one is certainly less painful."
~ Jefe Smith from his book, LIFE, AMERICA and the ROAD

Monster Storm

Tail end of a powerful Montana storm reveals the remnants of a sunset.

On my last cross-country motorcycle ride in 2016, I found myself fighting weather front after weather front as I rode west. My eastbound trip out had been cake since I could just slot myself between the weather fronts which all flow east and I could keep myself under sunny, or at least no-rain skies by adjusting my daily speed and mileage to hold myself in between those fronts. That trick went out the window when I began riding west since I was riding head-on through any weather fronts rolling east across the country. It was like trying to paddle out on a big surf day. By the time I hit Wolf Springs, Montana, I had been rained on during a majority of my days on the westbound roads.

It was sunny when I rode into Wolf Springs and selected a motel to check into. The motel clerk said she was going to put me in an annex building where I could park my bike under a stairway for protection since a big storm was due in that night. I thought, “what the hell” parked the bike under the stairway and walked through the early evening sun for a Subway sandwich and a 25 oz beer to settle in and watch an NBA playoff game.

During the game, the TV broadcast was interrupted with that buzzy, electronic warning sound and the words flashed on the screen that high winds, rain and hail were expected in my area, but probably not tornados. Probably not? Soon after, the wind start howling and the rain and hail came pouring down. The building started to rumble and whistle and it sounded like the roof was about to be ripped off. The wind was actually roaring when I went out and stood under the stair overhang, simply awed while the violence played out. Damn I was happy that motel clerk had recommended hiding my bike. Hail stones the size of quarters were pounding down and a guy across the annex courtyard with a bright red truck was trying to get as much of it under the upper balcony as possible to protect his finish. It looked like a too large person trying to hide under a bed. Finally the wind let up, the hail ceased and the rain lessened. I snapped the picture above as the tail end of the storm moved near. Powerful weather sure is a thrill to experience when you are not out in the middle of it and your life is not in danger.

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