West 2020

Day 08

July 20

  Today is a much shorter ride of only 560 miles or so. But unknown to me, if I thought yesterday was a bit tough, I've not seen nothing yet. Before I can get out of the parking lot, Bluebelle loses all electrical power. So I coast into a parking space, and proceed to unpack her and pull the side panel off to check the battery. I wiggle the ground cable and she springs back to life. I very gingerly reassemble and repack her and determine that I will not cut off the key until I am safely back in the Holler in case it is an ignition switch problem.  
  The skies do not look very favorable but I see some blue up ahead and keep riding, hoping for the best.  
  The sun once again is having a tough time breaking through the clouds.  
  It looks like I might be able to ride out of this one, but only time will tell.  
  Then up ahead I see it's coming and coming real fast. There is no place to pull off safely and shelter so looks like I am going to get wet.  
  It's not just rain, it is a storm where the rain blows sideways and people begin to run alongside each other at 20 mph.  
  I can barely see ahead and I am afraid, after yesterday's four way flasher ignoring, that I am fixing to be a hood ornament. It's some of the most difficult riding I have experienced in my 50 years on the road.  
  I finally get out of it and get almost dried but the stress from the experience has taken a toll on me. I pull into the first truck stop I can find to try to get myself back together.  
  Fortunately they have an Arby's inside and they do have a brisket sandwich which is one of my favorites. It's close enough to breakfast for me and I get after it quickly. Since the rain has cleared off, I get back to the road business at hand.  
  But I am quickly disappointed as the storm appears to be following me.  
  Soon I am back in the mess again with no place to pull off.  
  I come out of it, but by now I am thoroughly soaked and my boots are full of water. There is no point in stopping and putting on rain gear until I get dried out again.  
  But that is not happening today as I quit counting the times the storm catches me at seven. Just about the time I start drying out, I run into it again. After a while, I just reconcile myself to the fact I am wet, I am going to stay wet, and I just have to deal with it. My big concern is the sideways rain and the total lack of visibility. All I can do is try to position myself behind another vehicle so that I can at least follow their taillights and flashers. This is some of the hardest and most dangerous road time that I have ever encountered.  
  I finally get with five miles of the Holler and someone has turned a car sideways just past the last exit. So now I am soaking wet, burning up from the heat and humidity, and sitting on a blocked interstate.  

After the events of the last two days, I am one happy camper to arrive back in my beloved Holler with me and BlueBelle in one piece and somewhat functioning. Indeed as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz -

"There's No Place Like Home!"