No, I’m not talking about the beach. I was surfing the net, checking out some biker sites I’m sure, when my spousal unit surprised me with “Let’s go to Omaha on the bike.” Not being sure I had heard what I did, I inquired as to the exact nature of the conversation piece with a highly intelligent response of “Huh?” Once again the spousal unit uttered the words I was positive I hadn’t heard, “Lets’ ride up to Omaha and see Tim and Jess and the kids.” “You mean ride the Harley to Omaha?” was my calculating question, determined to whittle down to the bottom line. “Sure.” was the swift reply. “Ok” said I, “but you realize that means you’ll have to actually ride on the Harley to Omaha.” “Well of course.” came the terse reply. I said to myself “Myself, your fact finding mission had best come to a close.”
Road trip!!! I fired up the mapping software and began planning the run from Kansas City to Omaha. After some consultation with the spousal unit we decided to just run the super slab up to Omaha. I-29 North to 370 West would run us pretty straight to the part of the Omaha burbs that we needed to hit.
We were up early on Saturday morning and it was gorgeous. Bright sunny skies, with just a hint of partly-cloudy to keep from getting baked to a crackly-crunch made for high spirits that morning. We rolled up 29 and past St. Joe with no problems. Shortly after the plains began to level out and the rolling hills gave way to mile after mile of farm fields, it became clear that Mother had decided the wind need to blow with gusto that day. So on up to Omaha we motored at a very pronounced lean, getting buffeted around pretty badly. To her credit, the spousal unit took most of this in stride with only a mildly irritated “Man, it’s windy today” during one of our stops.
We arrived at our destination of La Vista, Nebraska about mid-morning, and after a short lunch and a quick visit with the spousal unit’s niece and her husband Tim, who happens to be a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, (Go Navy!!), we spent the remaining afternoon and evening at the house, visiting with family and playing with the kids. We talked and ate and threw back some brewskies until the wee hours, but we finally had to give up and call it a day. It had been trying to rain all evening, and hope I did that it was not a forbearance of things to come. Little did I know that my feelings of dread concerning the weather were not without merit.
Sunday dawned gray and rainy, and I was looking forward to the ride home about as much as a root canal. We did the breakfast thang and hung around a while and let things dry out and it started looking like it was going to be a righteous ride home. We left the house in La Vista at 2 pm figuring we’d motor on home easy and roll in at 6:30-ish at the latest. How little did we know. We had an absolutely gorgeous ride from Omaha, through the little stretch of Iowa and about the first hour into Missouri. Then things started getting dark and things started getting gray, and as we eased on into a fuel stop, we noticed another pair of bikers getting their rain gear on. We’d see them several times during the previous part of the ride, but we didn’t know it. After another short consultation with the spousal unit we decided it would be best to err on the side of prudence, and started digging out our rain gear too. After about 15 minutes of snaps, zips and Velcro hell, we were once again ready to be on our way into the great beyond, keen in our search for adventure. Yeah, right. I mumbled to the spousal unit that “now that we’ve put all this stupid rain gear on, you know it won’t rain.” I have to stop sayin’ stuff like that.
It really wasn’t that bad in the beginning. It was raining, and the wind was picking up but it was nothing like what we were to find down the road. We pulled over initially and took refuge under an overpass, and the cell we had run into eventually went on by. Little did we know that we were in a corridor where cell after cell was fixin’ to pass through, with each one being bigger and more volatile than the last. Back on the road and rollin’, it didn’t take long to for the next cell to blow across, and this one was packing a little bigger punch. The wind gusts were now getting vicious enough to blow us halfway across a lane, so we stopped again under the biker’s refuge, another overpass.
We were playing overpass tag with a couple that was going from Nebraska to Georgia. Sometimes you meet the best people under the worst circumstances. We stayed and chatted with these folks for a while until it started to clear and the rain had let up. Off again into the stormy weather we went, the spousal unit trying her best to keep up a good front. We’ve only gone down once, and it was in the rain, so you can join me in my understanding of the dear lady’s trepidation. I give kudos to the fact that she jumped right back on the pillion after we got the bike back, but she’s still getting over the experience.
I have always told the spousal unit to tap me on the shoulder if she ever needed me to pull over. We were following the couple we had been playing overpass tag with, and the rain and wind were flat getting at it. *Tap* *Tap* *Tap* I nod my head in understanding and turn on my flashers because by now I can’t see squat and I’ve slowed to about 50 miles per. My rain gear sucks out loud which means the downpour we’re now riding in has me soaked. I’m starting to tense up because I’m wet and cold, and the traffic is still blowing by at 70 miles an hour in the hammer lane. I’m thinking “stupid cagers.” They were probably thinking “stupid bikers.” Lightning bolts are now weaving jagged wicked lines across the sky from horizon to horizon. Far out man, lights and sound. *Tap* *Tap* *Tap* I nod my head again, more vigorously this time, to acknowledge the fact that we do indeed, need to pull over. Just as soon as I can sweetheart, dear, love of my life. *Whoosh* A wind gust that we later heard was in excess of 50 miles per hour hits us and moves us from the right hand white line to the center of the lane. *Whoosh* Another wind gust right after the first one blows us from the center lane to the dotted white line in the center. Did anyone ever tell you a StreetGlide being ridden two-up makes for just an awesome sail? Well if they ain’t, I am.
*Wham* *Wham* *Wham* goes the fist now pounding my upper middle back like Dammer on a rock pile with a 20 lb sledge. “I’M SCARED TO DEATH” comes the plaintive cry from the spousal unit, who by now is approaching a state of total and unequivocal panic. Within seconds “Rest Area Ahead” materializes out of the rain and wind. In the words of Sir Mick: “Thank you, Jesus.” “Thank you Lord.” I rolled off the throttle as soon as I saw the sign, in hopes that my traumatized pillion personage would refrain from continuing to beat me severely about the head and shoulders.
So there we were, 30 miles from home, and the spousal unit had had enough. By now it was getting dark, and the rain was still coming and going. I knew what was coming, and I loathed the idea, but as anyone who’s ever been married knows, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy. To say Mama wasn’t happy is the understatement of all time. Dear Reader and fellow biker, I hate to admit, it but I have to. Thirty miles from home, the spousal unit called the youngest son unit and had him hook up the trailer and come to the rescue of his severely worn out and totally soaked parents. It was a call I refused to make. I apologized to MileEater and told her it wasn’t her fault. She had performed flawlessly and had kept us upright and mobile when she was asked to. I don’t think she bought it. She’s been pouting.
We finally hit the house at about 10 pm. Man, there ain’t nothing like an 8-hour run from Omaha to KC. It was probably best that we did call for the trailer. It continued to storm and rain all the way to KC, and it was pitch black. Unfortunately, there’s been talk of the “T” word on our upcoming trip to Arkansas. *sigh* Woe is me; I’m taking my bike to a trailer event.
By Eric “Phedup' Rossiter