I left Winnipeg under cloudy skies, but dry roads.
After passing through U.S. Customs, I saw the speed limit: 75.
It took a few seconds to register. 75 MILES per hour!
Now I could point the bike south and "ride by the clock":
- Twist right grip until the big hand points to "EIGHT ZERO".
- Hold that position until the little hand points to "E".
- Refill tank with gas.
The weather was fine until I came through Bemidji, Minn, and started to cross over Cass Lake.
I saw that the horizon was getting darker in the east, but didn't worry too much about it.
Halfway across the lake, I hit a wall of rain that convinced me to make a quick U-turn and put all the rain gear on at a rest area there.
I talked with a man who was traveling westward, and he said he had come through some really hard rain.
I told him "No worries. As long as I've got my rain gear on, I can handle most anything."
(HAHAHA! I'm such a riot!)
I proceeded east into the gray wall and expected to endure it for the next 20-30 minutes.
Hmm. OK - how about 50-60 minutes????
I rode through the longest lasting, heaviest rain I've ever been in.
From Cass Lake to Duluth, it poured buckets.
For 3 hours.
Cars were passing slowly in the opposite direction, wipers on high-speed.
By 4:00pm, my trusty rain gear had not only lost the battle and surrendered, but had gone as far as to join the enemy, somehow funneling a thin stream of water down my chest.
I know this may seem unpleasant to some folks, but it was actually a more effective stimulant than a box full of 5-Hour Energy drinks.
(I think I did have a little spot above my right ear that wasn't completely soaked.)
My only reason for this loop of the trip was to cross the famous Mackinac Bridge that connects the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the rest of the state.
But before I reached Duluth, I had already reprogrammed the GPS to take me south toward Chicago and out of this storm.
Then, just before taking the exit leading south, I looked ahead and saw this:
A light at the end of the tunnel at last. The storm ended as abruptly as if it were drawn with a ruler.
So I hesitantly passed up the exit and continued through Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin.
In Superior, I stopped at a Subway and ate a sandwich in my little puddle of soggy "former rain gear".
Their radio was on, and I heard the familiar screech of the National Weather Service Bulletin telling people that a severe storm was hitting the eastern counties of Minnesota.
From that point, the rain stopped, and the skies turned to "partly cloudy".
I removed the rain gear after a while and let the wind dry my clothes.
By 10:30pm, I was still an hour from a town (Ishpeming) with a motel, and passed a sign - "Moose Crossing next 4 miles".
That seemed to sharpen my awareness a bit for some reason...