Weather: Read on…
Zero dark thirty. I stepped out of my front door into silence, engulfed by a light mist. It was the kind of mist that puts halos around streetlamps, and muffles every sound.
My girls were still asleep as I made my way to the garage. I had stopped for one last look at their peaceful, slumbering faces before I put my riding gear on. That mental snapshot would stay with me until I returned to them in one week’s time. If everything went according to plan, that is.
When I was gone, they would awaken to drizzle falling from a gunmetal gray sky. The Windsock and Crystal Ball boys had let us down again. They had predicted sunny skies and beautiful weather for the whole week. But when I tuned in to the Weather Channel this morning, I saw the big, green ghost of a rainstorm on the radar. It was reaching it’s ethereal tentacles up towards I-94, trying to get a grip on that road before Frogwing and I could outrun it. There was no time to lose, we had to hit the road fast!
Frogwing was waiting impatiently for me as the garage door rose in it’s tracks. I had saddled him up the night before with bags packed for a week on the road. He couldn’t wait to start pumping that fresh oil through his system, spinning gears and chains and pounding that single huge piston up and down at five thousand rpms as we ate up the miles towards Fergus Falls.
Yeah, Fergus Falls. A little outpost on our northwest border with North Dakota. The Company has a plant there, and I had a job to do. They wouldn’t exactly be happy to see me, they never are. But they would be expecting me. So, I pulled the choke and pushed the button, and Frogwing started with a muted roar. Yeah, that confounded mist again.
It was dark until we cleared the city limits. Frogwing’s single headlight beam stabbed through the darkness, illuminating road signs and the backs of tractor-trailor rigs as we plunged on through the gloom. The first pale light of dawn tinged the eastern horizon as we rolled past Saint Cloud.
What names we have, here in Minnesota. Maybe you remember a certain silly movie, where Charlie Sheen’s Indian character spoke in words taken right off a Minnesota Map: Minnehaha, Owatonna, Minnetonka, Wannamingo…. What a strange land I come from.
We rode non-stop, and as the sky turned from black to gray, I could see rainstorms in my mirrors, reaching out for us from the southern horizon. We beat them this time, but we still have four days to go. Tomorrow: On to Aberdeen.