On This Day 16th-June-2012

This week’s on this day post comes from the 16th-June-2012, and I’m in the USA sheltering from a tornado.

Saturday, 16th June 2012, Bethany to Lancaster. 86 miles.

The wind was back today but behind me, blowing me along. It’s also been extremely hot and humid. It felt more humid than when I was in Asia, but maybe I’m not used to it anymore.

Cycling along today, I got pulled over by a state trooper. Great, now what? I thought. I’ve been good and cycling inside the white line, so he can’t stop me for that. He said he’d been watching me on and off all day, but now he had to warn me. Warn me of a severe storm that was following me! And that I’d best find somewhere to stop, quick!

He showed me the laptop in his car. Because this area is in “Tornado Alley”, they monitor weather conditions. On the computer, he had a satellite image of the area. There was a lot of red on it, which even I could see wasn’t good.

I asked him if there were any motels nearby. Being a bit unsure, he made a phone call to try and find out the nearest one, which was over thirty miles away. He didn’t think there was enough time to reach the motel, which might not have even been on my route anyway. He suggested I wait out the storm in the next town, ten miles ahead.

You Never Know What You’ll Find

I arrived at the next town, or rather a garage just outside. As I stood under the garage canopy, awaiting the storm’s arrival, I noticed a campsite just behind it. I ummed and ahhed whether to continue and try and reach the next town or stay here and camp. Eventually, I decided to stay and found a nice little spot underneath a corrugated steel lean-to and tree. I was worried about hailstones, but the lean-to would protect me from them. Luckily they never came!

Tent by tree
Just before the storm hit

I had just managed to pitch my tent when the storm hit. Suddenly it got dark, the wind got up, and the temperature dropped! Thunder and lightning was all around me, and the rain came down in stair rods. Thankfully I’d put my guy ropes out, which I don’t usually bother with. It was pretty hairy stuff for a while, and I think we were only on the edge of the main storm.

There are no facilities at this campsite, so I had to have a wet wipe wash. It’s a long time since I’ve had to do that. But for two dollars a night, who cares. And besides, the garage has a little café, so I don’t have to worry about cooking. I can also buy a beer here!

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