I cooked myself breakfast on the stove top in the room’s kitchen. It was the first time I had used my new cookware, and it had no issue handling the complexities of making oatmeal. After eating, I scrubbed the pot clean and set to repacking my bike, still learning how to deal with the extra two new large items.
For months, I’ve had the feeling that if my orders ever get issued, this would be the base I’d be going through pilot training at, so after exiting through the main gate, I stopped to look at the small grouping of aircraft on display.
Overnight the roads hadn’t changed, still continuing on arrow-straight for as far as the eye could see. I stopped at one point to take a picture of some cows, and I guess being bored with their daily lives they decided to put on a show for me.
The weather began to do what the road wouldn’t: turn. Through my tinted visor, the sky in front of me started growing darker. At first I couldn’t tell if it was actually raining, or if it was about to, but as I neared it became obvious: a storm was coming. Well, what’s Oklahoma in the springtime without a storm?
I kept riding and the sky kept growing darker. Small dust-devils reaching several stories into the sky blew their way across the fields, and the first flashes of lightning lit up the distance. Without any bridges to hide under, or ditches to hide in, I quickly began to wonder what I’d do if I ran into a tornado. Soon, the first drops of rain began to plink against my helmet.
I looked down at my odometer: I had enough range to make it to Boise City, but not enough to turn around and head back to Guthrie. Besides, going back would only delay the inevitable. I pressed on, my attention shifting from looking for swirling clouds of destruction to estimating how much fuel I had left. I had spare fuel with me, but a YouTube video I had seen before I left made me not want to stop and put my metal kickstand down in the middle of a thunderstorm. I felt safer with my rubber tires providing some sort of insulation between me and the ground.
The road led me through a small gap between two cells of the storm, conveniently as I reached Boise City. I stopped for fuel and chatted with a guy on a Harley who had come through a portion of New Mexico, a scenic 17-mile stretch of dirt that twisted its way through the mesas. I wondered if I would be riding that same road, or how far away it might’ve been from my route. We parted ways, and I kept going west, the storm now behind me.
I found myself a site at Black Mesa State Park, and setup my tent. The main storm may have been behind me, but small batches of rain fell off and on, and I could still hear thunder in the distance. As I unloaded my bike, I realized the compression sack my new sleeping bag had come in wasn’t waterproof. I stretched it out inside my tent, trying to let it air dry. In a small lull between showers, I set up my alcohol stove on and made myself a quick dinner, then retired for the evening.