We got our usual early start (about 1030) with really damp soupy conditions. Having carefully checked both the forecast and the radar I opted to leave my rain suit behind (bet you can't see this coming). The ride to Erie went rather well. We did take a bit of the long way around because of traffic predictions, but not too far, and it seems that in this case, Google maps was right on the money. We were able to circumvent a lot of the traffic, this being Roar on the Shore. About half way there the clouds broke up, the mist burned off and it was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride. On the way I hit a new milestone on my bike 55,555.5 miles @ 55 mph.
Needless to say there were bikes everywhere. I'm sure the regular residents of Erie are about sick of motorcycle traffic, but everyone seemed courteous enough and people were behaving civilly. We made it to Presque Isle (a peninsula that separates the harbor in Erie from the main part of Lake Erie) about 1 pm and took our time cruising the entire perimeter. The Peninsula is several miles long and features two light houses (one of which is reported to be haunted), a wildlife refuge, a houseboat community and ten public beaches. We made several stops just to take in the views and of course a bathroom stop is always a must with the 50+ crowd. We even walked onto the beach to check it out. Mark was amazed that such a large body of water was not salt water.
|Arby's for lunch|
We got out of the city without any major issues and were cruising along very nicely when ahead in the distance we saw some very ominous clouds. Now according to the forecast, that was not supposed to happen. We went a little further and the roads were wet, as though a storm had just come through. A little further and we started to get rained on. I started looking for somewhere to pull off so those who had rain gear (I opted to leave mine at camp) could don it. In the mean time Jay, Scott and Kevin pulled over on their own in the worst of the rain to break it out. By the time I found a place to pull off, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out. We pulled into the parking lot of a business that was closed for renovations and waited for the others to catch up. They then went right by us waving and in some sort of game of biker leap frog went on down the road before pulling over to wait for us.
We finally all got back together and were pretty happy that for the most part the storm had passed through already. Had we been a half hour earlier we would have been in the teeth of it, and what a storm it apparently was. There were lots of signs of tree damage and huge amounts of water pooling or running off.. As we're cruising along counting ourselves lucky, I realized that we were actually catching up to the storm. We could see the rain in the distance. So, we decided to pull into a closed car dealership to give it a chance to move on. We consulted our radar and figured if we gave it about 15 minutes and didn't ride too fast, we should be able to stay behind it.
We did just that and for once we guessed right. The storm moved on leaving lots of wet roads and plenty of debris from trees in the road, but the sun came back out and all was good. Once the weather cleared it was a very pleasant ride and my mind was already anticipating some time around the fire on our last night here.
We got to within 6 miles or so of the camp and traffic came to a complete stop. it seems part of a very large tree had been damaged in the storms last night (the one this afternoon did not pass through our cabin area) and had decided to give way just moments before we arrived there and was completely blocking the road. We, along with a couple of other bikers, a truck driver, and a guy in a pickup went up to see if we could move enough of it to get part of one lane open. We started bending and breaking limbs and actually got enough that bikes could have passed, but just then the cavalry arrived in the form of a couple of guys from the fun park down the road on a gator with two chain saws. They started cutting and we started dragging the limbs to the bank on the side of the road. We were able to get one lane cleared and the guys with the saws decided that that would have to be good enough because the way the main part of the tree was laying, it would be too dangerous to try and cut it up. They decided to leave that to the professionals.
While all this was going on, traffic continued to back up. Most waited patiently or turned around seeking an alternate route. Of course there's always one butt munch who has be the exception. Sadly it was a biker from the Legion Riders (a generally good class of people) who practically ran us down to get through before we even finished clearing a lot of debris from the lane. I don't know his name, and didn't catch his post #, but let me just say, THANKS FOR THE HELP BROTHER! I hope you made it to where ever you were going on time and your beer didn't get warm! Just as the guys from the park were leaving the local Fire Dept. arrived with their chainsaws and started really making light work of the remaining tree.
We finally got back to the cabin about an hour later than anticipated, happy to be able to get into some cooler clothes and get some supper. We all just had leftovers so we won't have too much to take back home with us tomorrow. We enjoyed some time around the camp fire, watched a little TV and even sprung for a night of air conditioning (it's $10 extra a day) since it's so humid.
Tomorrow we put another Wild Hogs Adventure in the books and head home. While we always have a good time on these trips, it also always good to get home.