OK, last post for awhile, I can hear my boys wanting to play Legos with me.
So, I got a not so restful night's sleep and woke up. Quickly rose out of bed and...
sure enough, snow on the ground. But it didn't look like too much and the roads looked clear. I started to feel better. Not great, but better. I still had a very nervous feeling in my stomach, but I thought I'd be OK.
So I had breakfast and gave it an hour or so to get light out. Jumped on the bike and headed out of Bozeman.
Now, I didn't know much about Bozeman, but turns out, it sits a little lower than the surrounding area and in fact, just 15 minutes or so out of town the highway starts to climb.
So I climbed a bit in elevation. Now the cloud ceiling was already low. Now I was climbing up into the clouds... until finally we met.
And in a blink of the eye, I was in a whiteout! You had got to be kidding me!
So the highway led into a mountain pass, and conditions went from a little snow on the ground to a no kidding snow storm. Huge flakes of snow were coming down. The snow on the sides of the road started to show more and more drifts and chunks from where the plows had been busy all night keeping clear! The speed limit was 75, but I had already slowed down to about 45...
The big rigs started to pass me. The slush and snow on the road were terrible. I was freaking out. Every time I got passed, the trucks would spray shit all over me. My helmet visor was covered with an inch of ice and I had to keep it flipped up, but quickly flip it down when passed and then hurry up and flip it back up after I was passed as I couldn't see anything but a blur through the ice. This was ridiculous. I couldn't turn around. There were mountain cuts / hillside cliffs on my right and a snow filled median to my left! No exits! I had now slowed down to about 25 mph and had both feet dragging on the ground in a wide stance in case my front tire slid out.
Now at 25 mph I wasn't too worried about going down. Yeah it would hurt for sure, but I had on tons of protective gear and layers of jackets to keep me warm. I'd survive a fall. However, what really worried me was the traffic behind me rolling over me like one big chunk of snow! I was pissing my pants.
So, 15 minutes out of the hotel I hit this... and 15 more minutes I was at the top of the pass... Now controlling your speed going up hill is easy... just lay off the throttle. Now I was going down hill and I had to down shift to keep slow. And the back tire would just slide around. THERE WAS NO WAY I SHOULD STILL BE UPRIGHT! I should have been laying in a ditch. And then I saw... what is that... something glowing... a stop light??? no... those are police lights... Off in the distant fog and clouds of the storm I could barely make out a police car in the middle of the road. What the hell? Was the highway closing? Was there going to be an exit I could pull off? Nope! There was a jack knifed tractor trailer off the shoulder and half way on the road. Great, now I had to change lanes and move over to the fast lanes. I had no mirrors either, as they were both splattered and covered with frozen slush from the passing rigs. And I couldn't turn to look behind me as I would surely crash. So... just start to ease over a bit...
And as quickly as it started... I broke out into the clear. Yep, that's it. I pulled over and looked around in disbelief. The top of the pass was completely engulfed in clouds. I was now in the clear. This was too much for me to take in. I thought to myself, I would not be able to do this again. So I chiseled off the ice, got back on the bike and called my wife. I ask her, calmly, to please get on the computer and see if she could google earth some elevation maps for the highway I was on. She was like "What?" I just said please do it.
Well it turns out, I would be fine the rest of the day. The passes were all low and the weather was behind me. So, the question now was, "Do I continue to try and head into WY. It would mean a right turn, head south for 35 minutes, hit the border and turn back to get to the highway where I started. About an hour and a half. I had hoped the weather wouldn't catch me and decided to finish what I had started. I headed to the WY border...
PA Slammer screwed with this post 12-12-2012 at 03:36 PM