Into each day, a little rain must fall.
The decision: head back to I-80 to cross Iowa & Nebraska or continue south to pick up I-70 in Kansas. A quick check of the weather forecasts made the decision easy: late in the afternoon there was potential for thunderstorms in central Nebraska. (Nebraska’s helmet law made have swayed me also, but I don’t want to start that debate again.)
There was a downside to turning south: Missouri. Every previous trip thru Missouri has been unpleasant – bad weather and cold or unfriendly people. The southern route would require only a short time in Missouri and the weather forecast was clear. Ultimately the trip thru Missouri and into Kansas went well: the weather matched the forecast and I even met a friendly biker during my only fuel stop – I tried hide my surprise when he struck up a conversation.
The traffic around Kansas City was heavy traffic, but it cleared quickly. I-70 in Kansas is not exciting but it is a smooth easy ride. The only thing slowing me down was the burning sun: I had put on sunscreen, but it was only SPF 30 – in the midwest, on a hot, sunny day, SPF 30 is not enough and I bear the marks.
Early in the afternoon, I decided to stop in Hays, and booked a hotel; since I had saved money the prior night, I decided I could splurge a little for a more convenient location and decent internet connection.
About 80 miles east of Hays, the sun finally gave me a break, ducking behind the clouds. Unfortunately, they were dark, ominous clouds. When I pulled into a rest stop, about 65 miles from my destination, I found out just what those clouds were packing: heavy rain & hail with wind gusts up to 70 MPH for extra fun. This storm was supposed to be in Nebraska, what was it doing here?!?
I decided to wait it out at the rest stop and, over the next hour the front moved through the area. Even though it had been rough in some areas, at the rest stop there were just occasional bursts of rain and some serious wind. After about an hour of waiting, I made a break for Hays. Behind the front with there were a few scattered showers, but it was only heavy for a few minutes and I was already prepared.
I would happier if I was spending the night on the other side of the Colorado border, but it was still a good day of riding, even with the rain. Tomorrow, I need to make Cortez, CO to keep the current schedule on track.