Holy crap. Three days into Minnesota and I’ve got some serious new experiences. Day one was pretty typical: 95 degree heat, back country roads, state campground. That would be it for typical.
I’ve biked thru the Buffalo winters, I’ve biked sweltering 110 degree heat and I’ve biked in Vermont rains, but I’ve never experienced what the land of 10,000 lakes had in store for me.
Day 2 here had me waking to hard rains and 50 mph windgusts beating against my tent. After waiting for it to subside a bit, I broke camp and escaped to a nearby covered shelter. Finally hitting the road at about noon, lightning, thunder, rain and hail kept me company most of the day. About 5pm I saw my first ever tornado in the distance! It wasn’t super close, but close enough to make me crap my pants and pop for my first hotel of the trip. The weather channel later confirmed my sighting.
Day three made day two feel like kindergarten. I got out early as I had 90 miles in front of me. Cloudy, light rain, not too bad. About 2pm I stopped for lunch and the clouds broke, giving me some much welcomed sunshine. After lunch the clouds came back. By 3pm it was nearly dark. Then the end of the world came. An amazing deluge of water, accompanied by 65mph gusts overcame me. No amount of raingear could save me and unfortunately I was on a bike trail between towns. No shelter anywhere so pushed on. Trees began snapping everywhere and I couldn’t see 5 feet in front of me. Finally after 15-20 minutes (it felt like an eternity) I found a rest stop and got out of it. Cars on the nearby interstate even had to stop and when I walked in the crowded place of refuge, I instantly became the center of attention, thoroughly soaked and squishing with each step across the place. Amazingly, the whole thing passed in 40 minutes, after which the sun took it’s triumphant place in a clear blue sky, drying me off on remaining 35 miles into the aptly named St Cloud. The damage I saw along the trail proved just how powerful the storm was: trees were ripped out of the ground, roots and all!
A lot of people say they “only fear god” when trying to demonstrate how fearless they are. Even if thats true, I wonder if they have ever feared god the way I saw it all unfold these two days. As my man Billy Drease told me, “the true power of nature, no CGI”.