Wow, SiouxsieCat, I'm so sorry about your machine but glad you walked away! Troidus said a "mouthful" about Great Plains riding and I got a real lesson out there a couple of times. On May 7, 2007, I left Denver, CO on my '07 K12 GT heading fo Hays, KS. The wind was really blowing out of the SSW and, after crossing Pena Blvd, it really picked up. I found out from a trucker at a rest area, it was gusting to 65 mph. Frankly, I was terrified. By the time I got to Hays around 5:30 PM, it had died down. About 4 hours later, Greensburg, KS, some 90 miles south, was devastated by an F5 tornado.
Two years ago, I left Van Horn, TX heading west with a 30-35 mph (my estimate) wind out of the SW. The temp was 70°.
Crossing the mountains just west of town, I saw this:
There was no rain, just wind. When I entered that cloud of dust, the temperature plummeted to 40° in less than five miles and I had to slow to 35 mph as the winds gusted to 70 mph (El Paso weather report that evening). My '09 GSA didn't like that and neither did I!