Up at 4AM CDT. Underway shortly after 6AM. It's a relatively cool, foggy morning and the radar is showing very little activity. Yesterdayís rain is history. Iím glad I wore my rubber pants then, but not today. I did don my rain liner for the jacket, both for warmth and protection from the moisture. Itís going to be a long day, and the further west I get the sooner I get out of this rain system that has been blocking my way since leaving home. The weather will get more active as the day goes on. This is an example of the standing water after all the rain yesterday.
It is turning into an interesting ride. As I watch the rain increase I try to time my arrival at the most benign areas and duck for cover before the heavy cells. This is very similar to navigating an airplane through active weather, only harder: when Iím on an interstate, Iím on a fixed path, no course changes until the next exit. I can only vary my speed. I made a bad decision east of Mobile to pass up the last exit before the tunnel. If I had stopped there i would have avoided heavy, dark red (level 4) rain for the long overwater highway where there are no stopping points. As it was, the tunnel was my only relief until well past downtown Mobile. My speed is being adjusted according to the following priorities: space between me and the other traffic; the radar picture, and the general movement of the storm cells; the lighter ares of rain (green or yellow); and, lastly, the suggested speed limit.
This is what I see with my eyes at this radar stop, low ceiling, poor visibility, and fog.
Iíve had 2 extended stops at gas stations so far, taking up space at a pump while the heavier rain moved on. This seems to be working well. A couple of other attention getters are showing up now. Oneís the standing water and ponding on the road surface, and the other is the road construction...uneven surfaces, or, edge traps. Itís all good: keeping my attention on the job at hand. Iím more comfortable today without my rubber pants (really Goretex), even though Iím getting a little wet. Yesterday I still got wet, and I was much more uncomfortable.
I make another gas stop for weather, and I see that it is beginning to clear up. I leave the radar ON during these stops so I can analyze the movement. Now Iím coming to better weather and the weather behind me has changed its direction. It has been drifting NE for the last 3 days, and now, near Lafayette, LA , its moving westward, chasing me! If I can stay ahead of the weather I wonít need another fuel stop before my destination for the night, Beaumont, TX.
Before leaving Louisiana I stop to have a roadside chat with a Deputy Sheriff. Actually, he stopped me, and we talked mostly about motorcycles. I showed him on the radar what was motivating me to be so hasty, and we chatted a few more minutes before he sent me on my way, unmolested!
The GPS moving time was only 6.6 hours with an average speed of 70.4 MPH, but there was 3 or 4 hours of weather delays. Still, a decent dayís run of 466 miles.