Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 20

Highway 81 near Watertown, NY

Highway 81 near Watertown, NY

Day 20 of my motorcycle road trip, and this was a tough day. I’d been dodging thunderstorms for several days now. Leaving Palmyra, New York this morning, I knew there were thunderstorms in the area. Since I got somewhat off-track yesterday, my first goal was to get onto Highway 104. As I approached Oswego, NY the skies ahead started to look very dark. Not just cloudy dark, but night dark. Within minutes it started to rain very hard. I pulled into a MacDonalds Restaurant to put on my motorcycle rain suit, and to check my iPhone’s MyRadar Weather App to see how bad it looked.

The storm system covered most of eastern Lake Ontario, including New York State and even into Canada. Unfortunately, there was no getting around this major storm system. So, I was back on my motorcycle, headed out into the rain. I got about 1/2 mile when the rain was so hard I couldn’t see, and the strong wind was blowing me across the road. All of a sudden, the black sky lit up with a huge thunderbolt. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. I had just passed another MacDonalds on the east side of Oswego, so I turned around and headed for cover. As I tromped in, I left a huge trail of water behind me. I bought some breakfast, found a table, and once again checked out the weather radar. Unfortunately, it looked like if I was going to wait it out, I could be here all day. As a lake of water formed under my table, I began searching for a hotel in case I had to spend the night in Oswego.

 


 

After about an hour, the weather radar showed a small hole in the storm was approaching me. It wasn’t much, but it looked like I might get a short break. I had planned to take Highway 104 to Mexico (the city, not country), then Highway 3 north to the Thousand Islands. I was even considering taking the ferry across into Canada, rather than the bridge. This would have been a slow, but very beautiful motorcycle ride. At the moment, this route didn’t look very promising. My best chance was to stay on Highway 104 until I reached Highway 81, then head north to Waterford, NY. Even if that was all I achieved for the day, I would have at least put on some miles.

My motorcycle rain suit was still wet as I headed back out into the rain. It was slow riding, but it wasn’t raining very hard. This time I got about 10 to 15 miles before I rode back into the torrential rain, thunder and lightening. Once again I stopped at, you guessed it, another MacDonalds. I had at least made it to Mexico. I bought a bottle of water, and found a table to wait for another break in the storm.

My Frogg Toggs’ rain suit did a wonderful job of keeping me dry. However, it also did a wonderful job of holding enough water to form another big puddle under my table. Fortunately, everyone seemed quite sympathetic to my situation and just smiled at me as they walked around the puddle, and my table. After about 1-1/2 hours, I noticed another break in the storm heading my way. From the weather radar, I guessed it should reach me in about 20 minutes. Just as predicted, the rain slowed down, and I was once again on the road. My goal was to make it to Highway 81, and hopefully a few more hours of riding before being back into the storm system. When I finally stopped for lunch in Waterford, there was actually a little blue sky showing. So, after a quick lunch, I decided to press on to Montreal, Quebec and into Canada.

Just before reaching the Canadian border, the heavy rain started again. What should have been a scenic drive, turned into mostly watching the road in front of me. As I crossed the bridge into Canada, it was raining so hard I couldn’t even see what was under the bridge. One nice thing about traveling on a motorcycle, people seem to be especially friendly and nice to you. Today was no exception. I was lined up at the border crossing in one of several rows of cars, behind about 6 cars. I noticed the custom’s guard look back at me as he handed a passport back to the current car he was processing. In what seemed like seconds, at most a few minutes, he had processed all of the cars in front of me. I was now at the front of the line. I’m sure the people in the other lines, where at most a single car had been processed in that time, were wishing they were in my lane. After a few quick questions, and a comment that I had a nice motorcycle for a cross country tour, I was on my way.

The ride along the Trans Canada highway continued to be heavy rain, but at least no thunder and lightening. As I reached Montreal, the sky started to clear up a little. With all the highway and road signs now in French, I decided it would be best to stop and plan out the route to the house of my friends Jack and Christine. That didn’t keep me from getting lost once, but by late afternoon I had finally made it to my destination for the next day.

As you can see, I didn’t take many pictures today. It was raining too hard. If you looked through my previous photos, you probably noticed that my BMW R1200RT motorcycle and/or helmet regularly show up in my photos. A friend joked that he didn’t believe I was really going on this trip, and was just going to download trip photos from the internet. He said that I needed to have pictures with my motorcycle to prove I was really there.

 

Road Trip – Previous and Next Day Posts

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 19

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Days 21

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 1

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