The center of the on-coming storm stayed right down the highway centerline, so I knew it was just a matter of minutes before I would get wet. And it looked bad! It was one of those ominous looking, dark, wall clouds, so I was happy to take the Covington, IN, exit of I-74, just before the IL border.
I love these little country towns. I immediately scoped out Snoddy’s Mill Grill where I could hole up with a coffee cup until the storm passed, but I took another minute to swing around the courthouse block. What a great little, vibrant, country town; I could spend some time here.
Just in time, I pulled into the shelter of a car wash. Next door, at the Valero station, Cindy, behind the counter, said it is going to be a bad one with hail predicted. She said Skip wouldn’t mind me being in his carwash—“as a matter of fact, that’s Skip right there; he just pulled up.” I went out, introduced myself to Skip, and for the next 30 minutes we were telling each other our life history. He offered me some fancy cleaning towels and cleaner to wipe down my bike. I declined, thinking it was going to get wet and dirty when the rain passed. He was especially appreciative of my instructions on how to measure the height of a tall tree he needed to take down in his yard. He was fascinated with my trip so he wanted a photo of Boxxer in his car wash to show his wife.
The speech cadence and mannerisms of rural Hoosiers is very familiar, of course, and I can easily drop back in, sounding like I am from the next town or just right around the corner. Across the street at the Snoddy’s Mill Grill, there was lots of chatter at adjacent tables about the corn crop, herbicide regulations, a weekend motorcycle ride, problems with an International 936 tractor, and some local kids gone astray. Folks at all 6 tables interacted like it was a family re-union. They obviously knew each other and probably everyone else in this small town. The coffee was regular old American brew, but the folks at Snoddy’s were friendly and allowed me to sit and wait out the storm.
It didn’t hail, but it rained hard. I left Snoddy’s Mill Grill and stepped back to the car wash. Skip was gone, but under the bungee cord across my travel bag were two nice cleaning cloths, each wrapped in their individual cellophane packages. Bless his heart; I guess he figured I would need them somewhere down the road.
The weather radar on my iPhone showed it should be clearing soon, so I suited up with rain gear and headed out of the car wash into a steady drizzle. Darn it, forgot to clean my visor. Within 5 miles it fogged and the exterior wouldn’t peal the rain. By the time I pulled off at the next exit, I could see through a spot the size of a nickel with my left eye. I sprayed the visor with some antifog from my tank bag, pulled out one of Skip’s fancy towels and wiped it down, then hit the road again. Great! I had 95% visibility through the drizzle. 20 miles further, breaking skies, and a sign to Peoria: 110 miles. I will be dry again by the time I get there.