I was able to leave work around 4:30pm and headed north out of downtown Detroit to go pick up Karen, who had escaped her employer around 4pm. The rain in a huge system heading northeast had already arrived in the greater Detroit Metropolitan area so I donned the rainsuit for the trip out to Karen’s.
A quick check of traffic (I love the Google Maps app on my iPhone) revealed I75 north to be its usual parking-lot state so I rode up Woodward Avenue to Royal Oak. Karen was already changing into her leathers and put on her rainsuit while her parents joked about there being “dryer modes of transportation”. Aren’t they hilarious? 🙂
The weather radar showed a steady line of rain down to Toledo, Ohio, but then a break between that and another long line of heavy rain near Cleveland. Lurking off to the southwest of Youngstown, Ohio was another string of nasty yellow and red on the radar image, denoting some heavier weather that was slowly marching towards our path to the Pittsburgh area. It looked like it was going to be a dicey ride.
Heading south on I75, we encountered heavy traffic near downtown where there are a few places where flooding is typical during heavy rain. After clearing downtown Detroit, however, the weather and traffic both cleared up a bit and we made relatively good time down to Toledo, where the heavy rain started again in earnest.
We stopped for gas as the last exit before the I80 Ohio Turnpike. I took the opportunity to put my set of soft lowers on the engine guards, which would keep my already-wet feet a little warmer. While we had installed the necessary headset equipment in Karen’s helmet, we weren’t using the intercom since the control unit (Chatterbox CB-60) is not water resistant. (Metaphorically speaking, the CB-60 is extremely non-confrontational when it comes to any kind of weather. It won’t even use harsh language, much less resistance.) Lacking an intercom, communication was rare aside from Karen giving me a squeeze every now and again.
Aside: having a passenger is not at all bad.
About 10 miles east of Toledo the rain stopped. The bands of ominous, dark, low-lying clouds spoke of more rain to come but it never materialized. About 30 miles later the clouds parted to reveal a deepening blue sky with the last vestiges of sunlight making the high-altitude clouds a faint pink. Getting out of the cloud system also brought about a healthy rise in temperature. The result was totally unexpected; it had turned into a fairly nice night.
While we weren’t even close to being out of gas, I stopped at the Brady’s Leap turnpike plaza to top off the gas tanks and get some food. It was after 9pm already so the Sbarro was already closed, leaving the only choice a McDonalds whose staff was scrambling to handle a busload of high school students that had arrived five minutes before us.
Happy happy, joy joy.
It was an atypically long wait for what is billed as fast food, but we obtained sustenance and made out way back out to the bike.
It was only another 75 minutes to Warrendale, Pennsylvania, a convenient stopping point that leaves Mitch and Kathy’s within easy striking distance for a Friday ride. We did get a little more rain just before getting off the highway, but it wasn’t nearly as nasty as when the ride had started.
Between the ride into work, out to Karen’s and then back through Detroit and down the road, the total distance for the day was 340 miles. The Cruiser is running well and seems happy to be back on tour.
The following route map is incomplete and doesn’t show our final destination of Warrendale, PA. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. The track in my Trials application stopped logging for some reason; I know not why.