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Riding and Wild Weather, Any Personal Experiences?


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Even here in Massachusetts tornadoes touched down and did some damage. Nothing by Joplin, MO standards, but still, this only happens once in a lifetime up this way. Shortly after the tornadoes passed, I was driving up 91 toward Springfield (I work in Hartford, CT) and I saw motorcyclists heading south, away from Springfield, MA, and I wondered what they saw or experienced while on their motorcycles.


Has the unusually wild weather (if in fact, that's what it is) had any effect on your riding? Any encounters with wild weather while on two wheels? Has the turn toward the wild side in our weather factored into anyone's ride plans? Anyone plan on touring Missouri or Oklahoma anytime soon?

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Paul Mihalka

Well, wild weather. On my way to Torrey two weeks ago on Wolf Creek pass in Colorado at about 11.000 feet 35 degrees and actively wiping the snow off my face shield. That's not supposed to happen end of May. Just kept riding, what can you do.

On the way back I did a more southern route and planned a nice day of riding in the Arkansas Ozarks. With all the tornado news going around, I just hightailed it from Oklahoma to eastern Tennessee on I40 skipping Tornado Alley and then spent a extra day of riding from Cherohala Parkway to Smokies to Blue Ridge to get home. That was nice too.

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Do Hurricane feeder bands count?

2 up, driving rain, water over my boots, strong/high gusting wind, on the Interslab?

Trial run w/the Autocom years ago so we had something to talk about.


1st El Paseo takes the cake, I believe wrt this board.

22 inches of snow, in April, some folks couldn't get home due to wind/snow/ice.

It was a great introduction to BMWST.

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Santa Ana winds arrive here sometimes quite unexpectedly. I know... very different, but I don't like them. Over a 30 - 45 minute time it can go from dead calm to 60 - 80 mph winds in the foothills and canyons.


My solution? Park. Someplace very sheltered. :dopeslap:

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ice and snow across the Cumberland plateau on David's Tuono.


Snow in the way to Torrey a few times (including this year when I tried Fish Lake and had to turn around when the road was closed)


116F across the desert.

20F across the desert


40-50mph winds on quite a few rides (it is hilarious when a big tumbleweed hits the RT in front of you at speed)


A couple of nice thunderstorms...including one with lightning way too close on the way to Torrey via Flagstaff.


Several good frog-strangler rain storms.


All part of the fun. (Except that wet, snowy ride on David's Tuono...I've never been so cold and miserable in my life. I was not properly equipped for that weather.


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I should've stayed home more than a few times... but my favorite "wild weather" was about a 50+ mph tail wind on the interstate. Everything went quiet except for the purr of the engine. I felt like I was in a bubble. The return trip however wasn't so good.

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It's exciting to go out and ride just before a hurricane is predicted to hit, the air has an electricity to it you don't find often. And you pretty much have the roads to yourself, all the cagers are backed up at the bridges (there are only five crossing the St. Johns in a hundred miles) trying to evacuate. :thumbsup:



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If you want to ride in snow, just ask me along. I can make it snow in the damndest places and times. Snow is not bad......Ice scares me.

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Peter Parts

Out on my R69s one day. Got caught in an enormous cloud burst. Drove into a flooded railroad underpass right up to my air intake.


Removed the plugs, pumped the cylinders out (they were filled with water) with kick-starter, screwed in plugs, drove home. Took about 25 minutes.


A few weeks ago, after reading my criticism of BMW engineering of the moronic Paralever design, a true BMW-patriot asked why I hang around BMW... not noticing my sig with 45 yrs indicated.


Is this a good answer?*



warm days and cool nights in Toronto. Love my new BT-023's.


*Or is it a plug for magnetos and kick-starters and 1961 models? I road that bike mostly every nice day for 34 yrs.

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Jerry in Monument

May 1980, rode from home at Victor, MT to Visalia, CA to vist my grandmother before she died.


On the trip back, I on my '78GS750 and one brother on his '78GS450, went over Donner Pass from Sacramento to Reno with 6-8" of snow.


We got in the tire tracks behind an 18-wheeler for 30 miles of cold, snowy riding. Once we hit Reno, a hotel and hot shower was the order.


I've ridden in rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail. I'm getting tired of all the wind this season in Colorado. A breeze is nice, gusting winds..... I've had enough.

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Me and Huzband in tropical storm squall bands. Lighting. Driving rain. Gusting winds from 30-50 changing direction every 45-50 seconds. Oh, and semi trailers getting rocked when the wind gusts would hit I remember Danny sitting in a McDonald's, the hole in his boot letting water leak out onto the tile floor down the grout lines.

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More than my share of torrential rains, wind, snow, cold and hot. Probably the worst was riding my 1100S down from Socorro, NM to Tuscon, AZ. I went west on 60 and had an obligatory wedge in Pie Town and then down and hooked up with 180 to ride along the Continental Divide. There was a huge valley to my SE and it was dead full of a thunderstorm that must have had tops above 30K feet. Anyway, I'm rolling along, enjoying the sweepers and it starts to hail. 1 mile later it has covered the road in 1/4" marbles and I'm barely able to maintain 15 mph. I enter a sweeper and passing in front of my bow is a small pickup, doing 'bout 50 mph, backwards and sliding across my path. Brakes were not an option, prayer was and I survived. The next 20 or so miles were pure hell. You don't pull over in a t'storm with you being the highest point around. Creeping along at barely above walking speed for about 5 miles till the hail turned to rain and then slogging through the slush.

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I literally had a bike blown out from under me by a crosswind, when I hit a patch of slippery mud that had been tracked onto the road by a tractor.


Not on a motorcycle (thank god), but in northwestern Saudi Arabia we once sat out a classic sandstorm -- the type they show in the movies, where you see a tan wall of approaching, zero visibility for about 20 minutes, then clear air again.

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same thing last time I went through WC pass... absolutely freezing with snow, riding in the wheel tracks at the summit.



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Wow! Great stories. Man, this is what motorcycling is really all about. These stories separate the posers from the real deal, that's for sure.


Having said that, I don't know that my experiences can hold a candle to most here. I have been caught in snow storms before, but prayer and persistence enabled me to keep going until I passed through them back onto dry roads, and without incident or life threatening encounters. Same with hail storms. Ed's story on his R1100S made my butt pucker when reading about that pickup truck. Hooo-man!


OK, my worse weather related encounter was back in '04 when I rode my RT from MA to Los Angeles. I got to Texarkana (the town on the border of Texas and Arkansas) at about midnight. I kept going and then found myself easily in the thickest fog I ever experience in my life before or since! I couldn't see much more than 10' in front of me. I dared not stop anywhere for fear that I might get pasted from behind by a fast moving vehicle of some sort. I dared not pull over as that might make for a perfect meal for some wolves or bear. All I could do is ride and pray that the roads were clear in front of me.


Finally, an 18 wheeler did pass and I got on his tail. We rode like this for probably 50 miles or so when the fog finally lifted. As I passed him, I tooted my horn in gratitude, and he responded with a horn blast of "you're welcome" :thumbsup: Truly an unforgettable moment for me.

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Guest Kakugo

Had my fair share of wind, thunderstorms etc but probably the worst was a snowstorm at below 3000 ft in May while I was riding to France with a mate. Snow was beginning to stick on the road and my mate cried "let's stop here!". I argued if we stopped there we may as well forget leaving until next day since there wasn't a snowplow in sight and gave a handful of gas. I don't recall exactly how the descent was but I remember stopping under the snowline at a roadside rest area to wait for my mate (in the snowstorm I lost track of him). He arrived more than twenty minutes later and after having a look at how thick snow was falling said I had made a good call.

He chose the road and this was the last confirmation that if he chooses a road it will probably be swamped in traffic, have horrifying tarmac or a snowstorm in May! :grin:

After that I started to be the one planning these trips...

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Mister Tee

The worst weather I rode through on two wheels was actually on a bicycle, not a motorcycle. I got caught in a hail storm, and I was about a half a mile away from the nearest cover (a freeway overpass.) Quarter inch hail on bare skin is VERY painful. The ice also manage to drive itself through the vents in my helmet, giving me a god awful headache. And of course the otherwise 55 degree rain soaking my body, hands and feet now because 32 degrees, causing my hands and feet to go numb, and gave me a mild case of hypothermia.


I managed to ride on ahead to a gas station where I could warm my hands and feet by putting them in warm water, which got me to a point where I could make it home. After I got home, it took a couple hours under big layers of blankets before I stopped shivering.

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I only ride in terrible weather: remember the death storms across the southeast at the end of April? We rode through them. Hail hurts when it hits your pinkie. Waterproof gear is an oxymoron in that sort of downpour.


Talimena Parkway in zero-viz fog, anyone?


On the way home from AR, temps above 100, stop and go traffic on Interstate for, I swear, more than 100 miles.


Or, going to W. Va., temps soar above 104 for hundreds of miles, humidity 400%.


Torrey XXI: high winds, oh, wait, now super-high crosswinds, oh, wait, now a dust storm super-high crosswinds, oh, wait, next morning snow and rain.


Basically, if you live in central Texas, you have a minimum 750 miles of grueling riding to get to more salubrious climes. But every bit of the gruel is worth it, every time, and frankly, is more memorable and discussed than, say Glen Canyon. Well, maybe not more memorable.


The motorcycle corollary to the old rule:


That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but you have a crick in your neck.



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cris nitro

Several years ago, me on my Road King and 6 buddies were doing a long weekend on the Finger Lakes. We left a winery around 2:00pm and rode right into one of the worst summer thunderstorm I've seen. We're on a two lane road trying to get back to our cabins and the wind was blowing sideways pushing us over to the shoulder. Fortunately, they were no cars around as we slowed down to crawling speed trying to keep our bikes upright. I was at such a lean angle trying to keep from being blown into the ditch that I was momentarily deciding if I souled keep leaning left and lowside on the road or try to gently guide it into the ditch. I was able to keep it upright and on the road , thank god. One guy turned a little so the wind was at his back and the detachable windshield on his King flow off and went 30' into the hayfield. We all stopped and huddled under a little tree until it blew thru.

Funny now, but scary for about 30 seconds.

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In Alaska a few years ago we were on a dirt road when it started raining hard. Just when the mud was 4 or 5 inches deep it started to hail. I came away that with bruised ribs and a sprained ankle.

Two days later, forest fire. Never saw flames but rode through smoke for several hours.

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