This blog will sadly be picture free.
When we woke up this morning, we turned into the Weather Channel to see what we were up against for our drive back into Florida. Today was the first day of Hurricane Season, and it was determined to start on time.
As we watched the forecast, it seemed like if we wanted to get out of the Keys, today would have to be the day. An array of nasty storms were on the way, and if we got caught, we wouldn't be leaving for a week!
So against our better judgement, we put on our rain suits and hopped on our bikes.
When we started, it looked like a little drizzle. Hey, I can drive in drizzle. Then the warnings came.
Our fancy and schmantzy GPS's are both equiped with live weather and traffic. We were on the road all of ten minutes when the warnings started to arrive. "Storm warning for the Seven Mile Bridge", "Storm Warning for Duck Key". (Yes, it is called "Duck Key", so they residents are "Ducky")
We drove down the road that had been so inviting two days earlier, and watched it dissolve into the rain and fog. Still, we were commited to our exodus, so we kept on rolling.
The skys got darker, the rain more fierce, but we kept at it. I think we were both afraid to stop for fear that if we got caught we'd be spending a lot of quality time in the Florida Keys.
Initially, my rain gear held up pretty well. A little drop of water here and there, but nothing too bad. But once water wicks under a rain suit, its pretty much game over. In my case, my helmet required me to keep the flip face slightly open to keep it from fogging. The by product was that water was getting into my helmet.
This of course caused the water to wick down my neck, into my jack, and to soak my shirt. For once, the infamous Florida heat served a useful purpose, and the water was relatively warm.
Paul and I made our way down through to Key Largo, but Paul kept going. I was good on gas so I continued behind him for the next thirty miles until we were off the Keys and a good way towards Miami!
When we finally pulled over for gas, I asked Paul why he kept going. Like me, he didn't want to get trapped in the middle of tropical storm Barry, so he kept going as long as his gas held out.
We refueled and I dried off the best I could. My "Frogg Toggs" rain gear had done pretty well other than letting the water in from my helmet, and Paul and I plotted our course. We'd head to Palm Beach, and if we were really lucky, Fort Pierce, which is about sixty miles further North.
Off again into the weather we went.
For the first twenty miles, our route took us through every stop light between the Keys and Miami. The only thing worse than driving a motorcycle in the rain is stopping every 500 feet for a stop light! Still, we were upright, relatively warm, and the rain had let up a wee bit.
It wasn't long before the dark clouds rolled in, and we were rolling through a heavy storm. Thank God for rain gear and XM Radio or I don't think I could have made it.
After seven hours on the road with only one break, we finally came to our senses. We looked up and saw that we had indeed arrived in Palm Beach! And as if by magic, there was the Radisson Hotel, Palm Beach. All that mattered was getting dry.
Which gets us to where we are tonight. We got into the room, discovered a pretty kick-ass internet connection, and put on some dry clothes. Will tomorrow bring more storms, or will tropical storm Barry give us a break? I will let you know soon!