Day 36: Fergus Falls to an insane thunder storm

July 14
We have more posts coming but since we couldn’t share our near-death experience with our non-conversational waitress, it felt important to share.

There’s this story I heard growing up: this guy was drowning in a lake and a man comes up to him on a boat and asks if he wants help. The drowning man replies that he is waiting for God to save him. The man in the boat left. Two more people come and try and help the man, they receive the same response.

The man dies and goes to heaven. He asks God why he didn’t save him. God replies that he had sent 3 people to rescue him, but he was too dumb to climb in the boat.

This story comes into play. However we’re still alive.

Things to know so you think that we’re not as dumb as this story will show we are: we have had bad weather forecasted for the past week; the radar will say that it is raining over us, but it will be dry; the radar will say that it is 75 and sunny, but it will be cold and overcast and even raining; we have yet to have bad rain or storms while riding; this all led up to today.

Last night we were hanging out with a cool camper family we’ll tell you about later, they asked us if they should put on their tarp and I said yes looking at the radar it seemed as if it would rain all night.

No, it didn’t rain, it was just windy.

We got up and looked at the weather channel’s iphone app, it looked like there was a break in the weather. Sure there were some darker colors, even some yellows and oranges. But no severe weather warnings.

We headed into Fergus Falls and found a bakery, had some donuts and coffee. Some of the locals warned of bad weather. What did they know?

We stopped to fill up water at a Taco John’s (Amy had potato oles) and talked to some more locals who were very friendly and encouraging.

The sky did look pretty scary and there might have been some rumblings in the back ground. But we continued on. There was a town about 15 miles out and we had the winds to our back, so if we had to stop we could.

This proved to be a poor plan. It started lightly raining and rumblings became a bit more frequent. We passed a quad of youngish bike tourists crossing the opposite direction and quickly chatted about the routes both ways. The rain picks up and we part ways.

Yes, it was raining and there was some thunder, but this didn’t dampen our spirits. We pulled over after 10 minutes of increased down pour to put on our rain jackets. A truck pulls over and asks what way we’re going, Fargo, he’s not. We say we’re fine and he asks if we’d seen the radar and offers to looks at his. Nate does, but we no longer trust radars at this point.

The man wishes us well and we depart and so does he in the other direction.
Ah that the story would have ended with us getting a ride back to Fergus Falls.

So we keep treking forward and the rain picks up and is now coming down pretty hard. The thunder and lightning are getting closer.

We’re going but regretting our decision not to hitch a ride back. It is getting scary and then the booms were really close.

At this point we’re not scared, terrified is more like it. There is no shelter any where in sight and we know we’re on danger. Prayers start coming quick in between bemoaning our idiocy. But there is no choice but to find some where to hide.

A huge thunder boom put me over the top I was near hysterics and Nate had to help us keep pushing forward.

Nate was thinking of psalms that I’m glad he didn’t share with me at the time: the Lord is powerful, who can withstand His strength. You can’t help but think of the power of the Almighty when in the midst of a thunder storm.

We see a larger clump of trees and pull over and set up a temporary shelter.

In my head I keep on thinking: I think that trees are dangerous. Lightning plus trees equals bad and dangerous. But at that point I was glad to be off the road.

We trudged with our bikes through tall grass and into a cluster of trees. I was officially freaking out and freezing and soaked and miserable, so naturally I broke out in random fits of laughter. Nate pushed the bikes a bit further and got out the footprint tarp and we hunkered down. We sat like this a few minutes then grabbed the emergency blanket and crossed it over our backs. It was still coming down really hard and even picked up a lot. The thunder was close and very scary. We held our breathe each flash or crack.

We got out the iPhone and looked at the satellite and guess what popped up? 2 severe weather warnings. One of the thunder storm we were in and another for flooding. It was about 12:25 at this point and the warning was until 12:45.

Time sort of stopped for us and we hunkered down. We were sitting in water, we were near our metal bikes, we were in the trees and it was terribly dangerous. We were 7 miles from the next town, we were stuck, we were stupid, we were lucky, though luck had nothing to do with it.

At one point Nathan starts singing the Mountain Song I had written and we sang at our wedding. “Hiding out in the rain storms together.” That really made me start to calm down.

After being stuck and getting pelted and knowing we were in danger, it was just sort of like a movie, but we were in it.

After more than an hour of this, the severe rain bands seemed to have moved to the north. We waited for a few more minutes and decided to go for it. It was cold and we were wet and I was shivering.

On the road again, it of course picked up and was an absolutely drenching rain. The roads were beginning to flood and the thunder certainly wasn’t done.

It was funny to me. I don’t know why. But I just laughed and said come on rain. Nate said I reminded him of Lt. Dan in the huge storm in Forrest Gump. We just pushed forward. We finally made it to Rothsay. We were something to look at. The rain was coming down and we made it to the inn just exhausted.

We were alive! There really were times of sheer terror, when Nate thought he’d wake up in the ER or something.

In times under our shelter, I tried not to dream of a warm shower, but now it was just a few doors a way.

We were dripping and at a loss for how to describe our experience to the innkeeper. He asked if we were held back in the 3rd grade to go out in a storm like that. I replied I must have been.

I probably took the longest, hottest shower of my life. Everything was wet, but thankfully there was a washer and dryer.

We were safe. We survived. It is impossible to describe, but hopefully this has started to do the job.

Our other posts are coming, but this just needed to get out there asap.

8 Replies to “Day 36: Fergus Falls to an insane thunder storm”

  1. I completely agree! Thanks for sharing, and I thank God for your perspective b/c somehow at the end of your blog, I really did LOL!

  2. Hi Nathan and Amy,
    This is Tom again (Martha Lent’s brother). What an incredible adventure you both are having! Not sure if you remember Nathan but at the RS21 event where we met I had asked if you had remembered to pack your Passports to which you said “No – how could I have forgotten that” and then pulled out your pad and pencil and made a few notes….. Oh well.
    Just a suggestion on how to get them to you. The Bike shops along the way have been very helpful to you. I am not sure which way you are going from Fargo but Bismark (to the West) and Grand Foks (to the North) have numerous Bike Shops you might contact in advance to see if you can have an overnight letter sent to them on your behalf (signature verified so you know who recieved it). Would not tell them it is a passport however. Hopefully they would be glad to help as they would also welcome any business you might bring them for biking supplies you may need.
    Good luck!

  3. hahaahh I dont know why but I feel the need to just laugh at this. But I am surely glad you are alive. i am.. just still laughing.

  4. Ya’ll iz crazy, yo. (Nutt’n but luv for ya.)

    We had a crazy storm here last night, actually. There was one strike that must have been within a hundred feet of the house. Freaking scary! Knocked the internet out.

    Thanks for the hat!!! Gophers!!! And the coasters!!! Woo-hoo!

  5. Wow that really is an adventure one you would probaly been able to do without but somehow I think it only makes your story better:)

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