Roger took me over to Wooster (20 miles East) to pick up my old bike yesterday afternoon (1983 GL 1100, undressed) from All Seasons (I had the brakes fixed before handing her over to her new owner). We knew a storm was coming from the West and on the way back we would be riding into it. We assert our manliness, no cowards, not us, as we decided we could get back before it hit. I ride my trusty old iron horse (she has over a 100k on her) on highway 30. Its hot and humid and she is purring. While I dont deny my new found love for Isabella, I am reminded why I loved this black beauty and how well she treated me for over thirty thousand miles sweet miles from South Carolina to Vermont. She is moving fast heading into the storm we dont see yet. Roger follows in his heavy SUV, puffing on a Romeo y Julieta, confident and safe. I am happy on my steed as we come over the last hill before turning off on the 60 to head North to Ashland. And then the black nothingness is upon us and a ton of water is emptied on me on the off ramp. I stop, as do all cars around us, I cannot turn North toward home. It is not possible. So I turn left toward Hayesville. There is a gas station 100 yards away, maybe I can make it. Thirty yards from the station the trees begin bend deep, and ten yards in front of me things are flying in the air, large things--a top of a barn maybe and a very large trampoline--and I cannot hold the bike as I brace into the wind. Things spin. I stop. I hold the bike upright, barely. Stay with her, I think, she is fat and heavy and her weight might save you, as you save her. The wind gods are angry and I am glad that there is nothing to my right but alfalfa fields. Nothing flying from there, but everywhere else chaos, tree limbs and stuff pushed and shoved about without mercy. We spend minutes waiting and gripping on the edge of things. I can barely see from the water and wind. Finally I move toward the building thinking I will lay her down and save her, and then go in and save myself (should have looked for a ditch, of course!). As I approach, a bearded man screams at me and waves, put her here, it is safe! So I do, between two buildings she will be safer, next to his pretty Harley. We hustle in and we are out of water in the dark room with the other refugees. Roger joins us. The storm lets up, we leave the bike, drive home, and count our selves lucky. I see that Rogers cigar-end is well chewed, understandably. This morning Christopher Burkett--he now owns the bike--helps me pick up the bike (in the rain) as we discover that a tornado had indeed touched down, and most buildings in Hayesville were damaged, still no electricity, and trees are in the streets still. What a mess. What luck. What an adventure! Got home dripping wet, told Johnny and Becky that cats were barking, and cows were flying, and started talking about other unnatural things, but then I realized that there was no reason to exaggerate about the unruly day and those unnatural troubles. The truth would do for any storyteller. I can tell you I especially enjoyed the nutty aroma of my Henry Clay that night, and understood why Kipling said he liked the Clay’s calming effect.