Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Days 35-37

*&@#!!! Waiting out another cut-off low pressure system: Hill City – May 19-21

Sunday May 19, 2013

Before this ride, I don’t think I’d ever heard the term “cut-off low”. Or if I had, I’d never paid much attention. It is a term I am now all too familiar with. It refers to a low pressure system that gets cut off from the jet stream and therefore doesn’t go anywhere. It just sits and spins in place, whipping nasty weather at whomever happens to be on the back side of the anti-clockwise winds. It will sit in place until another, stronger pressure system finally moves it on.

A cut-off low saw me stuck in Lincoln for three days. This cut-off low will see me stuck in Hill City for three days. At the start of it all, it looked like I would just have to sit out one day of wind, rain and 40-45 F temps. In the end, it turns out to be three. Three very frustrating days.

But I play it safe. I consider 20+mph winds, cold rain, and temps in the low 40s F to be a hypothermia trifecta – not something very safe to ride in if you can avoid it. Besides, further north, at higher elevations, it’s actually snowing. My family and friends have confidence in me because I generally make safe decisions when I ride, so I’m not going to do anything to shatter that confidence. I don’t want them worrying about me on future trips just because I did something stupid on this one.

So I wait it out. In the motel. I don’t even glance at the blow-out of the accommodation budget – that’s too depressing. I just focus on knowing that I’m warm, dry and safe. The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma tears through the lives of many in that town, so again I feel incredibly fortunate that I am safe and healthy. I count my blessings and focus on the positive, even though there is very little in this town to occupy a gal in the off-season. I don’t own a TV at home, so I think I watch more in three days than I probably have in the past two years. C’mon, let’s get on the road!

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