TransAmerica Trail Riders Get Caught In A Kansas Storm

Taste some humble pie and admit you're wrong when you lead your boys into a Kansas storm

Humble Pie:

Sometimes dads should listen more to their kids. Or eat humble pie.

Growing up a coastal California boy—a place where we celebrate anything as weather-ish as a clap of thunder—I didn’t know Kansas could become so instantaneously petulant.

On a mid-June muggy 102-degree afternoon in Liberal, Kansas—one storm cloud away from Oklahoma—we blogged within the confines of an air-conditioned gas station convenience store (pro-tip for the stink sweaty TAT motorcyclist: gas station stores with cold air and table seating; not common in SoCal). Around seven pm, I (the dad) says, "Let's get riding to dirt and camp." The western sky was a clouded deep brooding gray. The boys said, "Let's find shelter NOW."

Dad perspective: Where’s your spirit of adventure? We’ll be okay.

TAT Packing on Honda CRF250L Rally
Packing Issues. Entropy: It's physics happening to your bike on the TAT.Dave Bramsen

We headed out. With 10 miles of dirt behind us, the wind began to pick up. Grasses along the trail bowed in obeisance. Dust and stuff moved briskly in horizontal directions. Escalating wind gusts began to shove the bikes like playground bullies. This is not good.

I told the boys we would take the next dirt turnoff back to the highway where we could see trucks a mile or two away. It was within a few miles the first splashes of rain hit on the 10-mile trek back to Liberal. Proceeding at a cautious 45 mph, horizontal wind gusts shoved the 250s onto the grass shoulder. A bit scary. The situation reminded me that the days of “Best Dad in the World” certificates were over.

TransAmerica Trail Ride Storm Aftermath
Storms that push your bike around can have a nice aftermath.Dave Bramsen

By the time we reached a Motel 9, the first shelter in sight, the rain was coming off the roof like the back side of Disney’s Jungle Cruise waterfall. The thunder was the grandest, impossibly-loudest thing a California boy had ever heard. But experiencing the double-rainbow with lightning dancing in front somehow made it all worth it.

We later crossed paths with a TAT bicyclist who had been in that storm and it destroyed his tent.

Sorry, boys. Thanks for cutting your dad some slack.