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  • Jim Clarahan

Day of the Derecho

It seems like yesterday, But it was a week ago, Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then...the day of the dreaded Derecho.


Day 9, 5 am. No alarm clock needed as I usually only need 6 hours max. The wee bit of Irish whiskey the night before knocked me out by 10 pm. Morning routine starts with a check of that day's weather forecast, followed in short order by a cup or two of "mud" - dark black coffee and a light breakfast (compliments of Chef Morton).


At daybreak my only concern was timing the 300+ mile ride, Elkhart to Evansville, to skirt the tail side of the storm rolling thru Indiana that morning. Little did I know that the storm moving thru South Dakota west of Iowa, would ravage the Midwest and meet me in Evansville later the same day.

By 8:30am, the morning storm had passed Elkhart, providing a sunny, Monday morning photo op outside the RSM Elkhart office with Ryan Matthys and Jim Morton.

Skirting the backside of the morning storm, I caught up to it 20 miles north of Indianapolis, requiring rain gear for the ride into the city. The Indy office was the 2nd of the trip without signage on the outside of the building. I parked on the street and found my way inside looking for a kiosk with RSM listed, but no such luck. Wondering what it might cost to replace the One America logo with RSM ?

Indy to Evansville, I-69, one of the best stretches of interstate highway I've experienced so far. Minimal traffic, sunny skies and other than a few wind gusts, premonitions to what was on coming, made for a fun and fast ride. The heat index was +100f, so riding was the only way to stay cool. Little did I know what was coming, other than a text from daughter Bailey warning of a very bad storm rocking Central Illinois. Arriving in Evansville about an hour before the southern tail of the Derecho whipped thru. Smart enough to park the Harley next to the hotel to block from the 60 mph winds expected to rip thru.

Day 9 was the only day where the weather threatened to stall out my ride. Keeping fingers crossed it stays that way. Continuing prayers for great riding weather and a safe journey!

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