Behind us, it was clear and sunny, but ahead a storm, void of light, rolled up from the Northern mountains of Mexico and it was crawling across Interstate I10. Ed and I pulled over at a rest-stop that was an arm's reach from the storm, about 36 miles west of Ozona, Texas to finish putting on our rain gear. As soon as we pulled into the rest-stop two guys, each with an RV pulling trikes, came up to us and said we'd better wait it out because there's hail up ahead. One of them said that's why the temperature is dropping so fast. It was in the high 80s, but now was about 70 and dropping more. It made sense to wait it out and as we waited, a lady came up to me to show me the storm on her Galaxy phone. She said, "I just live about 20 miles east of here and I just got off the phone with my daughter and says there's heavy rain and hail."
The Weather Bug App on my phone showed just what we saw, but it was more stationary than we thought because it looked like it was just on top of I10 with no interest in moving out of the way. About 15 minutes later the rest of our riding buddies approach us, but they are not pulling over. That's a mistake. Marco, David and Tomas just keep going into the blackness like a moth to light. Ed and I figure we should try and stay together so we get on our bikes and pull out not far behind them.
Within four or five miles we begin riding into the rain, at first, only huge drops fell, but it wasn't long before it became a real frog choker. Cars and trucks starting pulling over to the side of the highway, but we kept moving. We caught up with the guys after a short while and it was then that I said to myself, "Wow, that was a big rain drop that hit my left hand". Of course, it was hail. Soon I could hear the hail hitting my helmet as it made a distinct 'clack' as the hail hit. Unlike Marco who was on a Ducati, the BMW RT has a great aero-dynamic design and only my hands and helmet were getting hit by hail. I figured it was between dime and nickel sized hail as we could clearly see it hitting the pavement and accumulating on the sides of the highway.
By now all traffic, or so it seemed, had pulled over to the side of the highway or crowded under the few overpasses that cross I10. The overpasses looked like a crowded DQ on a hot summer night. I can imagine what they were saying as five motorcycles passed by. We pulled over once, but it was worse without the aero-dynamic protection so we pressed on.
About seven or ten miles from Ozona we finally saw a sliver of light on the eastern horizon. We were almost through. We kept our gaze fixed on the light as it kept getting wider and wider. Within a few miles of Ozona the rain stopped and we had made it through. Another rain cell was moving in from Mexico so we quickly filled up and kept pushing east towards Kerrville. We rode over 650 miles that day from Silver City, New Mexico to Ingram, Texas, but only about 20 miles of it was one for the story books.