(Author's note: If you just want to get to the pretty pictures, scroll down... you'll just miss out on the rest of the story.)
On Saturday, the weather in our little portion of northeast Ohio pretty much covered the entire spectrum (sans snow). It started out very docile at 6:30AM as Lorena's dad and I hit the old fishin' hole. There was virtually no wind, the temperature was around 70F, and the Sun hadn't gotten high enough in the sky to bake us as was forecast for the rest of the day. It only took a couple of hours before the heat and humidity became noticeable and so we headed headed home. (Fisherman's bragging point: I caught a bass on my first cast. I don't remember the last time I managed that.)
Despite the doomsday heat-index predictions, I spent the latter part of the morning getting a couple of loads of mulch for the back yard. Sure, it was warm out, but I at least had a breeze and was working in the shade. Upon returning Lorena's dad's truck around 12:30, a random dark cloud passed over the area and it rained for 3 seconds. It had been a little cloudy all morning and storms were also predicted, but I expected something a little more substantial. The rest of the afternoon was breezy and I got the mulch spread before heading back into the house to literally chill-out in the A/C for a few hours prior to riding up to Ernie's Bike Shop to ride home with Lorena. Let's just say the A/C felt extra-nice when I first walked in the house as I was soaked, head-to-toe, in sweat.
The ride to Ernie's showed off just how "breezy" it had been all afternoon with tree limbs of various sizes on the ground. Some had already been moved and some I had to move myself. For the rest of the ride to the shop and on the return trip with Lorena, there was nothing more menacing than the simple fact that it was hot. Lorena suggested we return to the bike shop after dinner for the Moonlight Canoe trip on the Tuscarawas River. Ernie's also runs a canoe livery because the shop is right on the Tuscarawas and has the Moonlight Canoe trips a few times a year.
After dinner, we checked the radar to make sure no random thunderstorms or rain would interfere with canoeing. A very narrow line of storms was moving West to East and looked like they might stay far enough North to not foil our plans. We decided to risk it and drove back to Ernie's. The closer we got, the darker the northern sky looked and we began to wonder if we were actually going to end up in a boat after all. Let's just say, the sky went from bad to worse and everyone was basically standing around waiting to see if it would just blow over. At least we had something interesting to look at because the sky turned all sorts of colors and shapes:
The photos really don't do justice to how creepy the situation was. Clouds were moving in all different directions and we briefly heard the area was under a tornado warning. I don't doubt it. Through all of the sinister clouds, there was no rain and not even any real lightning or thunder. That is to say, until about 20 minutes later when all hell broke loose with the previously absent rain, thunder, and lightning. It's almost as if the leading edge of the storm looked worse than the back edge where the real deal was waiting to pounce. It nearly rained sideways and we all retreated to the porch of the bike shop with our canoeing plans pretty much scrapped. We made the best of a bad situation by simply moving the party that was supposed to happen after the trip to the wonderfully dry porch. Unfortunately, a few canoes were on the river through all of this and they were drowned rats when they made it back to the landing right in the middle of the worst of the rain. Their spirits certainly weren't dampened as they laughed while telling their harrowing tale and kept the cameras flashing to capture the memorable event.
Sure, we can go canoeing just about any day, and there will be at least one more chance for us to partake in a Moonlight Canoe this year, but I'd say these busted plans became an adventure just the same.