8:00 AM – Large, hot breakfast: Eggs, yogurt, fruit, bagel, cream cheese
10:50 AM – Matt and I take a photo of ourselves and our chase vehicles.
11:00 AM – Safety briefing; brief presentation
11:45 AM – load the vans. Here’s the Van 1 (lead van) crew for the day!
12:00 PM? – headed west to Geary,OK.
2:00PM? – Had lunch (BLT) at the Broadway Cafe.
3:00 PM? – Weighed our options: position ourselves for a play in Texas versus head into the northern plains, where are the next three days all have decent severe potential. Mosied North then entered I 35.
6:00 PM? – Detoured off of I 35 to visit the damage path for the Andover tornado (29 April). The path was quite narrow but had some F2 damage.
7:00 PM? – Reentered I 35 and continued north. Exited at El Dorado. Ate dinner at Anita’s (Mexican: shrimp cocktail and Carne Asada; great tasting food, but I ate too much and got an upset tummy).
8:15 PM? – Continued north on 835. Bill called numerous hotels and we finally ended up at the Super 8 in Emporia, Kansas.
07:00-11:00 – work from home, online, that is. (Don’t lots of folks do that now?)
11:00 – Lunch at Charlie’s (Bolingbrook Clow International Airport).
(They have scheduled flights to Canada, so ‘International” is quite real.)
12:12 – Depart Bolingbrook Airport, traveling southwest on I-55S.
14:09 – A brief pit stop in Atlanta, IL. Still good on fuel!
14:22 – Resume southwesterly course on I-55S
15:25 – Oh no. traffic jam!
17:28 – Refuel at St. Clair, MO, just west of Six Flags enough to avoid paying a premium price for gasoline.
2100 – Arrive at Red Roof Inn, Springfield. Check in then eat dinner at Jimm’s Steakhouse and Pub. Had the monstrously generous prime rib dip (like a classic French dip, but using prime rib). Too much food!
This morning I woke up in Springfield, Missouri. Did not need an alarm clock, as one of my Motel neighbors (who I will simply call #MethMom) was shouting over the second floor balcony to her friends that this motel was “no f***ing kind a place for my f***ing kids!” If memory serves, this is how certain moms in Missouri (and other states in the Midsouth) indicate that there is no pool for the kids. No matter. I am awake now.
After a quick round of dental hygiene (to remove that taste that I can only describe as “Walt and Jesse starting a meth lab in my mouth”) and a quick cuppa tea I was ready to face the day.
After a quick round of dental hygiene (to remove that taste that I can only describe as “Walt and Jesse starting a meth lab in my mouth“) and a quick cuppa tea I was ready to face the day.
I spent a little bit of time in reviewing yesterday’s photos and getting the updates for yesterday‘S blog page started
Today’s weather is gray and drippy day, a fairly common sight after the good storms have passed through the area a few days earlier. A quick look at the SPC outlook seems to indicate that the next few days are going to be for a little bit quiet, weatherwise. So will be playing tourist and various natural wonders instead of chasing. That’s the way it goes.
I checked Facebook and responded Do a post asking about “what equipment do you use when you chase” as follows:
* Kenwood TMD-710GA 2m/440 ham radio
* Radio Shack PRO2067 500-channel scanner
* Radio Shack TRC-519 CB Radio
I also carry a good assortment of cameras/camcorders.
* Nikon D7000 DSLR (plus a lens collection)
* Two GoPro Hero2 cameras (w/3-D frame, various mounts, including the popular suction mount)
* Sony AX-53 4K camcorder (plus zoom and telephoto lenses)
Next stop: Sid’s Diner in El Reno. We arrived about an hour before closing time. I had the King Burger Deluxe, Paul the BLT, and so on. We had a moment of dismay when the British Contingent realized no beer was available there. We survived, however.
Final tourist stop for the day: the Twistex Crew Memorial. We let Simon try his hand at rural Oklahoma driving He negotiated gravel roads, muddy ruts, and got us to the memorial in time for some great photos, including shots of a beautiful classic western sunset.
After a quick WalMart stop, we returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
First, drove from the motel in Bolingbrook into the Loop of Chicago. After an unplanned orbit of Lower Wacker Drive, we got into our parking garage and walked to breakfest. I had a tasty apple-walnut oatmeal and my first-ever (and probably last-ever) keto coffee.
Then, we walked across the street and went up to the 103rd story attractions of the [former] Sears Tower (a/k/a the Willis Tower).
The views were spectacular, but when I stepped out onto The Ledge, I got dizzy and withdrew immediately. My #FearOfHeights kicked in hard. After a moment of calming down, I backed into my slot in the transparent box so high above the street and we were able to get a few pictures.
Looking out in each of the four compass point directions, we took in the amazing views. The multiple shades of view on Lake Michigan, looking to the north, was astonishingly beautiful!
Along the Way: Fill-Up Philip
After of hour of “103” time was up, we returned to the car, headed west on Madison Street, and took I-94 and I-55 southwest, departing Chicago.
A few hours later, we stopped at Dwight, Illinois for lunch. We had a classic American cuisine lunch (burgers, BLT sandwiches, hot soup), then visited the 1950s-vintage gas station across the street.
One Tall Tomb
Next stop was the Lincoln Tomb (the actual final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of his four sons. The route to the monument took us through some pretty unassuming side streets (and I was beginning to the the GPS had misguided us). The tomb is topped off with an imposing obelisk and has many beautiful statues of Lincoln, depicting the various stages of is life from young adult to the final year of his presidency.
Quarter of the Way ‘Round the World
Continuing southwestward, I pulled the van to the shoulder for our ‘mystery stop’. I must have given half a dozen hints where we were going, what it was about, etc. We got WAY past twenty questions, but my guests finally figured it out without me telling them outright. Here we are after arriving.
After many more hours of driving, we arrived at our dinner destination in Versailles — pronounced ‘ver-Sails’ — in Missouri. Thanks to a cable between the van’s CarPlay port and my iPhone acting up, I had to rely on my guests’ phones for navigation. (Excellent job adapting to the situation, gang! I am in your debt.) Fortunately, we never got off the desired route, arriving at around 9pm. We met Kathy’s stepdaughter, Allison, at a local microbrewery and restaurant call The Bee’s Knees. Other than a brief whiff of the beer, I abstained (as I was driving). On the other hand, I enjoyed a generous portion of the delicious varieties of thin crust pizza. It was a good thing we were driving; I could barely walk after the meal.
One Last Push
In a final push to our goal of Springfield, Missouri, I drove us on MO 5 toward Lebanon, Missouri and I-44. The winding road, hilly terrain, and stretches of re-paving activy along the way made for a challenging drive, but we arrived safe and sound at Springfield around midnight. Four sleepy travelers went to sleep about 30 minutes later for some very solid and well-earned rest.