An Abrupt Change

October 8th.

We were in Fort Meyers in a hotel working on client projects. Our schedule called for a couple days exploring Sanibel Island before heading to see friends near Tampa. But a call in the evening changed the rest of our trip. A family event–not really an emergency, but enough of a concern to cause a change–forced us to make our stop in Tampa short and head back to Nevada.

What a trip that was. Our first scheduled stop was Jackson, Mississippi, where we dropped the Bunkhouse trailer while we traveled the southeast. It took a few days from Tampa, across I-10 to Mobile, northwest to Hattiesburg and US 49. We arrived in Jackson in the afternoon, grabbed the trailer and struck out. We always watch the weather on the road, and the remains of a Pacific hurricane that worked its way across Baja and into Arizona was making a trek across the southeast. We need to get miles under the tires before we had to stop for a tornado.

By the time we reached Tallula, Louisiana, it was incredibly dark and lightning was streaking across the sky and touching down to our east and southeast just a few miles away. It was headed to right where we had just come from. We parked at a truck stop and watched the rain come down, the lightning light up the sky, and listened to the thunder roar for hours. On the radar map, there were red and orange patches all around us. We hunkered down for the night.

In the morning, we headed out under stormy, but not so dark, skies. We got through Shreveport and came to a complete stop just east of the Texas boarder in the TA Greenwood. The radar showed dark red all to the west, and the sky was black far as we could see north to south. In tornado alley we always wonder where the nearest shelter is and try to stop when we have to with some view to the next few hours of weather–just in case. The folks in the TA said they didn’t have a shelter, but to come inside if it got nasty.

So, we watched and waited and checked the radar every 15 minutes or so. After a couple hours, the clouds moved passed us, and dumped a lot of rain in the process. We hit the road once again. We really dislike city traffic, so Kirsti routed us around Dallas, through the hilly region to the north. As we rolled through the countryside, we realized how smart it was to have stopped back at the TA. We saw power company trucks out all over, and several times came across the remains of downed trees that had blocked the road just hours before. The winds had been pretty ferocious. It was a long trip around Dallas, but worth it.

We ended up going northwest through Witchita Falls (As Witchita falls, So falls Witchita Falls (from The Ice Harvest)) to Amarillo, where we caught I-40 passed Cadillac Ranch (worth a stop only once in your life) all the way to Kingman, Az. We stayed at a hotel there a few years ago, in a room where Martin Milner once slept while filming with Route 66. His photo was on the back of the door.

From there, it was a couple days through Las Vegas, up US 95, to Carson City. It took about five days from Florida. Not a bad route when you’re in a rush.

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