Dear Oklahoma, time to put your big girl panties on and pull your shit together.

I’m not saying that this trip into Tornado country was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done…. not exactly suggesting it was sane either.

We arrived in OKC without issue yesterday right around dinner time. We actually had more wind in Colorado than anywhere else. We decided to haul it to OKC instead of making fun stops along the way so that we could a.) arrive in daylight, and b.) try and beat the storms that we could see on the radar. We were lucky though, two huge storm systems rolled through Oklahoma. One south of I-40 (the stormroad we drove in on) and one about 35 miles north of OKC in Guthrie. We could see both storms in the distance and while they didn’t look ‘dark’ they were HUGE. Little did we know that this….

… was hidden under these seemingly harmless clouds. Well, okay… we could see on storm1the radar that they weren’t very ‘friendly’. We could also see the clouds as far away as Amarillo, TX.

Three tornados touched down in Oklahoma yesterday and we’re at about a 50/50 chance for today. Tomorrow the storms will have moved off and the most we might get is some rain and a bit of thunder. So really, all we’ve got to do is survive the night (which is our goal… aside from the MH autographs). When we arrived we basically said we were new to the whole ‘tornado watch’ thing and asked about standard operating procedure. We were relieved to find that our hotel DOES have a basement, we’ve only got 9 floors of stairs to run down. But on the up-side, the hotel worker said they’d never had a twister come through downtown. Reassuring? Yes. Also, if there is a tornado warning, no doubt I will be mid-suds in the shower. That said, we hit our three favorite bars yesterday in case we end up not being able to get out much. We’ve had our southwest chicken wrap and margarita at Brix, the sangria/margarita swirl at the Mexican place and the Flint martini at the hotel bar.

It sure is different watching for tornado information when you’re right smack in the middle of it compared to on the news. We’re also headed through Moore, OK on Sunday as we make our way to New Orleans. I’m sure it’ll be an eye-opening experience to say the very least. In fact, I overheard someone at the bar talking about having been out helping people dig through rubble over the past week. Everything is just gone.

We drove past a place selling F5 storm shelters yesterday. I can’t imagine living here without one. We’ve been paranoid enough checking the weather just while we’re visiting – I would go absolutely nuts if I had to go through it all the time.

Well, it’s about lunch time. Weather is decent enough to head out to Brix (again), though it’s a bid windy (huh, who woulda thunk it) though, so no point in doing anything remotely fancy with my hair until much later.

Quick, because my eyes won’t stay open.

Today was long and exhausting, but overall a pretty decent day. We hit the road at 7:30 with plans to hit the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum as well as the Hot Springs County Museum (both in Thermopolis, WY) before hauling ass to Pueblo, Colorado. ‘Thermop’ (as it was posted on several signs) is 85 miles from where we spent the night in Cody, Wy. Both places were cool. The Dinosaur fossils were awesome and the Hot Springs museum was like a giant antique shop where you couldn’t buy anything. Thermopolis is a pretty tiny town – in fact, the hot springs museum gives directions by saying that it’s one block north of the stoplight in town. The people were friendly (and commented on my sparkly shoes). I asked for some directions to the post office (and forgot to go – ugh) and it’s so cute the way they use the stoplight for pretty much any/all direction.

From there we hightailed it to Douglas, Wy for lunch at the Village Inn (same place as last year). As we sat listening to the people around us, we realized it was the same senior group sitting behind us. They go EVERY Wednesday for free pie day. And we saw the lady that works at the Chamber of Commerce (where the giant Jackalope is). After lunch we headed over for a peek around all the Jackalope stuff and then headed toward Pueblo. We stopped briefly for gas at one point and then after suffering through Denver’s traffic, we pulled into the Garden of the Gods as the sun was starting to set. So 2 (2)

It was dark by the time we rolled into the parking lot in Pueblo and we’re both ready to pass out. We hit a lot of piss/pouring rain, so I certainly feel it more in my shoulders compared to the two days before. We also hit some construction areas where we crawled along at 20mph through the mud (i literally had mud caked to my car at one point).

Sorry these are so brief, but… can’t even keep my eyes open.

Gas mileage wise, my car has been a bloody rockstar. Like, for reals. I’ve been getting between 31-33mpg (granted I’m pretty religious about cruise control, so that helps).

“Oh shit, there’s running involved!” – Me

Oh man, these bison are crazy!

IMG_6661Traffic slowed to a snails pace as we approached a few bison along side the road. They were walking in a line and suddenly were walking alongside the road. People moved super slow, and the bison didn’t seem to care. That said, several cars started to go around and pass on the quicker side which upset the SUPER GIANT ANIMALS. So the car in front of us picked up speed and as the car passed, the bison started moving quicker, tail was swishing and head lowered. I was certain that the car was going to lose it’s back bumper. My turn to pass was next and we went far out into the lane for on-coming traffic (no cars were coming, obviously). There were a few more ahead, so traffic was slow, but once they were behind us, the other drivers were trying to get them to move faster and suddenly they were running behind us and we had nowhere to go. Eventually they crossed the street, but between Cait and I it was a chorus of “OH GOD, I DON’T WANT TO DIE” and “DON’T HIT MY CAR” and “OH SHIT, THEY’RE RUNNING.”

Overall, I’m still madly in love with Yellowstone. Weather wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful either. A few patches of rain/hail, but nothing to keep us in the car when we wanted to pop out for a picture.

We hit Cody, WY around 4pm and went through the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (cool, but over-priced). We’ve got a lazy evening in the hotel and a relatively early morning as we head 10 hours south to Pueblo, Colorado (plus a few museums).

743 miles in 12 hours, 42 minutes.

photoLet me just say, we hauled ass.

Since we’ve driven this part of the route before, there wasn’t anything we really wanted to stop and see along the way. We decided that getting to the hotel early, having a decent sit-down breakfast and then an evening chillaxing in the hotel would be more our style.

We were on the road at 5:44am – stopped in Ellensburg for the bathroom, Cour d’ Alene for bathroom/fuel and somewhere around Missoula for the bathroom. We kinda had to pee the last 40 minutes or so of the drive, but we pushed on. Actual driving time according to the gps is 12hrs 22minutes. Our three stops only added 20 minutes.

This place we’re staying, just outside of Yellowstone is sketch to the max. I’m sure things pick up as tourist season picks up, but it’s pretty quiet. This ‘resort’ (while clean) is right out of a 1970’s horror film as far as looks. But it was cheap (and has decent ratings – it’s not uncomfortable, it’s just old) and we’re out by 7:30 tomorrow morning.

The drive itself was uneventful. A few times we started to get antsy and laugh at ridiculous things, but we settled into our driving groove easily enough. Weather was good (hit a few patches of rain, but not much). A bit of PTSD when we drove past the place where that tire flew off the SUV in front of me and hit my car. I tried looking for my hubcap, but… no dice.

Tomorrow should be fun – Yellowstone and Cody, WY. Yeehaw!

p.s. good thoughts that the storms they have been talking about for the end of the week, don’t happen.

Whoever is happy will make others happy, too. — Anne Frank

Shots on a barAh yes, it’s finally that time of year again. Time to hit the road, time to move with the wind (though preferably not tornado type wind)… whatever you’d like to call it.

Time to dust off the gps, the state maps, and settle into some long drives across the country. Time to turn up the tunes and pick a pair of shades.


I hope to be blogging fairly regularly over the next three weeks. And I promise it’ll be more than ramblings about NCIS and Mark Harmon (though Fri/Sat are reserved for NCIS love).

A quick over-view of my route: