“There are no foothills to the Tetons. They rise suddenly in rugged majesty from the rock strewn plain…” — Gustavus Cheney Doane

I’ve been waiting a long time for this trip. My last road trip of any decent length was in 2013 where I spent the majority of my time scanning the radar for possible tornado activity after a long and exhausting evening in a shelter in Oklahoma.

When Kelsey announced that her wedding would be in New Orleans, that familiar sense of adventure started to tingle in my spine. Obviously, I wasn’t going to miss the wedding,  but I’m not sure when “I think I might drive down” turned into “oh yeah, I’m driving down”.

In the weeks leading up to my departure I struggled with a little anxiety around heading out on my own. What if it’s stormy? What do I do if I’m in the middle of nowhere and the sky turns green? What if my car dies? Can I do 750 miles in a day?

No, no, no. Stop. This is not scary. The open road is home. It’s comforting. I know this, but sometimes I need to be reminded that I know this. For two weeks there was a quiet little track in the back of my mind reminding me of all the things that could go wrong. At 5am when I pulled out of the driveway, it disappeared.

Everyone asks if I get bored, sometimes doing upwards of 750 miles in a day, alone in the car.

The short answer, not really.

The long answer, absolutely.

There are absolutely times that I just want to be done. I want to get out of the car, stretch out and move and be anywhere but in the car. But it’s not often. More often than not I’m singing along to one of my carefully curated road trip playlists. Or lost in thought. Plotting a new story or dreaming up things that could never happen, but are fun to imagine anyway. Driving way out in the middle of nowhere is so freeing and it’s amazing. Maybe because I am an only child and learned how to entertain myself, but I’m damn good company on a road trip.

And then I get to a place like Grand Teton National Park and it’s like a continuous loop of wow with every curve and bend in the road.

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Unlike Yellowstone, I didn’t see much wildlife (a few pronghorn and hawks and people on horseback) though signs to watch for bears are everywhere. But Tetons are amazing. No pictures or words can even begin to describe how impressive this place is. The drive takes you through flat open plains and up through rugged terrain at nearly 10,000ft above sea level.

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This drive through the Park was honestly such a tease. With only a couple hours to drive through, I feel like I walked away with sneak peek and the call to return.

Leaving the park I headed toward Casper, WY where I was spending the night. I could see storm clouds in the distance, but I wasn’t too concerned until it started to rain a lot harder than just a summer shower. With about 25 miles to go (and completely alone out on the road) I decided to check my phone radar. Only to find that Casper was in the middle of a tornado warning and severe thunderstorm. I could see it was moving away from Casper and away from me. I debated pulling over, but the wasn’t much room to pull out of the way if another car came from behind. So I slowed the cruise control down 20mph and slowed my approach.

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Not slow enough.

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I rode in on the tail of a complete downpour. It was like driving through a wall of water and even on the highest setting, my wipers couldn’t keep my windshield clear. The roads were covered in standing water and they were slick, but once I turned into the town, the rain slowed and gave way to sunny skies as the storm moved northeast.

On Monday I drove from Casper, WY to Amarillo, TX — another long day, coupled with losing an hour of the day (time zone change). It’s a route that I’ve taken before, so it wasn’t anything new. But the promise of a possible tornado warning in the afternoon and I hauled out as soon as possible.

But leaving early didn’t help the drive. Much of Colorado is apparently being repaved at the same time and despite the lack of traffic, it was stop and go all over the place. The worst.

Then as I drove through the vast nothing, also known as Texas farmland, I could see some suspicious looking clouds.

SRSLY WTF WEATHER?

Thankfully it was just south of where I was and although I could see the lightning, it wasn’t anything to be concerned about. But enough, okay?

Today was a shorter drive, but I had plans. I went to the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame/Museum in Amarillo, met a friend for lunch in Lubbock and coffee with my cousin in Abilene before finally landing at my hotel just in time to watch the Sounders US Open Cup game vs. Portland (spoiler alert, we won).

Although Texas is large, I’ve found that there are a billion tiny, nearly abandoned towns along the way. In some ways, it’s nice. Plenty of places to stop for fuel, bathroom breaks, etc. But as soon as you get cruise control set to 75, you approach a town and it drops to 70… 60….55….50….45… 35. Then you pass three buildings and then the speed limit climbs to 75 again. Way to screw with my  gas mileage.

“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” Woody Guthrie

Hot.

When I have previously driven to OKC, I’ve able to slowly adjust to the heat – usually as I make my way through Wyoming, Colorado and into New Mexico. By the time I make it to Oklahoma City, I’m relatively adjust to the blistering heat of the summer. But when I fly in, there is always a huge shock when I step out from the climate controlled airport and into the furnace otherwise known as Oklahoma.

It’s like a level of hell, or walking into an oven or just… Of course I’m here just in time for an excessive heat warning. In Seattle we have ‘heat advisories’ for the low-90s, telling people to stay indoors, drink water, etc. Through Saturday we’re under an ‘Excessive Heat Warning’ with a heat index (temp/humidity) up to 115. Gross.

IMG_8769But since I didn’t drive down, I rented a car for my stay. The Colcord Hotel (home away from home) does have a shuttle for Downtown/Bricktown, but with a few days to explore, I’d rather have a car at my disposal.

I arrived around dinner time on Tuesday. I found a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine (because you can’t get wine in a grocery store – nor can you buy a wine opener where they sell wine, had to find one elsewhere), ordered room service and crashed out early. I was up and out the door by 9:30 yesterday. Since I didn’t get to road trip down, and I have unlimited miles on my rental, I decided to try and put a few miles on. From OKC I drove 110 miles up to Tulsa to visit the Woody Guthrie Center. It’s not a big place to explore, but it holds several interesting pieces from his collection as well as a ton of history surrounding his songs and art work.

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Lyrics to “This Land is Your Land”

From Tulsa I headed 115 miles west to Enid, OK for an ‘old time museum’ that was supposed to be open. Except it wasn’t and I wasted 2.5 hours driving there and then back toward I-35S. Oh well, it was a pretty drive. From Enid it was another 100 miles back toward OKC. I made a stop in Guthrie, OK to visit the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum – wow, they had a ton of stuff on display. And I love how pretty much everything was cured with morphine and alcohol. Established in 1887, Guthrie was the original capital of Oklahoma and it’s beautiful downtown is considered a National Historic Landmark. I wanted to spent more time exploring the city, but at 105F, it just wasn’t worth the misery of strolling the old streets. I might try and head back up on Saturday, but we’ll see.

Once I got back to the hotel, I met up with some friends who arrived from various corners of the US (and one from England). We walked down to the pub for a bite to eat and ended up playing Trivia. We were doing great, but fumbled in the last minute to come in 4th (I think?) out of six. For the majority of the game we were in second place. Boo.

This morning I was up and out the door around 9am (already 85F). I headed south to Moore, OK where a massive Tornado hit in 2013 just prior to my visit/tornado dance. Cait and I had explored one of the neighborhoods and I returned in 2014 to the same block for progress photos. This year it was almost unrecognizable. There was still one empty lot, but otherwise life goes on, right?

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Life not quite back to normal.

From there I drove down some backroads (only other traffic I saw was a tractor) to El Reno where the tornado that put me in a shelter, touched down. There is a memorial for the three members of the TWISTEX team that died. I have to say, it was a little nerve-wracking being out in those fields, so far from anything. There weren’t any storm clouds in the distance or anything (I would’ve chickened out), but still… It didn’t help that the radio had played an ad for storm shelters on the drive out.

Tomorrow a few more friend arrive in the morning, Harmon’s charity event tomorrow evening. Since I opted out of the Saturday golf event, I hope to spend the day exploring a bit more. Sunday will be lazy until it’s time to say goodbye for another year and head home. In an airplane. Zoom Zoom.

“My Oklahoma home is in the sky…” – Bruce Springsteen

I’ve decided to post about OKC in parts:

If you’re looking for Mark Harmon photos/info, click here.

If you’re looking for OKC Energy FC info, click here.

I had to get up early this morning. With an 8 hour drive ahead of me, plus wanting to stop at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, I knew I needed to get a good start to the day. I also wanted to take a drive through Moore, OK, where Cait and I toured the day after the El Reno tornado and only a week or so after the Moore tornado. I wasn’t sure if I could find the same place, but Moore isn’t big, so I figured I’d just circle a bit and see what was left of the damage. As I drove, a few things started to look familiar and suddenly I was turning into the same neighborhood we saw last year.

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Same tree, nearly a year apart.

As I turned off the main road, I started to feel really, really overwhelmed. I think I was riding so high on adrenaline last year, esp. with the continuous storms the entire drive home, I didn’t really get the chance to deal with the enormity of it all.

Then Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah  came on my playlist and I just lost it.

I have zero idea how these people continue to live there and just rebuild and move on with life. I spent the whole weekend with one eye to the sky, and I saw someone out planting in their front yard like it won’t blow away again (the house, who cares about the flowers). Many homes were still being repaired, some finished and some were just empty lots.  The roads are still cakes with dirt, though the debris are gone.

I think it was really good to drive through the same neighborhood. In a way it was oddly reassuring that, even after the worst of things, life goes on. Even if it seems impossible. I look at the top photo, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin with a massive pile of rubble. I remember seeing families just standing at the end of the driveway, staring at the mess and then just digging in.

While I won’t claim to be ‘over it’, maybe a little healing was done today.

*The house in the photo to the left no longer exists (just an empty lot).

 

 

“And falling’s just another way to fly.” ― Emilie Autumn

I fell down the last three steps into the basement yesterday.
(see above ^^)

I’ve been sick the past few days, but finally managed to collect myself enough to help out around the housepfft, that’s what I get for trying to help. I was carrying some dead flowers down to take them to the yard waste. Not sure what happened, but all I remember is the longest fall ever (srsly, in slow-motion). Slammed my left knee into the cement floor and banging into the cabinet at the base of the stairs. I’m not too bad today considering all the various possible outcomes. A little stiff, and my left knee is sore to the touch, but otherwise it’s mostly my ego. And the fact that I probably inhaled a royal shit ton of glitter (also from the flowers) and dead/dried leaves that crumbled at the touch. I mean, really? Ready to go to bed – wake me when Feb. is over.

Struggling with the fact that I have zero vacation planned for 2014. With the trip to Denmark being pushed to *next* year, and Cait unable to drive to OKC for MH14 – I don’t even know how I’ll last the year. I could drive on my own, but at 20 years old, I think my Camry has seen it’s last Epic Roadtrip(tm). Also, a 3+ week road trip isn’t really in the bank account when I’m looking to replace my Camry baby at the end of the year.

With rumblings of MH14 on twitter, I’ve toyed with the idea of flying in for a long weekend. I would hate not having the use of my car – having to either rent or rely on friends for a ride. Cait and I got separated from the group last year during the Tornado fiasco… they knew we had a ride, so it wasn’t as big of a deal, but to go through that again and wonder how to get back to a hotel 40 minutes away during a natural disaster is enough to make my stomach churn.  Thinking of MH14, I would of course love to go and, as always, chat with my favorite celebrity, and spend time with the many friends I’ve made over the past 3 years. But I also feel drawn back to Oklahoma. Sort of a ‘back up on the horse’ after falling off – or in my case, sitting through a tornado. #needagoodadventue

n’awlins…

Wow, what an experience.

We rolled into New Orleans around 11pm after a slow start in OKC. The drive was long, but the weather was perfect after all the Tornado drama. We pulled into the parking garage beside our hotel (located in an awesome part of the French Quarter on St. Ann. Opening the door was a bit of a slap in the face as far as heat/humidity are concerned. Check in was smooth and we were taken through a maze of a courtyard to our room.courtyard

Oh my Lord. Love.

The Place was beautiful. With a small pool, fountain with goldfish and big, green plants everywhere! I could’ve spent a whole week relaxing in the courtyard (in the cooler hours) and never left the hotel. We crashed pretty quick in the comfort of the chilled room. I think our hotel offered breakfast, but we ended up at Stanley for breakfast. Not a huge place, but super simple/delicious items on the menu. Much of Monday was spent in/out of shops, grabbing a bite to eat and shopping again. By 3pm we headed back to wait out the hottest part of the day and then hit the streets again around 7. We grabbed dinner and then headed to a bar called ‘Port of Call’ for a Monsoon. From there we found Bourbon St. and wandered a bit until we found a fun bar and parked there. Knowing we had to be out the door early, we started early and were back before mid-night.

IMG_6961Tuesday we hit the road by 8:30 and drove 30’ish miles to Jean Lafitte for an airboat adventure. Again, it was ridiculously hot/humid even by 9:30. We went out on a boat with about 12 people, plus our guide James. He was pretty funny and took us around, pointing stuff/alligators out. He got out and hand fed one named Vicky that he’s been working with ‘for years’. We moved on and were cruising along when suddenly we’re slowing and he’s asking me to get up (Cait and I were on either side of him). I jumped up and turn to see that there is smoke coming from the engine in the back.

The boat overheated.

So we sat. And waited.

It took about 30 minutes for the ‘rescue’ boat to come. James switched with us and the other guy towed the original boat back. We lost out on a good chunk of time, IMG_6969but James took us to this closed off area. He killed the motor and suddenly all these gators are swimming toward the boat (these gators know the sounds of the boats and come quick for treats). He’s feeding them and talking about size and suddenly goes…. “okay, who wants to touch one? I’m not suppose to let you, but I gotta make it up to you.” Cait and I nearly fell from the boat, we were so excited. Basically he brought them in close and then as they turned to swim along side the air-boat, we could reach down and pet behind their eyes. So cool. I touched a wild alligator. Life changing. Such a powerful creature.

Afterward we headed back to the hotel, grabbed lunch and hit up a few museums before retreating to the cool of our room for a few hours. The museum exhibit about hurricane Kartrina was so sad. And the huge screen playing clips from the storm with the added fans to have wind was a bit… off putting after the storm we’d been through. Pretty sad at how much damage was done, but also how everything was handled.

Dinner was at the gumbo shop and then we wandered a bit before heading home to get stuff ready for this morning. We were able to sleep in a bit (8:30), have a easy breakfast and then headed up toward Memphis by 10am. We made a new friend with the woman that helped bring our bags to the car. She talked a bit about her experience in Katrina and because of it, her family photos, deed to her house, etc are kept in her car. As much as I loved the city, I couldn’t live in fear like that.

We had a short drive today – only 6hours. The drive was fine until we were about 2 hours from Memphis. We hit a massive lightning storm with rain so hard that we couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. We crawled along I-55 at 35-40mph for a bit before it let up. I pretty much just white-knuckled through and Cait sat perfectly still staring out ahead. Needless to say, we skipped ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on the playlist.

We hit Memphis around 5:15. It’s the same hotel that I’ve stayed at the previous two times I’ve been here. I absolutely love it. It’s right downtown, easy access to Beale, and major highways and I *know* the area. We grabbed dinner and drinks at the Kooky Kanuck and then wandered Beale for a bit before coming back to our hotel so Cait could pack her purchases (I’ve got to drop her at the airport at 5:30am). We were relaxing when suddenly we hear something outside. We weren’t sure what it was, so I jokingly commented that, with our luck, it was a tornado siren. Joke is on me, because the dark clouds rolled in with thunder/lightning and surprise (!!) it was a tornado siren. It only lasted maybe 20 minutes and the hotel staff said they weren’t concerned – we’d get a call to our room if we needed to hit the basement (plus side, we have a basement). Weather is supposed to be fine for tomorrow, but I can assure you that I’m pretty tired of this weather crap. Like, legit… I’m done.

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Not sure what tomorrow holds, but I know it includes getting some more sleep once Cait is safely delivered to the airport. I’m exhaused.

Mark Harmon.

Yes. The reason for the trip.

IMG_6762I’m really not sure what it is, but there is something about him/the show. Maybe it’s because he’s so very much like Gibbs in real life and I love how strong of a character it is (and that he has flaws – he’s no hero). Maybe I love the show so much because it reminds me of my Grandpa. I don’t know. But I get serious happy feelings when I can look over and see Mark Harmon ten feet over drinking a beer – and it’s no big deal.

It’s funny, before each weekend the past three years, I’ve thought to myself, “great, I’ll go once get the pic/autograph/t-shirt and that’ll be it. A great experience and… time to move on.” But that’s not the case. Someone from the OKCIC mentioned ‘next year’ and I was practically mapping out a potential route in my mind.

But I digress.

Since the event on Friday was cancelled because of… oh… what was it? Oh, a tornado (!!!), the dinner event was postponed to Saturday. Saturday was originally supposed to be the baseball game, but the dugouts were flooded with 10 inches of water and so it was cancelled. Harmon and his buddies (retired sports guys, Frank Marshall – my second favorite person) still showed up to sign autographs. We had to wait in line for awhile as this was a free event, but it was in the shade and they had free lunch if people were interested (hotdog, chips and a soda). I felt bad that I didn’t have (well, want) anything signed by the other guys as I made my way down the line.

Rick Sutcliffe was sitting next to Frank Marshall and asked to see the photo I had to be signed. It was this one, from last year: IMG_6656

He thought it was hilarious and nudged Frank to look. Last year, his eyes lit up at the sight of flat!Gibbs and he had a good time joking around. Was pretty much the same expression when he saw the photo and then took a few moments to decide what to write (rather than just sign his name). He then passed it to Harmon, who also got a laugh out of it. It was pretty chill though, friendly conversation. Not that IMG_6755we’re actual bff’s like I love to announce, but there is certainly a familiarity. And it’s nice that he actually take the time to look up, make eye contact and talk rather than just let people shuffle down the line awkwardly.

From there we walked back to the hotel (about a mile) surveying some of the damage. Not a lot in Bricktown – a few toppled trees, broken street lamp, but nothing major. I showered, did my hair and then it was about time to head back out to Shawnee for a redo of the event. It was fun, but more subdued. I’m not sure that everyone found out that it was rescheduled, or maybe some of the locals had bigger things to deal with. The waitress we befriended at Flint Bar was there with her mom and sister – two of their cars were caught up in flood water and the sister’s apartment (downtown OKC) had some damage. They had been up until 3am, but nothing was going to keep them away from the event. Super sweet people. I got my second photo signed (on that Darby – plays Shannon Gibbs) had mailed me. He said she was super sweet (which I’d have to agree) and after some quick chit-chat, we moved on.

Some cool auction items this year – the main one that I’d pretty much do most anything for, was a set tour of NCIS for four people. It went for $7500. My friends and I were quickly trying to figure out if we could split that cost, but… I wish. Maybe I should get a third job and set money aside JUST for that. My luck, they won’t auction a set visit next year.

Spoke briefly with Frank Marshall again and then pretty much just hung out with my friends. It was a bit PTSD’ish being back again the same night and every time we’d step outside for some fresh air, we’d glance up at the sky and then check our radar 970174_505048410152_1536629773_napps on our phones. Still can’t believe what all happened there. This is the building across from the bowling alley. The bathroom shelters were inside.

In the end, it turned out to be a really, really nice event. And while I will always be terrified of returning to OKC, I can’t wait to go back.

 

P.S. CAIT IS A FUCKING PRO PHOTOGRAPHER – EXCEPT WHEN SHE TAKES MOSTLY BLURRY PHOTOS.

Speechless.

I will do a longer blog about the MH event, but it’s late and I’m exhausted from driving Oklahoma City to New Orleans today.

IMG_6844But before we left Oklahoma, we took some time to drive through Moore, OK. All I can say, is that I’m speechless. Cait and I drove around for maybe 15-20 minutes and the only thing we kept saying was “holy fuck” over and over again, because really…. what else can you say? There is zero way to comprehend how massive this thing was until you are driving down a street where people are standing in front of what was their house, wondering where to begin.

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And then, just around a corner will be a house missing a few shingles, maybe a broken window and a neat pile of branches in their yard to be picked up.

I mean, we’re still… unsure of how to explain our own situation when, in retrospect, was nothing near this level of scary.

But I tell you what, the warnings that hurricane season has officially begun, was not what we wanted to see as we drove toward the gulf coast.

So while I didn’t shit my pants…

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The storm rolling in.

I’m not saying last night was the scariest night of my life, but…. I wouldn’t deny it either. Our hotel is downtown OKC and the bowling alley is in Shawnee. We kept an eye on the radar and saw a storm approaching from the west. Shawnee is east of OKC so we hoped that by going east the storm would skip north of us. We got to the bowling alley and were pretty much glued to the TV screens that had the news on.

I will say, that most everyone around here has the attitude of ‘there ain’t nothing you can do about it, so just go with it’. Cait and I couldn’t understand how people 943428_10100355763460850_1039848678_ncould be so calm. Like, we could get blown to the fucking Mississippi and you’re standing there sipping your bud light and look like you’re pissed because you forgot to move your grill into the shed. Um… hello?!

Unlike the previous day, rather than curving north, the storm followed I-40 east, right for us. We stood outside the building and watched as it approached until the Sheriff got word that we needed to evacuate. Not gonna lie, for Cait and I… our ‘out of town’ was showing and we were the first bitches across the lot to the storm shelter. I mean, I even ducked back into the building to grab the photos I was going to have autographed (I ain’t leaving that shit behind), and still made it through the doors first. We could see the massive lightning (like multiple streaks across the sky at once), hear the thunder, etc. The sky looked so, so angry and it was loud. Oh so very loud.

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Those are my sparkly shoes in the bottom of the pic.

The designated shelter was a concrete bathroom inside a giant empty ware-house/grocery store type building. And while I know there was nasty tornado weather outside, I was a little more freaked out by the spider and huge dead bugs in the corners (like, if I have to huddle in here, can we not keep it clean?). We spent approx 90 minutes in the shelter tweeting/facebooking the storm. The people in charge (police were great, had water bottles for us and were really good to clear, concise, calm directions). We got the chance to go back out and ‘watch’ for a bit in between storm cells and…. I have no words.

Since it was a community shelter, it wasn’t just event people that were there. I talked to one woman who had about 10 minutes to get out of her house and when we were leaving, she had no idea if she had a house to go home too. I really hope she does.

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Eventually we were allowed to head out (if we wanted). We waited around a bit until the police could confirm that I-40 was open and that it was just thunder/lightning and wind gusts. We hit hail at one point but it didn’t get to be too bad. The first few minutes of driving in the lightning was pretty terrifying but it was so constant that we just sort of grew numb to it. There were no street lights, so I lingered a ways behind the car in front of me and had my brights on so I could see the lanes on the highway. The lightning also lit up the road in flashes and actually helped to see the highway exit. We found covered parking across the street from the hotel and the rain had slowed enough by then that it wasn’t bad going across the street.

Today we found out that people were supposed to be off the roads by 4pm. We never got the msg, so when traffic was heavy at 5:30… it was people still leaving. Glad we didn’t leave any later, traffic got worse on I-40 and people were essentially ‘sitting ducks’ on the interstate. I believe almost all the fatalities were due to people staying in their cars.

Today it’s in the high-70’s, sunny and we can see the tail of the storm off in the horizon as the weakened system moves across Arkansas. We get a re-do of the event tonight and it’ll be interesting to see the area in day light. Tomorrow we head south to New Orleans and our route will take us right through Moore, Ok.

Let me tell you, from the bits and pieces I saw last night… nothing in the news even remotely prepares you for this shit. Nothing.

** At one point we had a bit of a break between storm cells to get out and get some fresh air (it was hot in the bathroom) so here is a bit of a video that I recorded. You can’t really see/hear the rain, but it was coming down pretty good. The video doesn’t really do it justice, but… click here

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.